June 24, 2009

NCVS Blog - Wednesday 10AM


I'm marinating in all the ideas, conversations, and thoughts flowing around here at NCVS - and I want to take a moment to share one with you that emerged yesterday.

I attended a workshop focusing on encouraging youth to engage in service learning and other leadership opportunities. There was an awesome panel of rockstars who admitted that they were rockstars largely because they were offered leadership roles and service opportunities at a young age. It reminded me of my time with Ann and Laura of Youth Resources - young people who could outshine myself and many of my peers any day of the week.

After hearing from the youth, and going over a little process, the attendees of the session had a chance to respond through small group discussions and report-outs. As a part of the Policy Small Group, we dreamed of ways to empower the voice of youth across the nation and provide opportunities young people to have their voices heard.

We lamented the fact that most people start working (and paying taxes) well before they are 18, yet they have no voice in how their tax dollars are spent. We discussed the injustice of being tried as an adult, but not being able to sit on a jury. All over the board, young people are affected by laws, rules, and taxes that they have no voice in changing or supporting.

So, we are proposing something crazy. Except that it makes so much sense.

We are advocating for lowering the voting age to 14

I would love to hear your thoughts, there's a long road ahead to make this happen and we need your help to make our case the strongest possible. Looking forward to instilling civic behavior at an earlier point in an adult's development!

"Republicans are accused of abandoning the poor. It's the other way around - they never vote for us."
Dan Quayle

June 23, 2009

NCVS Blog - Tuesday 7PM

Just leaving a "listening session" hosted by the leadership of the Corporation of National & Community Service. It has been a long and full day of great workshops and really good networking. I even got my copy of The Charismatic Organization signed by the authors. Over all, it's been a pretty banner day. However, something has been nagging at me and I'm hoping that I can better explain it as the week goes on...

All of this focus on service and volunteerism is fantastic, but it seems as though there is a lack of understanding regarding the systems needed to support a volunteer program and the myriad other back office details related to the pursuit of service delivery.

I was in workshops with titles like, "Service as a Solution: Service and the Road to Recovery," "The New Volunteer Workforce," and "Developing the Next Generation of Leaders," but conversations surrounding the actual support of volunteers from an organizational standpoint seems to be lacking.

Maybe it's because everyone has it figured out, but I doubt that. I fear that it is because people, even those with years of experience in the sector, desperately want consequence-free help with fulfilling their mission. That probably sounds really harsh, but I believe that in large part it's true. Volunteers take time, energy, and resources to recruit, train, manage, and retain - yet, so far the focus these last two days have been on the individual volunteer...

I would love to hear your thoughts - and be sure that mine will become more coherent as the conference unfolds.

"It is wiser to find out than to suppose."
Mark Twain

June 22, 2009

NCVS Blog - Monday 5PM

So, a big part of my new job is to raise the celebrity of service.

Good thing I came to the National Conference on Volunteering and Service - check out the lineup for the opening ceremony:

Jon Bon Jovi
Matthew McConaughey
Arrianna Huffington
Maria Shriver
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Michelle Obama

In addition, there were appearances by the Glide Memorial Church Choir and the leadership of the HandsOn Network and the Corporation of National & Community Service. Said differently, it was three nonstop hours of celebrity - with a little substance thrown, to boot.

And the night wasn't over. The title sponsor of the conference, Target, threw a huge party for the attendees at Fort Mason with food, drinks, sunsets over the Golden Gate Bridge - and a live performance by Chaka Khan.

Hoping to take a few notes from the experience as we develop the Spirit of Service Scholars Program. Maybe U2 will rock out for our kickoff event - pro bono (jokes for music nerds).

"As a rockstar, I have two instincts. I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both."

NCVS Blog - Monday 9AM

I'm headed towards San Francisco, one of my favorite cities to visit. Especially in the summer. I love Mark Twain's quote:

"The coldest winter I've ever had was a summer in San Francisco."

And those that live there or have been there know exactly what Mr. Clemens was talking about. Looking forward to saying goodbye to triple digits for a few days while I hang out with hundreds of people invested in the nonprofit sector.

I got me a fancy laptop now so it makes it a bit easier to do this blogging thing. Stay tuned throughout the conference - I'll be taking some notes on Michelle Obama's keynote and the plethora of workshops that I'll be attending.

Also, any suggestions on what to do about local coffee shops, taverns, and other cool spots are more than welcome...

"I've never seen so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-looking Bohemians in my life."
Oscar Wilde - in reference to the San Francisco Bohemian Club

June 15, 2009

COAR Hosts Movie Night

Have you seen Kite Runner?

If you haven't, clear your schedule on Wednesday. Even if you have, it's worth watching the movie again. And hey, this time the money goes to a great organization.

COAR (Community Outreach and Advocacy for Refugees) is hosting a movie night at the Valley Arts Theater on Mill. Harkins has donated the theater and the licensing for the evening, in part to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20th. COAR will receive all of the proceeds of the evening; tickets are only $8 and my friend Kelli has 240 seats to fill. Can you help her?

To RSVP or for questions, shoot a quick email to kdonley [at] coarweb [dot] org. See you Wednesday night!

"For you, a thousand times over."

June 10, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade Day

From Kris Nowotny, Phoenix Coordinator for Lemonade Day, a project of Prepared 4 Life.

Hi, my name is Kris and I am working with Prepared 4 Life to bring Lemonade Day to the Greater Phoenix area in 2010. Prepared 4 Life’s foremost objective is empowering youth to take ownership of their own lives and become healthy, productive members of society—the business leaders, social advocates, volunteers and forward-thinking citizens of tomorrow. Held on the first Sunday of May every year since 2007, Lemonade Day offers young people the opportunity to savor the sweet taste of success that comes with setting up, owning and operating their very own lemonade business.

The program has seen phenomenal growth, growing from 2,600 stands in Houston its first year to over 27,000 with 75,000 kids participating in 2009! This past May 3rd, the combined youth of the Greater Houston community sold over two million cups of lemonade and, with their profits; they contributed more than $500,000 to local charities.

Lemonade Day’s success hasn’t been limited to just Houston alone. The program recently launched in Austin, Bryan/College Station, Richmond, and Minneapolis. Lemonade Day is coming to Phoenix and ten other cities across the United States in 2010.

It is my goal to see Lemonade Day be a smashing success in the Phoenix metro area.

We offer the program free of cost to the kids and schools who wish to integrate the Lemonade Day Program into their curriculum. To achieve this we seek the involvement of the entire community through sponsorship, donations, and most preferably, active involvement in the program itself. I’ve been hard at work researching local area businesses, foundations, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and any and everyone who would want to participate in or contribute to Lemonade Day.

I’m hoping to get my finger on the pulse of Phoenix, and ask for your help to achieve this. If you are interested or know anyone who you think will be interested in Lemonade Day, I encourage you to e-mail me, and check out the Lemonade Day website. We are going to launch the Phoenix specific site soon so I encourage everyone interested to check frequently as updates will hopefully come quickly. You can follow me on Twitter as well to receive updates.

Thanks to Sam for letting me borrow his soap box and thank you all for reading and hopefully I’ll see all of you May 02, 2010 for Phoenix’s very first Lemonade Day.

Looking Forward to Phoenix,