Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Texas Trip FAQ's

I shared these on FB.  Thought they might be helpful here too:

Book your flights!

We hope to see many of you there! We will be working in and around Dickinson Texas (Feb 23-March 3).


* Yes, you can come for part of the time.
* Yes, you can bring family and friends
* Yes, you can make a big difference.
* Yes, there will be work.
* Yes, there is still a need. Just because it is not on the news does not mean there is still not a need.
* Yes, you can donate (we are looking to subsidize the cost of the trip for all students if at all possible). Don't want to pay for students, fine :) donate $50 to positiverRpples ( and buy 5 sheets of drywall!)
* Yes, we can pick you up at the airport. Hobby pickups will be regular, at George Bush Airport MUCH more infrequent.
* Yes, if you prefer, you can arrange an Uber ride.
* Yes, you can come for only a few days --but the longer the better!
* Yes, if you are there for the entire week, you will have time to relax (the Gulf is about 5 miles from Camp)
* Yes, you can donate supplies? Home Depot cards are perfect as we will be 4 miles from a HomeDepot. Don't want to do that? Buy drywall there and we can arrange pickup/delivery.
* Yes, I am sure you have a million reasons to not go. But you only need one reason to come. You want to help!
* Yes, you will need boots, a sleeping bag, and a good attitude! (other things are helpful too--see website)
* Yes, we are still looking for people to drive vehicles with tools and supplies down and back.
* We will be working with the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Dickinson but we will be helping people in need regardless of faith, color, or anything else.
* No, you do not need to be a student.
* No, kids under 16 should not come without special permission.
* Yes, Food will be provided on site.
* Yes, it is usually warmer in Texas than in Western NY
* Yes, you should come! :)

To come: book tickets and let us know! :)
THE SOONER THE BETTER! :) so we know how many tools/cots/showers/etc we need.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Update on many things :)

I know, I know.  I ask too much. :)  sorry. and these have not been vetted by anyone, so here goes....thanks and sorry in advance:

First a few success stories:  

  1. Thank you to everyone who helped SIMM out!  We raised almost double our goal (with some money still coming in), qualified for the $16,250 match (so about $48,000 raised), and brought many "younger" alumni back into the donor universe (which will make advancement and alumni relations very happy).  It was a good project and advancement worked very hard (great job Janet and crew!)  THANK YOU!
  2. Pending the dispersal of the funds we (PositiveRipples) transferred last week, we will have Bishop Nelson's Ebola orphans in school!!  HUGE success.  Thank you to everyone, but Joe (and Pat) Coate deserve a special thank you on that!  That area has a LONG ways to go (getting about 50 students through high-school (college?) is a big endeavor, but 3 years in, and they are still going!  :)  Next there will be more sustainable farming programs to raise money for the kids to attend school next year while also learning a life-skill.  (We are largely modeling this on what we already do in Haiti and our newest large garden program in Sierre Leone which is JUST starting but with local variations--for instance we also are planning on planting 1000 rubber trees in Liberia in addition to a garden for food).


Now, the "if you want to get involved" and other updates: 

  1. PenPal program: we have started a pen pal program (Largely led by Enactus) that will help tie together people from around the world.  (personal commentary-I think too often the world becomes "us" vs "them".  The biggest guiding principle at the foundation of BonaResponds is that we are all the same.  We just need to get to know "our neighbors".   We would love to have you (or your family) or others you know involved.  here is a video on how it will   work:

  2. Houston spring break trip:   this is a definite go!  Fly down, fly back.  Our scouting trip over fall break went well and I am sure that we can make a big impact.  It is of course way off of everyone's radar so I do not see any way to get 200 people (or the money to buy supplies for 200 people working), but I do hope to take 100 or more.  Here are the words of a volunteer leader there: "- the lack of media coverage has resulted in a rapid decrease in donations and contributions. People will be rebuilding for the next two years. Your help will help individuals and families get a real jump start on recovery. You are needed more now than ever."   We'd love to have you along!  there is a signup form at or just ask me :) 
  3. EASIEST: Thursday as part of the president's inauguration celebrations, we hope to make over 100 WarmSnugglyBlankets.  We have multiple rooms reserved from 11:30 to 1:00.  We will start in  Swan101-103 and go from there.  The impact of the blankets is one of the biggest surprises to me.   For instance (slightly edited to assure privacy) here is an email I got today: "I just wanted to say that this is a wonderful gift for cancer patients.  You may not know, but my daughter is currently on her fifth and final cycle of Roswell....These blankets help her as she is always cold when getting chemo...just wanted you to know how great these blankets are and, hopefully, once she is on the road to recovery from her treatment, we will be able to join BonaResponds in helping to make these blankets."  Come out and help make the blankets.  If nothing else, you can come out and hear me fight back tears as I describe the project.  It happens every single time. (FYI we have given out over 1300 of them now).  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hurricane Relief Trip Interest meeting

This Thursday (October 26, 2017) we will be having an interest meeting for those wishing to help in Texas over spring break.  The meeting is at 5:15 in the Walsh Auditorium on the Bonaventure Campus.   Come volunteer and change the world!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fall break trip and MUCH more....are you coming with us for spring break??

Update on several fronts:

1. Great talk with All Hands Volunteers! Always an amazing group. Will be working with them (and others) in February in Houston area. (are you coming with us??) Others include The Jesse Tree, Inc. and the Bread of Life Ministries in Houston.

2. Booked tickets for a very small scouting/work trip over fall break to Houston. For this big of trip we decided we needed to have an idea of jobs etc.

3. Thanks to Yvonne Gehrmann for refilling the WarmSnugglyBlanket display in the SBU Chapel.

4. Please keep Chad (a family friend and WarmSnugglyBlanket recipient) in your prayers. He is such a great guy and is fighting hard, but the cancer is an awful foe. What a terrible disease.

5. We had a small hurricane relief trip planning meeting this afternoon, assuming volunteers pay their own way, the cost (tools, lumber, supplies, and ground transport, food, will be about $160-$180 per person. We need to raise that much (working estimate will be 150-175 people, so about $32,000. Which seems pretty daunting right now. As an aside: flights are looking MUCH better than busses.

6. If anyone has any great suggestions on how we can help USVI and Puerto Rico we are all ears.

7. We are going to help with Urban Biosphere - "Olean NY startup project" that will begin in the Portville schools, but we hope grows to much much more locally and in Haiti/Liberia.

8. Our Pen pal program is still looking for more people! if you have the time to send a couple emails a month, please fill out

9. Via PositiveRipples we sent enough money to pay for 13 of the 53 Liberian "Ebola" orphans. We then had two donors step forward and they are paying for 7 more. So we are now at 20.

10. We have had many requests to "do something" for Puerto Rico or the USVI. I would love to. BUT I just do not know what we can do that would help at the present moment. We also had a request for help in Florida, but I think we are spread too thin.

11. We are going to be looking for people to help tutor (online, in English, math, and Economics--to start. Working in Haiti, Liberia, and we hope refugees in the Middle East (stay tuned).

12. This weekend: ramp job (and we are short our most valuable volunteer (Jen) as she had prior commitments, so we do need more hands! 10:45 Saturday, 11:30 Sunday. Meet at the BR trailer (lower parking lot by baseball field.)

13. Are you alumni of a past BR or Enactus/SIFE trip? Plan a reunion trip with us for Spring Break. (yes you can take a week off work)