Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Indirect Thank You from a Catskills resident and a valuation lesson

BonaResponds Volunteers helping in Margaretville
I received the following (only SLIGHTLY edited) from another SBU professor today:

"I was recently speaking at an American Legion Post downstate in Delhi, New York.  After the dinner and speeches were done a woman came up to me and asked if it was true that I worked at St. Bonaventure and I said yes. She immediately started to cry and wound up just holding me.  I asked her what was the matter and she said that we have no idea how much the help from the BonaResponds students meant to her family and their area recently ravaged by the floods. She went on about that for awhile with several folks listening since they saw her crying, when I left their Post about a hour later she came up and thanked me again and wanted to make sure the folks back at Bonas knew how much that meant. "
I have no idea who the woman was.  No clue. I do not even know if we worked on her home or not.  It could be any of many that were helped on that trip, or a family member, or even just a neighbor who was worried about someone we helped.  I have no idea.

I do know that many many times we have no idea of the residual impact of our work.  (think butterfly in Africa).  We can measure the dollar value of a job, but it fails to measure the true impact.  I know that since graduation in May BonaResponds has provided about $300,000 in services to people.  I report that to the BonaResponds board regularly.  But the true value of this can not be completely measured in US dollars, Haitian Gourdes, or Ghanaian Cedi.  To get the true value you can start with the currency but must also add in hugs, smiles, reduced anxiety, and tears of joy. And as a finance professor who teaches valuation, I just do not know how to value those, so I guess they are priceless :).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BonaResponds pre-Thanksgiving update

A few updates on things: (much info, so try to read them all)

  • Work this past weekend in Limestone went well.  Here are many many pictures of the job.  We will be going back to finish the Sunday December 4th to finish.  (if anyone wants to fix broken windows in his door for him (it is going to get cold!) We'd really appreciate it!  Also if anyone has a BobCat (or wants to help rent one), it sure would make the job go faster.
  • We are going to be working locally over Thanksgiving break in the Olean area.  Work will be at least Fri-Sunday.  If anyone wants to, I can probably be convinced to  go out on Wednesday as well.  Jobs include doing helping make a home handicap accessible, building a ramp, and packing for Haiti.  
  • Currently in waiting we have three ramp jobs, making 3 different homes accessible (one Olean, one Hinsdale, one Ellicotville), and finishing up in Limestone.  SO WE WILL BE NEEDING VOLUNTEERS. 
  • Want to make a bigger impact?  When shopping this Holiday Season, pick up some SMALL toys, school supplies, calculators, etc for Haiti.  And we also will be sending some to a family in Athens/Sayre that not only got flooded, but the mother was hit by a truck when walking and the children will REALLY appreciate the Christmas presents.
  • Also there is a Vocational school in Haiti looking for tools (hammers, drills, screw drivers, tape measures, speed squares and the like.  They'd also love volunteers to help teach!  Let me know if interested.65438_149805621734779_100001160253647_247420_4...Image by Bona_Responds via Flickr
  • Another school in Haiti is looking for musical instruments and sheet music.   So why not clean out your attic over break! 
  • It appears the Winter trip will be Jan 3 to January 12th.  Most likely place is outside of Tuscaloosa.  Details after Thanksgiving break.
  • We NEED to do a fundraiser.  We will be selling BonaResponds Hoodies and bracelets the week after Thanksgiving in the RC. 
  • Planning for the International Service Day is going well.  It is March 31, 2012 Saturday.  Jobs in Poland, Pakistan, Uganda, Haiti, Olean, Buffalo, Dallas, Orange County California, and more.  NEed you involved.  Big or small.  With ties to SBU or not.  Plan on helping!  Sign up here: http://bonaresponds.org/isd.html
  • There are 5 nice ways to help (from shopping, to giving alternative gifts, to dropping off supplies) on BonaResponds.org.  Check them out! 

Have a great Thanksgiving and remember to make a difference!  

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Better to give than to recieve?

'Tis better to give than to receive?:

" The researchers also found another interesting pattern of neural activity in the septal area. In addition to being a pleasure center, this region plays a role in threat- or stress-reduction by inhibiting other regions of the brain that process threats, such as the amygdala. Researchers found that the women who showed greater activity in the septal area also showed less activity in the amygdala.

"This finding suggests that support-giving may have stress-reducing effects for the person who provides the support," said Eisenberger, who directs UCLA's Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory. "Activity in the septal area during support-giving was negatively correlated with activity in the amygdala, which is a region known to play a role in fear and stress responses. If there is something about support-giving that leads to reductions in amygdala activity, this suggests that support-giving itself may have stress-reducing properties."

"Giving to others has benefits," said Inagaki, the lead author of the study....

read more here.

Cross posted on BonaResponds.org
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This Sunday's work day plus more for Notice Board

BonaResponds will be working this Sunday.  The main job will be removing a building that has been destroyed in Limestone.  We will be working with the volunteer fire dept. that will be having a training/controlled burn after we move the materials away from other buildings and salvage anything that we can for recycling.  Additionally there are three homes that need to be made handicapped accessible (installing hand rails etc), a ceiling needs repair, and of course there is another wheelchair ramp request.   We likely will not get through all of these jobs, but we sure can try!  (indeed we were told the house in Limestone would take 100 volunteers 5 days, my guess?  25 BonaResponds Volunteers in a single day!  Let's accept the challenge! 

Additionally, we want to ship our next shipment of school supplies, small toys, soccer balls, and other similar items to Haitian Schools over Thanksgiving Break.  Since the earthquake we have shipped about 50 pallets of supplies and the schools report that the students love getting our shipments since they are both useful (pencils etc) as well as fun (toys, crayons, soccer balls).  Additionally this last time we have had some requests from a vocational school in Leogane for tools (hammers, tape measures, etc), from a school near Port au Prince for basketballs, and from a school in Gonaives for all and any kind of musical instruments (we are not shipping a piano!) and sheet music. (all items can be new or used).  (total disclaimer: items in excess of current needs or too expensive to ship will be shared with the poor in the Buffalo NY, Camden NJ, and elsewhere in the US). 

If you would like to donate, you can drop off in the Business Dept upstairs in Murphy (my office is 231) or at the Allegany Park and Shop or email me (jimmahar@yahoo.com) and we can arrange pick-up.

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