Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 90

It was haircut day at the Salvation Army today. We served dinner first, in the usual manner. There was rice, meat gravy, corn. Once that ran out we served pizza, which was really popular! Luckily we had a lot, so people were able to come back to get as much as they wanted. One gentleman had his tray stacked! We still had left overs, so I packed it all and gave it to a family with four little kids.

The men and women then disappeared for their haircuts. Students from the local technical college cosmetology program came down to volunteer their time and talent - everyone was really appreciative. However,I didn't get to see any of the haircuts because we were cleaning up in the kitchen. Each day there are a group of guys, living at the shelter, who help out in the kitchen with serving and cleaning. They are a fun, loud, and hardworking group. It was the last day for one of the guys, he has successfully completed his program and is moving to Florida next week, so in honor of that the chef cooked him a nice meal. Because people are staying there for several months in their programs they really build a sense of family, and this comes through in their interactions with each other.

At the end of the evening I said my goodbye's and promised to visit the next time I come to Augusta. I had a good two days here and am looking forward to my next visit!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 89

I spent some time at the Salvation Army's Soup Kitchen in Augusta this evening. Today we served barbecue chicken, beans, potatoes with gravy, and cornbread. Like last time, people staying at the shelter ate first. The doors were then opened up for people who weren't staying there. We served the same meal till we ran out, and then changed to chicken stew and cornbread. I saw a couple of familiar faces from last time, was remembered by some, and then met a bunch of new people! Of course, this makes me miss my friends at SafeHouse!

The full-time chef/kitchen coordinator was there today. He told me a little bit about the shelter and the different programs they have. It's primarily an alcohol and drug program, but there is also a program to help people learn work skills and find a job. People in those programs stay at the shelter for 9 or 6 months respectively. For people not staying at the shelter - they can come have a free meal for a certain number of days a month, after which they have to pay $5 for a meal.

It was a good experience again and I am looking forward to going back tomorrow evening!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 88

After a longer than normal drive to Augusta, I visited the care2 website to give back through the click to donate section (it's easy to give back even after a long day, so hope you are able to give back today too!) . While there I also signed several petitions related to mining, air toxins, pollution, and stopping preventable diseases.

As I was doing this I saw two blurbs about the difference our "clicks" make:
  • Since Children International became a part of the Click-to-Donate program in 2004, Care2 has sponsored 16 needy children from nine countries -- contributing over $21,000 to their care. 
  • The Care2 community responded quickly to the crisis in Haiti. We have met our goal of raising $5,000 to support Oxfam America's relief efforts through Care2's Click to Donate for Haiti and Butterfly Rewards. The Click to Donate for Haiti is now closed.
It takes just a couple of minutes but our clicks can make a real difference to the lives of those in need! Amazing!

This of course made me want to give back some more, so I went to thehungersite and did all of their click to donate. My last stop was freerice (they have some new words!), where I donated 1,940 grains of rice.

Happy Giving!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 87

I sent out emails for Amnesty International today. The first one was right here in Georgia and called for a veto of Georgia’s anti-immigration legislation. HB 87 is an excessive bill that will harm the human and civil rights of all Georgia residents, particularly people of color.  During a legal traffic stop, among other things, it authorizes police to ask for papers proving that someone is legally in the U.S.  If the person didn't happen to walk out of her house with her birth certificate, passport or a number of other documents and her name shows up on a flawed database, she can be immediately arrested and jailed. As public policy, HB 87 is fundamentally flawed because it does not address the root causes that push people to immigrate without permission including lack of economic opportunity, war and poverty that people face in their countries of origin, and the lack of legal migration channels open to vocational immigrants.  However, HB 87 does provide law enforcement with new tools to implement a police-state environment including random checks of papers and arrests without rights.

I then moved on to Libya and asking the Government of Libya to stop torture. Two brothers, Mazigh and Madghis Bouzakhar, who may be prisoners of conscience held solely for their interest in Amazigh (Berber) culture, were arrested on 16 December in Tripoli. One has reported being tortured by the Libyan security forces in detention. Both are at risk of torture in Jdaida Prison where they are held. The email urged authorities to immediately free these two individuals and create an independent and impartial commission to investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment in custody.

The next email was for Israel:
Israel's military blockade of Gaza has left more than 1.4 million Palestinian men, women and children trapped in the Gaza Strip. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel's continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law.

And lastly, Yahoo! and China...this email encouraged Yahoo! to commit to protecting free speech in China. Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, is serving a ten-year prison sentence for sending an email to the U.S. Yahoo! helped put him there. Yahoo! provided information to the Chinese Government, which led to his unjust imprisonment. Compliance with locally-mandated restrictions is not a justification for neglecting international human rights responsibilities, whether a company acts alone or with local partners.

Hope you all get a chance to visit Amnesty International. A couple of minutes can make a big impact!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 86

Continuing with the weekend trend...I spent the evening at SafeHouse. Met one of the kids that comes by most nights with his mum. He is a hyper 6year old. One of the volunteers from the church group gave him a bag of toys - this made his day! We must have gone through the bag at least three times, looking at every toy each time, and then him picking out his favorites each time. He is really talkative and was telling me all sorts of fun tall tales. He has quite the imagination!

I met one of the ladies who comes by regularly as well. We talked for a bit and both of us said the reason we keep coming to SafeHouse is because we love people! Of course I spent some time just saying hello to some of my other friends. I ended the night by helping hand out shelter tickets and cleaning up the lot. Can't wait to go back in a week!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 85

I think we've been Safehousing for the past 48 hours!

From the Benefit on Friday, we headed to Sutra (of course). I was blogging for the first half of the night, and being rude to just about everyone that came up to me (not intentionally). Sunny Mummaneni, and the boys at Sutra kept calling me out for being on my phone the entire night, but they let up after I told them I was blogging for 365.

Chandni and I shared with Sunny that we wanted to get some of the guys in our social circle to get involved with our volunteering efforts, and that we wanted to organize a charity basketball game with proceeds going to SHO.

In less than 24 hours, he got Kennesaw State University, his fraternity, and the alumni involved in planning this event.

We'd been talking about SHO all day, and by the time we looked back up at the clock it was time to go back to SHO.

The rain had us a little anxious to start the service early because we didn't want our friends out in the rain!

The service went well, and the food was served.

Leblanc had Chandni and I handed out socks tonight, and boy were they needed and appreciated!

Some of our clients didn't have pants! And they'd just pull up their tube socks as far up as they could to stay warm and dry! They don't have the luxury of staying in a cozy, dry apartment or the option of using an umbrella or putting on a trench coat to stay dry.

I hated that we didn't have enough socks all around and decided that we would push for socks any opportunity we got!

So get your socks together people, I'm coming to get them from you!

- Dona

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 84

Phillip Bray contacted us last week and implored us to be at the SHO Urban Gala tonight. So we obliged.

Chandni, reluctant to leave her friends at SHO, picked me up and we braved through traffic in hopes to get to the aquarium in time to see the dolphins!

Well we got into the ballroom as the band opened up... But at least we got to see the Beluga whales and seals (we think).

The night was lovely! It was filled with music, great testimonials from volunteers at SHO, great prizes... It was a wonderful night.

Our favorite part had to be hearing from all the different volunteers, advisory board members, and executive board members this evening.

In volunteering with SHO for about 3 months, Chandni and I both feel that there's just something about SHO that draws us in. Tonight Nurez Madhany, Paul Breslin, and several other integral members of the organization reiterated just that.

SHO's commitment to serve the community is contagious and we're infected!

Like our local hero, Rez, said tonight, "Love is the answer. Who cares what the question is!"

- Dona

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 83

I was at the Atlanta Community Food Bank this evening with a big group of other volunteers, mostly from Agnes Scott. We were sorting and packing meat. I was back at the scales (which I don't mind at all). But this time since we had so much help, it was truly just weighing and labeling, no carrying boxes.

This is a good group project and I'm hoping to eventually take a group one evening. The staff had some good music playing, the group there today had a lot of energy, and there were lots of conversations going on throughout the warehouse. We packed 6574lbs of meat, which can be used to prepare 4383 meals!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 82

I pulled up at SafeHouse today and the gentleman who talks to me about spirituality/religion came up to my window and said he already had a chair pulled up for me. So I started off talking with him, he had some more stories he wanted to share with me. Once we were done talking, I made some rounds and said hello to people I knew and just caught up with them on their week so far.

I eventually made it inside, the kitchen was packed with volunteers from Clark Atlanta's softball team, so I stayed out of the way and chatted with the guys. Once the food was served I helped with handing out socks to anyone that needed a pair. That was almost everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April Event of the Month

Walk MS: Atlanta
Saturday, April 9th · registration at 8am/walk at 10am
@ Piedmont Park

Walk MS (multiple sclerosis) is the rallying point of the MS movement, a community coming together to raise funds and celebrate hope for the future. All money raised helps drive critical research for a cure and services that address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. Join the movement! Walk with us to create a world free of MS.

Join us as we support and walk with Fay Gibson and her team BFFs Against MS.

Day 81

Kenny and I volunteered at Kashi today and helped with the street meals program. There were so many volunteers today and the assembly line was crowded! There were some regulars tonight and we were all shocked with the number of volunteers! I got to help with putting the sandwiches in ziploc bags and Kenny helped with filling brown bags.

Kashi has a program to teach others how to lead yoga classes; part of that training is a day of service with the street meals program. So a lot of the volunteers there today were from the yoga training. They all teach yoga part time and work full time jobs in their respective fields. There were also a couple of high school kids helping out, so the conversations in the room were very random!

Kenny - thank you for coming out to help on your birthday!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 80

It was an evening full of conversations, and visits from friends I hadn't seen in a while, at SafeHouse today. I started off talking to the gentleman who shares his insight on spirituality and religion. He had another note for me today and said that I had the spirit to discern. He went on to tell me about the different types of spirits and shared some personal stories about spirituality in his life. We talked a little about jobs, he used to work with children with autism and mental retardation and he says this prompted him to take a spiritual approach to life.

One of the guys I hadn't seen in a while - he's the one who wants to get his GED soon - stopped by for a little while so we got to catch up. The last time I saw him he said that the school plans were on hold because he needed to get a job. Today he shared some good news - he has a job and starts at the end of this week! He also performed some of his music (he writes and performs raps) this past weekend at an open mic and told me he was asked to go back in a couple of weeks to perform again. He made my day with all this good news - I hope he continues to do well and work towards his goals!

I saw one of the other guys who disappeared for a while - he's the shy one who was starting to engage in more conversations with me. He held back a little again, and was keeping to himself and reading his poetry. We talked for a couple of minutes. He said he was doing well and was staying busy. I was glad to know that he was doing okay.

I ended the evening with my 2year old buddy, so it was definitely another good night there!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 79

It was a quieter day at SafeHouse today. There weren't as many people out on the lot, I'm guessing because of the weather. There were a couple of familiar faces, but most people came in right as the doors opened, and left pretty quickly after.

I got to talk to one of the guys that volunteers at the food bank. He was telling me about the different walks he also participates in and how the distance doesn't bother him (like it does the other participants) because he walks everywhere. We then talked about walking in general and that, in the city, the police keep homeless people walking because they aren't allowed to be in certain places or on private property. This spurred on another conversation with one of the other guys who has some strong opinions about law enforcement in general.

The highlight of my time there today - my new buddy. He's 2years old and has so much energy! I spent the majority of my time chasing him around and playing ball with him. His parents are one of the couples that comes by everyday to help out. He is such an adorable kid and I'm hoping to see him again soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 78

Jiten and I participated in the TB Walk this morning. It was quite an adventure getting there with I75 closed, having to drive the wrong way on the highway and on ramp, and then battling traffic (on a Saturday morning at 8am!!), but we finally made it.

Every year the NTBCA, the Atlanta chapter of RESULTS, and local health departments come together to host the Tuberculosis Awareness walk.

1. About 1 in 10 persons infected with TB bacilli will become sick with active TB in their lifetime.
2. Out of large cities in the U.S. Atlanta ranked 9th for TB cases.
3. Out of all states Georgia ranked 9th with TB cases.
4. Almost 1.8 million people died from TB in 2008.
5. TB is the number one killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.

By the time we got there, there was a good sized crowd, approximately 1500 people were participating today. We registered, picked up our t-shirts and walked around for a little bit. They had free food and coffee, a band playing good music, clowns, magicians, and face-painters. The walk started at 930am after some information from the sponsors, and after a group warm-up session. We walked two miles. The weather was perfect for walking! There were a lot of teens and kids walking too which was pretty cool. Overall, a great crowd with a lot of energy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 77

The exhaustion is starting to creep up on me. The past couple days have been hard to go out and give, but I've made it to each opportunity, and I've felt energetic once there. The same thing happened today, but once I got to SafeHouse the energy and enthusiasm was back!

I had some interesting conversations at SafeHouse today. I started off with my friend who talks to me about spirituality and religion. He had some more views to share with me, specifically about using my "spiritual eyes". Of course he had some more moral stories for me. He'd be a good teacher - he's eloquent, great at explaining, and extremely patient!

I had several other conversations this evening as well. The recurrent themes in these conversations: hurt, anger, and resentment. In some of these I asked what it would take to move past those feelings - some said they couldn't move past it, others said they probably could move past those feelings but didn't know how. It's hard listening to some of the conversations because there's isn't much I can do to help the person besides empathize with them, and other times (depending on the person) I can ask questions to gain more insight or to challenge a thought. Either way, I'm grateful that they are comfortable talking with me and I really hope that they can find some comfort from talking about their feelings. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 76

Finally made it back to the Atlanta Community Food Bank this evening! Their volunteer slots fill up really fast, I think I signed up for today about 6 weeks ago! This is definitely a popular group event for many schools and teams.

A basketball team was supposed to come in but weren't able to today so there were only nine volunteers (usually about 20 volunteers helping out each night). I knew one of the volunteers from Kashi, so we worked together on the scales. The great thing about the scales - you can get your workout in too! We were lifting and moving 20-30lb boxes all night.

I had a wonderful time, the company was great, conversation was interesting, and we boxed 2521lbs of food, which would feed 1680 people! I signed up for next week too (six weeks ago), looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 75

What a phenomenal (can I say ... Phenomenal) yep.. Phenomenal night!!

Organizing this event for the past 2 weeks was quite overwhelming! But after seeing the fruits of all of our efforts... Tonight had to be one of the most rewarding nights of my life.

Friends I haven't seen in months and years were there to volunteer tonight! Friends who hate to drive for longer than 20 minutes or past the city they live in, drove for hours to pick up food donations!

Thanks to a few other friends of ours we had pizza and chicken from Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, and Church's.

We'd all agreed to meet at SHO at around 5:30, but of course we were all running late! John was lost trying to get to Little Caesar's in Hamilton Mill and Raksha had to chase down the tin foil covering her chicken from Church's!!! Jiten (Kid) was the only one who'd been ready with the 25 pizza's we'd asked him to pick up. All we had by 5:30pm was a bunch of volunteers at safehouse with some sweet tea!

Miraculously, Raksha and I made it through the rush hour traffic. John came in soon after.

Our volunteers were machines! We filled the boxes up with pizza and chicken until we ran out! At which point Chandni and Kid ran out to get more chicken from Publix!

We continued packing, joking, laughing, and prepping for service for the next hour or so, all the while anxiously waiting to serve our clients!

Once service was over, we started to serve seconds was when the knots in our stomach finally loosened. We had enough. Everyone was served.

The band tonight was outstanding. There was group of kids spending their Spring Break at SHO in service of those less fortunate than themselves. Everyone was so helpful! And as usual, Chandni and I got to hang out with our faves!

It was wonderful to have people remember us from times before, well... me, anyway. Because Chandni's part of the SHO family now. And it was great to catch up with our clients!!

It was an AMAZING night, and we couldn't have done it without our amazing volunteers.

And with that, I'd like to give a special thanks to our vendors - Kamran Kurani @ Pizza Hut, Parvez Khoja @ Little Caesar's, and Alvin Shah @ Church's for all the food donations tonight!

I've never seen such diversity within a group of volunteers at SHO in my history of volunteering there (as short as it's been).

Thank you Hema, Jacyntha, Dyuti, Kenny, Kola, Patti, Rawle, John, Gaurav, Raksha, Lablanc, Jiten (Kid), and Chandni for everything tonight.

We could not have accomplished any of what we did tonight without you!!!

Thank you everyone!
Let's do this again!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 74

It was another PBJ night at Kashi Atlanta, and I was back at the peanut butter station (thank goodness!). There were a lot of volunteers there tonight, including a small group from GA Tech. Today's conversations: the properties of peanut butter and possible ideas for a peanut butter spreading machine; the benefits of a TI 89 calculator; the formula for calculating volume of a cylinder (this was to help a sixth grader with his homework); and the many research projects this group of students were working on. They definitely made the night interesting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 73

I continued the conversation with the gentleman from yesterday at SafeHouse. He talked to me about spirits and recognizing the good from the bad. We talked about religion and spirituality being what each person wants it to be and how we can't always follow what someone else believes. He then told me that something big was going to happen to me this week because I'm becoming more spiritual and starting to see things with my "spiritual eyes". He is a very positive person and appears to be very content. He had a lot of listeners today, from the various groups visiting SafeHouse this week.

I also got to talk to someone I hadn't seen in a while. This is an elder gentleman who is always smiling and when I smile back, he says thank you. He used to be at SafeHouse everyday, but I hadn't seen him for a few weeks. When I saw him at the gate, we waved at each other, but then he looked away, and the expression on his face gave away that something was wrong. I later approached him to say hello, and he had tears in his eyes. I asked if he was okay and he said he didn't want to talk about it. So I talked about some neutral topics. He stopped me, and told me that he was grateful that I was talking to him and that he felt like maybe he should share what's bothering him. We talked for about fifteen minutes and before he left, he promised to take care of himself and to come back soon. I hope he does take care of himself and gets back to reaching the goals he has set for himself.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 72

There were so many people at SafeHouse this evening. Between the groups visiting this week and the group serving today, the parking lot was filled with cars and so many people! I've not seen it that busy before so I was surprised when I walked on to the lot. Of course this meant being able to hang out with everyone outside enjoying the weather.

I spent some time talking to a gentleman about religion. Every time I see him he has a big smile on his face, and is always saying hello to everyone he sees. We had a brief conversation many weeks ago and when he saw me today he said he wrote me something. He gave me four pages of his thoughts on religion and talked to me about seeing the world with "spiritual eyes", and when you do that you see the world in a positive light.

I spoke to another gentleman who told me that our lives are not predetermined (this was from a conversation some weeks ago about being able to tell one's future). He then went on to talk about the "whole truth' versus the "holy truth". He is very insightful and we usually have very deep conversations. Looking forward to going back tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 71

I spent this morning at the Global Soap Project. It was a little different today because Derreck (with all his jokes and funny stories) wasn't there, but we had an awesome team member fill in for him! There was a group of Georgia Tech students volunteering and then a couple of us regulars, so we were able to help move things along since each of us had experience with different parts of the process.

The soap being made today is going to be shipped to Haiti. I was back at the mixing today and was able to get through about three boxes of mixing. It's an arduous part of the process but its also an important step because you have to get the "spiders" moistened and at the right texture.

Overall, had another good morning there even though it was much quieter than normal.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 70

What a great night! Tonight was the 11 for 11 Happy Hour Fundraiser for Safe House Outreach at Buckhead Saloon. Our host Tracie Alvis was wonderful! A lot of people were able to make it out and support the cause so it was definitely a successful event.

Dona and I had an awesome time at the fundraiser and got to meet a lot of wonderful people! Two in particular stood out to me, Dona's friends - Patti and Rawle. They have really made giving back to their community a part of their everyday life. We got to talking and they told me about their cookie business - Tank Goodness Cookies - with the idea being that they deliver the ultimate "warm from the oven" Chocolate Chip cookies (check out the website for more info). As a new company, they've already gone one step beyond and are out making a difference in their community by donating delicious baked goodies to many charitable organizations as well as sending them to our troops overseas. In addition to all that giving, they give their time to organizations around Atlanta through Hands on Atlanta's TeamWorks program. They are an inspirational couple - thank you so much for everything you do and for coming out to support SafeHouse!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 69

On my way home from Milledgeville I stopped at SafeHouse. It was a little stressful tonight, it was after 7pm and there was no food! There was a youth group singing, they were such troopers! They kept singing and stalling, all while keeping the crowd entertained. By the time the food came there were enough volunteers lined up to get the food into plates and start serving. There was chicken (which smelled so good!), rice, vegetables, and spaghetti. We made about 150 meals in about 45mins! The lady who cooked the food is well-known at SafeHouse and everyone knew that her food was well worth the wait!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 68

I didn't think it would be a social night at SafeHouse today because of all the rain, but it stopped in time and for the whole evening! I started off hanging out with one of the guys on the lot (this is the guy who thought he wasn't allowed to talk to the volunteers). We had about an hour long conversation while watching a couple of other guys play basketball. We talked about a variety of things including family, finding jobs, past work experiences, shelters, people being fake, sports, and volunteering. He surprised me with this last bit - he volunteers at a soup kitchen during the day. Later on I spoke to another gentleman who volunteers at the food bank. I think it is amazing and inspiring that these guys are giving back to their community. Both guys talked about giving back in order to get something, and for both, that something is to start changing their lives. Personally, they really motivated me to keep giving back!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 67

Working from home combined with this weather made it really difficult to get out and volunteer today. I almost stayed in but then saw links to the blog on my sister-in-law's gmail - that was about all the encouragement and motivation I needed. So I headed to Kashi Atlanta in the evening to go make PBJ sandwiches.

I was at the jelly station today - hadn't done this before, and think I'm going to try stick with the peanut butter next time. Thankfully, most of the jelly went on the sandwich and very little on me - apparently that takes some skills. Most of the volunteers there tonight were regulars, so we all chatted and had a good time. We were talking about Hindu names and some of the volunteers there told me that they were given Hindu names from joining Kashi. I found this intriguing and also learned that many of the Kashi followers also follow Hinduism. One of the volunteers was singing a hymn and knew more of it than I did!

It was a good night, and I'm definitely enjoying it a lot more now that I've gotten to know some of the other volunteers. Looking forward to going back next week.

Punitabhabhi - thank you for giving me the motivation I needed to get out tonight!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 66

I finally made it back to SafeHouse this evening - it had been just over a week since my last visit there and I was really starting to miss it. I started off out on the lot talking to one of the ladies who comes by there everyday. The past several months have been difficult for her, so we spoke about change and being positive and just about giving yourself time. We ended our conversation with a quick chat about the weather and groundhogs.

I also helped some in the kitchen this evening with setting up kool-aid - I've never filled that many cups of kool-aid before! It was a quick and easy task so once I got done with that I was back outside hanging out with people. I saw a couple of the regular guys, they noticed that I hadn't been there in a while so we caught up on life for the past week.

It was good going back! Looking forward to next time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 65

So today I joined the Care2 community ( - the largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare.

The email I got from them as soon as I finished creating my profile just about sums up what they are -  "with over 15 million members we’re the largest and most trusted information and action site for people who care to make a difference in their lives and the world. We make it easy for you to support the environment, human rights, wildlife, education, healthy living, women’s rights and much more… all in one place!

The website basically allows you to click (and for you iPad or iPhone users, you can just TAP!) to support different causes and organizations!

So I spent the rest of my evening clicking away to support children in need, saving rain forests, protecting big cats habitats, supporting research to cure breast cancer, feeding pets in need, protecting baby seals, preserving the ocean, feeding a rescued primate, raising awareness about global warming, helping stop violence against women worldwide, and protecting threatened wolves.

All this while recovering from girls night out!

It's soooooooo easy! Just do it.

I dare you!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 64

After an awesome night at Sutra, Dona and I went to the Global Soap Project this morning. This was the first volunteer opportunity for Project 365 and one that both of us really enjoy, so it was good to be able to go back. When we got there Derreck asked why we hadn't been in a while (after he reacted to Dona's dress and sandals ensemble), and we told him  - the project is always full and we miss out on signing up for it. He responded that we could go whenever we wanted to without signing up - this made our day! So we will be going back quite a bit :)

We did some mixing today. The soap is broken down into "spiders" (apparently that's the technical term for it). It then has to be moistened and mixed before it can be put through the machine to make the bars. We spent the morning doing this and were able to get through two huge bags of spiders. It was a lot of work, but with all the chatting, joking around, socializing, and today's wonderful music, we got done pretty quickly.

Congratulations to Derreck and the Global Soap Project for winning one of the top three Marketing Awards for Excellence from the Georgia State University College of Business & the Atlanta Business Chronicle! This is an amazing organization and I hope you guys get to come by and be a part of it! 

Dona - thank you for coming today, you're the best!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 63

By the time Chandni was done with her day in Augusta, I was done with mine in Atlanta... It was 6ish! Going to SafeHouse (Chandni's FAVORITE place) wasn't an option considering that she had to drive all the way back to Atlanta.  So of course, after a few texts back and forth, we resorted to

Since she was picking me up, I made it my business to gather up as much rice until she came to me!

About 4,120 grains later. finding out that "homburg" was a mans hat, "hemidemisemiquaver" was the 64th note, "chutzpah" meant audacity, "antitussive" stood for cough relief (I figured it had to be with the amount of Robitussin, in my house)... and "supernumerary" meant EXTRA... I figured I was good for the night.

Which then made me think of how much rice we eat at any given time.  Now I know ten grains of rice, or even a hundred wouldn't be satisfying enough. But would a 1,000? How about 4,120???

I'm going to check! Of course, I would.  We need to know!

Happy volunteering people! Remember to give back in any way that you can, there's several opportunities for you to do so conveniently!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 62

I volunteered in Augusta this evening. I went to the Salvation Army here which has a soup kitchen every evening. They serve three meals a day to the people staying at the shelter, and in the evenings they open up to anyone else who would like to have a meal there. So I was the only volunteer today, but there were three staff members present (they are always there and two live at the shelter).

I did all the serving today. For the people who live at the shelter (they eat before the doors are opened for everyone else) there was corn dogs and fries. The men ate first, once they left the dining area the women and children ate. The dining room was then cleaned and the "soup kitchen" started. We served rice and a meat and vegetable gravy, along with corn bread. Once everyone was through eating, I helped clean up.

The highlight of my evening: Towards the end of the soup kitchen a family with four little kids came in. The kids were adorable! They kept telling me how much they enjoyed the food and all four of them came back for seconds. I look forward to going back the next time I'm in town!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 61

Jiten filled in for me again today, here's what he has to say:

"Went back to books for africa today and helped with the final packaging for the botswana book project. There were about 20 volunteers there today (the spring break chics were still there :D lol). I worked with an older couple today, Chris and his wife Connie. They are currently helping Pam with her project whilst also trying to make a difference by doing a similar thing in Zimbabwe. They were excited to meet me after hearing that a motswana was helping out on Monday. We were basically just packing all the boxes for shipment today. And also received about 5000 books from a high school in St. Louis, which was totally awesome. We managed to pack about 100 boxes of books and encyclopaedias which will be going to Maun Senior Secondary school. It was a fun day and I was really excited that in a few weeks these books will be all over public schools in Botswana.

Will be looking forward to the next time I'm back there to help out."

Thank you sooooo much for filling in for me kid!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 60

I critiqued blogs today through Sparked makes it easy for people to help nonprofits get valuable work done. Sparked helps nonprofits increase their capacity by giving them a low-maintenance way to get free work done from a huge pool of talented professionals; including creative design, job description review, new product brainstorms, new website focus-grouping, media relations strategies, and so much more.. Through the convenience of the Internet, and with the collaboration of others, micro-volunteers use their professional skills to help causes they care about.

There are many different opportunities and organizations on here...check it out!