Wednesday, September 08, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Remember Dickenson Texas post-Hurricane Harvey? No, here is a video of the trip: https://youtu.be/gAqmjoSuUB4
We will have more updates coming, but please think about donating to PositiveRIpples.org (and comment TEXAS) on the donations that you want to go there!
Friday, January 15, 2021
Remember: the biggest at-risk group is elderly and it is hitting poor communities hardest, these groups are the ones least able to register online and they depend on phones. HENCE THE NEED FOR PHONES and HELPERS!If you can help it would be a great thing to help end this pandemic that much sooner.I am sure there will be many questions, but like most BR projects I do not have the answers yet. I can say, it will help get the local vaccine project moving as we will free up others to run and coordinate clinics and the like.Tuesdays (all semester) will be our slot. 8:30-3:00. We can break it up but we will need many people. I am suggesting 8:30-12:00, 12:00-3:30 time slots for now. We can change it going forward. (At the present we will NOT be offering transportation.)Here is a form to sign up: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdIwGeFgQGPc6YOCnL1bsrlLEFJ9ndnD22MrYa3nhc_2DSZ_w/viewform?usp=sf_link. Thank you in advance for helping! We are living through historical times and we all need to pull together!:
Sunday, November 22, 2020
November 22, 2020
These are hard times. For all of us.
It is difficult for students forced to be away from class.
It is stressful for business owners worried about the future of the businesses.
It is bad for children who want to see their friends and loved ones.
It is lonely for the elderly who are not allowed visitors, can't go out, and can not just "jump online" and video chat with friends around the world.
It is difficult for the essential workers who are working extra hours in stressful conditions as well as those people who have lost their jobs and are not sure where their next meal is coming from.
I could go on and on. We all could.
I do not want this to be a message of despair, but a message of hope. I want this to be a message reminding us all (including myself) that we can make the world a little better. A message of unity from the chaos and insanity of division. A message of love from a world where many are determined to spread hate. A message of “yes we can” in a world where we are all so overwhelmed that we feel our efforts are meaningless.
In the past day alone I have heard from friends far and wide going through tough times. They do not know (or just barely know) each other and had no idea they were all texting with me. They are from around the world and down the block. They are my constant reminder that we are all neighbors in universe-space.
(note these stories are all true but I am changing just enough that they won’t be known as none gave me permission to share their stories.)
I will start off in Haiti. A text from a friend there was reminding me that many children can not go to school and that he and his team want to build a new school where teachers will be able to get more poor children off the streets and into classrooms. But that such a school costs money (his very low estimate was $2500 and money is tough to be found.
I next heard from a friend who runs a home for poor children in Port au Prince Haiti. She told of violence and killings in the Haitian capital and even kidnappings on their street. She told of the chaos that the widely-swinging foreign exchange rate was bringing to the country, and of the energy crisis that was facing Haiti. Oh and that Covid19 was picking up there too, but the government can not afford to have people tested.
Jumping to the Bahamas, I heard from a friend who can not find work as many businesses have been closed and others are open but only for limited hours. This friend was having a very difficult time back before hurricane Dorian hit ravishing the island. When BonaResponds left the island in March (just as the virus was exploding around the globe and shutting down international tourism on which so much of Bahamas depends), my friend was handing out resumes. The summer was exceedingly difficult as the island was shut down (Shut-downs there were MUCH more harsh than those in the USA) and then several months were lost to his/her own medical issues that led to a prolonged hospital stay.
Going to a major city in Sierra Leone next, I got many texts from anfriend who had gone out of the city into a small village and saw how the poor children are suffering from a lack of food brought apart in large part from the economic downturn brought about by the virus and the political situation in Sierra Leone.
Staying in Sierra Leone I heard from a very good friend who has been traveling. A few weeks ago he was invited to speak at a school for disabled children and saw how bad it was there. He wants to help so much, but as always funds are limited. He is a wonderful person who want to help, but is in a difficult place right now.
Back to the USA, a message from a single-mom in Western New York (near Buffalo not the Hudson River) who recently recovered from the virus (it was awful by the way) and was now facing the simultaneous challenges of isolation, online schooling, excess work (she works in the healthcare field), and a lack of the typical stress relievers (gyms, restaurants, and family and friend time).
And now we will come back to Olean where a text from a medical professional in Olean (where I live) led to this post. She told of how many of her patients (who disportionately are elderly and many in nursing homes) are really suffering from social isolation. She texted that her kids wanted to see their grandfather. She texted that she wanted to get back to more normal routines; of not having to worry about a fast stop at the market and not bringing back the virus to her family.
I have probably written too much, given you too many examples, but I want you to all know that feeling stressed and “down” is normal right now. It is not “just you” it is all of us.
But I would be remiss if I did not also tell you the good that is happening that might not be known. So please stay with me for a bit. Let me tell you of 4 pallets of school supplies and medical equipment going to Haiti, or the 2 pallets going to schools on the Navajo Reservation, or the pallet that was distributed to St. Francis Elementary School an inner city school in Cleveland, or the van full of items that went to Buffalo’s Catholic Charities for refugees from the Congo, or 9 wheelchair ramps that BonaResponds made this semester, or the trails that are clear so people can relax with nature, or the penpal program started to write to those in nursing homes, or helping with toy distribution locally or helping to paint at the Warming House or about starting our Haitian tree program to give jobs/give food/reduce carbon in the atmosphere, or maybe our biggest success: Ibrahim.
To those who have been friends for a while, you probably remember Ibrahim. He is from Sierra Leone. Almost a year ago he was hit by a truck while selling ataya (tea) on the streets of Makeni. Not having money, he waited for the badly broken leg to heal (both the tibia and fibula were broken). This made things worse and we were asked to help. YOU all pitched in and we raised enough money to allow him to have his surgery (about 8 months after the accident). The surgery was a success and he is recovering. This is a huge win and you all should be rightly proud that in the middle of political turmoil, a pandemic, and uncertainty everywhere, you made a positive difference. You gave Ibrahim his leg back. You gave him hope for a better tomorrow.
This all reminds me of the famous starfish story. If you have never heard me tell it, or even if you have, here is my favorite video on it. (and yes, I have watched about 8 of them this morning alone): https://youtu.be/Q-R5LqE3nzY
All of us can and do make a difference to many in all that we do. From helping future generations, to checking in on friends, to being kind at the checkout stand, to donating to charities, to just smiling and listening to a friend. You are all doing so much to make the world better. I want to thank you.
I also want you to try and focus a little more on the good, than the bad. There is always enough bad to go around. Let’s think more about the good. Let’s all push to make the good a little more. To give a helping hand to those near and far that need a friend to listen or a hand to hold (virtually of course as the pandemic is still real!).
How can you help more? I am sure some of you will want to do more.
First, let me suggest that you already are helping! Your donations allow BonaResponds, HaitiScholarships, and PositiveRipples to do what we do. Indeed, long ago (likely right after Katrina) I started saying “without you, BonaResponds is just a good idea” and I mean that still. So thank you!
If you want to help today or this holiday season, please keep this post in mind. Together we can make the world better. Big or small. We need people to edit videos, to write newsletters, to be penpals, to stand in a parking lot and help collect cans and bottles, to make blankets, to write thank-yous.
I do not know how to rank all those that need help. I do not have the mental power to say one gets help and one does not. It truly is the worst part of all of this.
But I can say that any donation will be used to make the world a better place.
But I can say that Ibrahim is asking for a $500 loan to get a business started. We have about $200 left from the initial donations for him, so I think that is first. Need $300 to PositiveRipples.org he can start his new business.
After that I can definitely say that $1000 can give our microloan programs in Haiti a huge jumpstart, that $300 can plant about 100 trees in Haiti, that $1000 would go a long long ways to helping the disabled students in Sierra Leone.
I can say that $50 buys books for Bonaventure students from the new Brothers and Sisters All reading list, that $25 to HaitiScholarships.org pays for a month of schooling for a student.
Or $5 buys a case of water for a ramp day.
Well, you get the idea. Any bit helps.
So while it is super hard to rank the needs, I think I would say:
PositiveRipples, HaitiScholarships, and then BonaResponds (we are more constrained in how we can use the funds there) are how I would rank the needs.
But we also need helpers (virtual mainly)! So if you want to help, please get on our Whatsapp thread and lend a hand!
Feeling better yet? I hope so! Let’s focus on progress and not the many many problems facing the world. Many hands make light work. Together we can make the world better.
We have to start somewhere. So start where you are.
We have to start sometime. So start today.
We can help one starfish. We can help one person. And one is much better than none!
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
waiting to pack for schools, and have done 4-5 trail clearing days so far this semester.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
In speed more, here goes:
- The Bahamas trip was VERY productive. 8 wheelchair ramps done, three roofs tarped, three buildings (one house, one office, one apartment) gutted/partially gutted, 3 places where we did mold abatement, floorboards installed, classroom discussion on service and importance of education made, we worked one day at the YMCA, and ?? not sure what else I am missing. The volunteers were GREAT and the people we helped were very happy to get the assistance!
- We are going back! Feb 28-March 8/9 Come with us! We have jobs lined up, a place to stay, the tools are in shipment, but we need volunteers. Look for a couple of meetings as soon as school starts back up. Or contact any of the BonaResponds leaders (Maggie, Evan, Kelly, or Natalie will have the most info on it... or me (JMahar@sbu.edu).
- Locally: have many jobs backed up. First (given the weather) we will be doing iPads, Blankets, and an emergency production of Marsupial blankets. Look for it Saturday, January 25 in Swan. Also, have a workday at the Warming House coming up--I suspect Sunday, January 26th. Moving forward, we need a couple of packing days (for the Bahamas and for Haiti), we also have a request to paint in Portville for aquaponics program there. and of course, there are MANY ramps waiting for nicer weather.
- Nationally: we want a short weekend trip to Cleveland. The idea is to work at St. Francis Elementary school again AND to have an educational component, a service component, and a basketball tournament.
- Internationally: Haiti: shipments, more work on microloans, and hopefully an educational conference with Enactus. ALSO and this is MY favorite: more gardens and tree planting. and of course fundraising for HaitiScholarships.org
- Internationally: Sierra Leone: new gardens, more educational projects, working to reduce suicides by working on personal worth and projects to spread hope and jobs.
Thursday, September 05, 2019
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Monday, August 06, 2018
From out FB post:
We will be having many big work days coming up, but some of you can't travel and most of you are away from campus now, so how can you help right now? From where you are? Here is a SHORT list of ways from home.
1. We are collecting small toys, school supplies, children clothes, winter boots, and children books for the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School. We will be packing on August 26th.
2. We are packing small toiletries, granola bars, NEW socks, NEW underwear, and winter jackets for Outside the Walls to distribute to the homeless. Also, tee shirts.
3. We are still collecting tools, medical supplies, school supplies, soccer equipment, for schools and medical centers in Haiti. We are also collecting the large (empty) bags that pet food comes in!
4. We need pill bottles for a packing event where we will be shipping fishing and garden "kits" to Africa and Haiti. The fishing kits are in honor of a NYS trooper who lost his life. The family sends hundreds as a way to keep his memory alive while helping others.
5. Don't like any of these options? Buy a backpack (donate $55 at HaitiScholarships.org or at PositiveRipples.org. The money will buy the backpack, buy school supplies, and pay for a month of schooling in Haiti. (HaitiScholarships PositiveRipples). The backpacks will then be donated to a student in Haiti (unless you want them and that can be arranged).
6. Agree to help manage the PositiveRipples/HatiScholarships social media pages. Or to work on the WarmSnugglyBlanket Web page.
7. Like science? or Marketing? We are looking for some people to work on a carbon offset reforestation program in Haiti. We need a website developed, and help in marketing the program to individuals, businesses, and organizations (classes, teams, and church groups)
8. Still haven't found how you want to help? Donate to this great GoFundMe page. We are trying to educate 53 #Ebola Orphans in Liberia and could really really use your help! https://www.gofundme.com/school-support-for-53-ebola-orphans
If none of these excites you, let us know. We will see what we can do to come up with a project tailored to your needs!