Friday, October 30, 2009

Go Pro Bono to Rescue Morale - Sylvia Ann Hewlett - Harvard Business Review

Go Pro Bono to Rescue Morale - Sylvia Ann Hewlett - Harvard Business Review:
"In late September, Moody's kicked off a philanthropic program which is set to both burnish its brand and enhance its ability to hold onto top talent through a tight alignment with its core value proposition. Developed in partnership with respected nonprofit, the new initiative brings Moody's expertise in assessing creditworthiness to Kiva's large network of microfinance partners around the world. These microfinance institutions do much to alleviate poverty by serving as conduits for loans of just a few hundred dollars to individual small business owners, and also by servicing those microloans."

Yes we are still trying to get our program approved. It is going on a year. Not sure what takes attorneys so long.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Volunteer opportunity to help local SPCA

Help make pizzas to help the SPCA

BonaResponds was asked if we could get some volunteers for the annual Pizza Sale for the Cattaraugus County SPCA. Last year they made (and sold) 800 pizzas as a fund raiser for the local no-kill animal shelter. The pizza making is 12-4 on Sunday at the Pulaski Club in North Olean.

For more info see

A thank you from the "Olean Basement job"

To All of the Wonderful Amazing volunteers of BonaResponds,

Words can't express our gratitude and thanks to you, and all the wonderful, amazing volunteers who came and helped us in our time of need.

We can't believe that you wouldn't have taken one look at how bad our basement was and turned around and left. It was in such terrible shape and the water and sewer and mold damage on years and years of junk made it so much worse.

It is unbelievable that you all stayed and dedicated your whole day and night to clean everything out of our basement, hosing it all down and bleaching it.

It's hard to believe you didn't run away screaming in terror.

You are all so amazing and wonderful! It's so reassuring to find out there are still such wonderful, caring people in the world. We were certainly blessed to find all of you wonderful people to help us!

The words "Thank You" seem so inadequate and empty for everything you did for us. We will never be able to thank you enough, but you all have our undying and heartfelt gratitude.

God Bless You All for the terrific job you all did and the "miracle" you worked for us!!!!

Thank You So Much!!!


"The Sweeten Family"

Monday, October 19, 2009

George H.W. Bush, Obama Celebrate Volunteerism -

Volunteerism cuts across all lines and is good for everyone. So come out and volunteer!

George H.W. Bush, Obama Celebrate Volunteerism -
"Friday, Obama stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Bush's father, the 41st president, in a joint celebration of volunteerism and civic involvement that hinted at a possible thaw that might yet emerge between the two camps.

At Texas A&M University, during a commemoration of George H.W. Bush's call to service in his 1989 inaugural address, Obama heaped praise on the former president for offering a 'vision that's changed lives across this country.'"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you for work during Livestrong Days

We got the following Thank-You card in the mail today.

Thank You

It's hard to find words
that would even begin
to thank you enough
for how thoughtful you've been.

...I can not find words enough to express my thanks for your [BonaResponds] team that spent almost a whole day on my property working constantly all the time they were here. I could never have afforded to have someone do all the works that they accomplished. When you get to the point where I am in my life, and I know I am not alone, [I just] "Thank God" for people like...your workers. I wish there was something I could do for each and everyone of them.

They are certainly welcome to come here here to just enjoy the property anytime they wish. My dogs enjoyed having then her also....

If you could please give each and everyone of them my thanks.

God bless you and your people,

Sincerely, Carol (and Rick)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jim's speech in Gowanda

Jim gave a speech at the Recovery Celebration in Gowanda.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Gowanda Essay: Thanks for being here

October 9: Remember back 6 weeks ago I said I would be writing a series of reflective essays about our work in Gowanda? Well, between school starting, other BonaResponds events, a finance club trip to NYC, and some family things, I got side tracked. But I would like to share at least of the thoughts with you, so I will write them up as time permits.

Gowanda August 23, 2009

BonaResponds has traveled the country to help people recover after natural disasters. After these disasters we have helped people by gutting houses, cutting downed trees, putting on new roofs, building sheds, drywalling, painting, and even occasionally helping people move back into their refurbished homes. The interesting thing is, that almost without exception, those we are helping tell us, generally fighting back tears, that our just being there was as important as the work we actually accomplished. That our presence gave them hope and the energy energy necessary to fight the next round of battles in the long road to recovery.

This message has been drilled into volunteers on every trip: talking to the survivors, listening to their stories, and just being there is important. As the leader of BonaResponds, I understood the importance, but I confess I never truly believed it. Oh sure, I knew psychology mattered and talking helped, but the real real reason for us being there, the way we really helped, was the dirty, physical work. Or so I believed.

Today that view was forever changed. I was on the other side of receiving help. I had over-committed BonaResponds. Expecting more volunteers that we got, I committed to several jobs around town, but the first (and largest) was mucking out an enormous basement down on Main St.

After about 2 hours of struggling with the eight inches of mud that blanketed the three giant rooms, it became apparent that we were not going to be able to finish the job, let alone the others that were waiting.

And then, almost miraculously, help arrived in the form of the Community Gang #103 from the Collins Correctional Facility. And a funny thing happened, as the crew lifted buckets of mud, they also lifted out spirits. As they pushed wheel barrows, they pushed us to do more.

Sooner than could have been imagined, the job was done. As we all shared a meal on the front porch, we thanked the work crew for all the help. I hope they realize we were thanking them for more than just the physical effort. We were thanking them for being there and for giving us the energy to continue on to the next job.

PSA on benefits of Volunteering by Gwyneth Paltrow

YouTube - iParticipate: Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow celebrate the health benefits of volunteering.:
"Actresses and mother-daughter pair Blythe Danner and Gwyneth Paltrow celebrate the health benefits of volunteering."

For those on the Fall Break trip

BonaResponds Fall Break

For those who are going on the BonaResponds Fall Break trip, meet at 5pm over near the maintenance garage. Be sure to bring warm work clothes, boots, a sleeping bag.

For those who want to work a part of the trip, you can meet us in Gowanda on Saturday at 10 or following on Jamestown St (near Chestnut--big house). For later dates, please check our blog ( nightly) or twitter account (update many times a day) for regular updates.

We will be working in the Olean area on Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Quotes quotes and more quotes

Comments given in various interviews over the past few days

* "The Fall Break trip is a staple of BonaResponds. We were formed over a fall break and have gone to Mississippi, Ohio, and Iowa. This year with no disasters in region, staying in WNY is a great opportunity. We can finish up work in Gowanda as well as help some people locally."

* I"n some ways a local "trip" is the best of both worlds. We get to help people and have fun doing it, without the costs and stress of traveling half way across the country."

* "One of our local jobs in Olean will be to finish up a wheel chair ramp for a woman who has not been able to go outside by herself in over a year. It will give her more freedom and improve her lifestyle."

* "Another job will be cleaning out the basement of an elderly Olean woman. It is a sad story that is largely a replay of what we did last year in Cowenango Valley. The basement needs to be cleaned out before a new furnace can be installed. It may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but it is a vital step to getting this woman heat. She went last winter without it."

* "It will be a great weekend: good work and good fun. The jobs are good and I am sure the volunteers will not only help others, but have a great time doing so."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Volunteerism is a changin' - Belleville Intelligencer - Ontario, CA

Volunteerism is a changin' - Belleville Intelligencer - Ontario, CA:
"....The recent trend is volunteers are also professionals that want to give back to the community they live in.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and have a variety of skills to offer. Volunteers seek opportunities in the community for a variety of reasons such as filling a void, gaining experience, building resumés and exploring career opportunities to name a few.

Volunteer positions are available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis."

Monday, October 05, 2009

BonaResponds Fall break 2009 trip!

Good news! There have been no major disasters of late locally or nationally! EXCELLENT!

Now with that in mind, it allows us to think about what BonaResponds can do this fall break without pressure of having to get somewhere to help those in an emergency situation.

BonaResponds is staying local! That's right our fall break trip is to Western New York!

But before you roll your eyes and say I am not interested, consider that you will have the fun of a trip without the travel and cost!

In the past students have given the following reasons for going on trips with us:

  1. to help others in a time of need
  2. to have fun
  3. to meet new friends
  4. to hang out with old friends
  5. to learn new skills
  6. to build a resume
  7. to experience new things
  8. to save the expense of a long trip home
And guess what? Each of these is met and even better, we will be able to do it without sitting in a van for countless hours!

BonaResponds | Home Page:
"This fall break, we'll be working between Gowanda and locally. Check out our tentative agenda below... it's full of good work and good fun!! Won't you join us? And bring a friend! Please sign up here.

Friday 10/9 - Camping in Gowanda

* 5 PM - 8 PM: Work Evening in Gowanda

Saturday 10/10 - Camping in Gowanda
* 10 AM - 3 PM: Work Day in Gowanda
* 4 PM - ???: Thank You Celebration - Complete with Parade, Fireworks, and Barbecue.... live music, Ruben Brown, great fun!!!

Sunday 10/11 - Camping at Allegany State Park
* 10 AM - 4 PM: Work Day in Gowanda

Monday 10/12 (Columbus Day) - Camping at Allegany State Park

* 9 AM - 5 PM: Work Day Locally
Tuesday 10/13
* 10 AM - 3 PM: Work Day Locally"

Bring sleeping bags and work clothes, gloves, etc. We will be staying in cabins and/or lodges. In BonaResponds' style, the accommodations are not luxurious but will be fun.

Camp fires at night, good work in the day. You will have fun and do good work!

Open to all. a great opportunity for faculty and staff to be involved for a day or two.

Sign up here!

For a more complete list of what to bring, consider this list from our winter break trip. The work we will be doing is similar in many respects, so I would encourage similar belongings.

Friday, October 02, 2009

David Campbell in US News and World Report


People too often use the word hero, but David is truly one of my heroes. He is the founder of HODR and to this day, much of what BonaResponds does is modeled after them.

It was he who gave BonaResponds a big boost after the 2006 October Surprise Snow Storm in Buffalo by donating three Stihl Chain Saws to us. It was David who came to speak at St. Bonaventure. I can think of few people who I admire more. David, thank you and keep up the great work!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Flat Brownies

Got an amazingly nice letter in the mail today:

"I stopped by the Park and get boxes of brownies for Livestrong Weekend. I followed the directions to a "T". Two boxes--one for myself, and one for the bake sale. Without burning even a corner mine were a success!

I cut the brownies in the pan into inch squares.....they were gone in no time as chocolate is a weakness.

I am sending the brownies for the bake sale flattened. How else could they travel from Gowanda to Olean?"

Included in the envelope was a picture of brownies and a donation of $100.

"On a more serious note please add this to the bake sale monies for the Livestrong Weekend. I'll continue to follow your "projects".

What an unbelievable group of dedicated people that serve those in need-real need.

(her address) stands proud only because of BonaResponds."

No, thank you. Your kind words made my day!