Category Archives: Homelessness

2017 Emmaus Martin Luther King Day of Service

Bowdoin squash alum introduced me to VolunteerMatch, a wonderful website that connects nonprofit organizations with volunteers. Hence, in an effort to continue volunteering locally I was matched with Emmaus Inc, a Haverhill, Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization that addresses homelessness through empowerment. How did this happen?

T-shirt for Emmaus Volunteers, special event for 2017 MLK Day of Service.

Emmaus Volunteers received the T-shirt above for its 4th Annual 2017 Martin Luther King Day of Service.

The process to act upon my volunteer interest was to register with VolunteerMatch, express interest in organizations and causes near my zip code and then select volunteer opportunities based on mutual interest and availability. My first onsite meeting with Emmaus’s Empowerment Project Coordinator facilitated registration, identification verification and completing background (CORI) checks. I was then emailed by the coordinator the general volunteer responsibilities.

As a Family Guide, my volunteer role for the 2017 Emmaus Martin Luther King Day MLK Day was to provide a welcoming atmosphere for disadvantaged families and individuals at the Resource Fair and Family Theater  Almost 200 people from the Haverhill community attended the event and Emmaus Inc had over 130 volunteers respond to the call to work on various MLK day projects. Each volunteer received a free T-shirt, as seen above. For more information, check out pictures from the event on the Emmaus Inc. social media pages! Thank you to VolunteerMatch for helping me to make the Emmaus event a success.

If you are looking for ways to give back to your local community, connect with like-minded individuals and organizations as well as ease your way your back to full-time paid employment, VolunteerMatch, might be a useful tool to make your next steps in the new year.

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Filed under Capacity Buidling, Community Development, Education, Homelessness, Networking, Peace Building, Philanthropy, Poverty, Stakeholder Engagement, Volunteering

Celebrating a Decade of Common Good Days

As a Bowdoin alum living in the Boston area I have enjoyed participating in the Common Good Days organized by the College. In 2016, the Bowdoin College Common Good Day in Boston was held at Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter for men. Over the years, the College has selected different nonprofits across the country to perform a day of service. This year’s event saw almost 500 alumni, faculty, staff and friends participated in Common Good Days with various nonprofits in different cities. In Boston, there were 12 alumni and friends stationed in the Pine Street Inn kitchen to assist the staff with basic meal preparation.

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Bowdoin Alumni and Friends at 2016 Bowdoin College Common Good Day at Pine Street Inn, Boston, MA. Photo credit: Pine Street Inn Staff.

Alumni from a wide range of years, professional backgrounds and communities enthusiastically cooperated with the Pine Street Inn staff in helping to cut tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and chicken to make sandwiches for residents. Pine Street staff were generous with their time and guidance to offer a personalized tour of the facility to see how the shelter fulfills its mission. We shared stories of our Bowdoin years, previous volunteer experiences and current professional roles. Though we had never met before our common links through Bowdoin allowed us to focus on the task at hand while seeking a greater understanding of the significance of Common Good Day.

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Pine Street Inn Kitchen and Cafe. 2016 Photo credit: T. Mohammed

This marked for me a decade of participating in Common Good Days organized by the Bowdoin Club of Boston. Based on the conversations with fellow alumni at Pine Street Inn, the meaning of service varies from individual to individual. Being part of a group, working towards a common goal, helping to improve society all with a bit of fun – are some of the many reasons why people participate in such events. However, a humble suggestion for future Common Good Day planning could entail greater follow through and assessment of the impact of days of service events for long term sustainability of the organizations and individuals it aims to benefit.

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Filed under Capacity Buidling, Community Development, Education, Homelessness, Leadership, Networking, Philanthropy, Planning, Poverty, Psycho-Social Support, Rehabilitation, Stakeholder Engagement

Concord Academy Students Donate Blankets to Homeless Mothers and Children

As one of two advisors to Concord Academy Students in Action (CASA), a student club for community service, I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Dorchester, Massachusetts to deliver 37 fleece blankets made by the students for the Brookview House, a community setting serving homeless mothers and children.

Concord Academy Students in Action (CASA) members with fleece blankets for homeless mothers and children.

Concord Academy Students in Action (CASA) members with fleece blankets for homeless mothers and children.

Since September of 2012, CASA has been busy with organizing bake sales, fundraising for the critically ill and more recently making fleece blankets. CASA students met for approximately an hour a week to execute these initiatives with energy and enthusiasm.

Donating Fleece Blankets to Brookview House in Dorchester, MA.

Donating Fleece Blankets to Brookview House in Dorchester, MA.

Concord Academy Students in Action (CASA) members with fleece blankets for homeless mothers and children.

It was a team effort, with my colleague Susan Flink, an experienced biology teacher who led Concord Academy students to quickly mobilize themselves to rally for a good cause. The all round feel good factor for these student-projects raises morale and builds character. Stay tuned to learn about more CASA projects in 2013. Happy Holidays everyone!

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Filed under Capacity Buidling, Community Development, Education, Homelessness, Leadership, Philanthropy, Poverty, Stakeholder Engagement, Volunteering

Advancing the Field of Sport for Development and Peace

Thanks to my International Sport for Development and Peace Association colleagues Sarah Hillyer (Georgetown University) and Eli Wolff (Brown University), I was able to attend the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Symposium titled “Sport for Development and Peace: Initiatives, Challenges, and Pathways Forward.” To view the presentations click here.

The field of sport for development and peace is still relatively young and aiming to achieve legitimacy from the mainstream international development community. Nonetheless, it was welcoming to see AAPHERD host this event. Furthermore, many of the academics involved in this field are scholar-activists, working on the cutting-edge of research and practice both in the United States and around the world. In listening to the presentations, I was reminded by the quote from cultural anthropologist – Margaret Mead, who stated “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.“

As with most conferences, one must find ways to take away the information that will add value to the organizations in which one serves. As a coach who works with young people, the three big “take-aways” were: designing positive sport-based experiences, the importance of pedagogy and leveraging support networks. Each of these requires skill, patience and coordination that can be developed over time. In short, to advance this field more awareness is necessary starting with coaches, teachers, administrators and parents.

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Filed under Capacity Buidling, Coaching, Community Development, Conferences, Conflict Resolution, Education, Foreign Policy, Gender, HIV AIDS, Homelessness, International Development, Literature Review, Networking, Peace Building, Professional Development, Psycho-Social Support, Public Policy