Sunday, January 31, 2010
Volunteering, Community Service, Public Outreach and Donations
2015, including church: Resurrection Catholic Church; Childfund; memorial fund; Methodist church donation; donation toward Ithaca student campaign to attend Selma march commemoration.
Donations 2014: Amanda Bush Online Fund; Childfund
Donations 2013, including church: Maggie Street Baptist Church (with grandmother); Spelman College; Childfund; Food Bank of the Southern Tier; United Way; Paralyzed Veterans of Amereica; Marine Toys for Tots; Doctors without Borders; Ithaca Health Alliances; March of Dimes; Alzheimer's Association; Defenders of Wildlife; Go Fund Me Medical Campaign; art piece to Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum
Donations 2012, including church: Maggie Street Baptist Church (with grandmother); Calvary Baptist Church; Childfund; The March of Dimes; Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology; Spelman Alumni Fund; Obama Presidential Campaign; A student Family Fund at Cornell; A memorial Fund in Montgomery, AL; Foodbank of the Southern Tier; Salvation Army; the Lynch Quilt Project; A fund for hospital medical expenses in Montgomery, AL; A relief fund for Hurricane Sandy.
*Donations 2011 beyond church: UC Santa Barbara; Village at Ithaca; Childfund; United Way; Fresh Air Fund; Helped sponsor undergraduate at NCBS conference; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Scholarship fund.
*Donations 2010 beyond church: Childfund; Spelman College; SIS Oral History Project at Spelman College; Haiti relief (Yele); Spelman College(upcoming); SisterMentors: Promoting Education Among Women and Girls of Color; Sponsored graduate student travel funding to attend African@40 conference; the Toni Morrison Society.
*Donations 2009 beyond church: Village at Ithaca: It Takes a Whole Village to Raise, Educate, Affirm and Inspire a Child; Childfund (have served as sponsor of an Ethiopian girl named Jemila, now 11, since December 2006); Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beta Nu Omega Chapter Scholarship Fund (four-year college scholarship winner of competition in 1989, and donated to the fund 20 years later, in memory of Great Aunt and chapter member Johnnie Rebecca Carr); Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Durham Alumnae Chapter, scholarships (former chapter member)
*Among some other organizations or outreach ministries and organizations to which donations have been made are In Touch Ministries (monthly donor in mid-1990s); Christ is in Your Crisis Ministries(monthly donor in late 1990s); SisterMentors: Promoting Education Among Women and Girls of Color; the NAACP; the Democratic party; "Barack Brigade"(first joined and supported beginning in summer of 2004 to help support Barack Obama's senatorial election in Illinois); Barack Obama Presidential Campaign
*Established and Coordinated Leaders’ Club for youth (6-13) (under supervision of Robert James) on Friday evenings for two years at Cleveland Avenue Branch YMCA (1987-89); community outreach project was designed for service credits at St. Jude Educational Institute while serving as student council vice-president (1987-88) and student council president(1988-89); the historic St. Jude was the final camping place for Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers in 1965; four photos included above with this post were all take at age 17, on a college trip to Hampton University, and toward the end of service as a volunteer at the Y in the Montgomery community. The first is a picture of me at age 16 down in the Gulf on the Spanish Club's trip to New Orleans. Because of the reputation of the school and reputation of girls for being attractive, the girls at St. Jude were very popular and pursued by boys from other schools, who visited our campus many Friday evenings outside the gate in an attempt to meet them; I never circulated in that way socially because it just wasn't me; most evenings after school, I had club meetings or student council meeting, which was always crowded when I was student council vice-president as a junior because I helped to institute a charter system and charged each club $30 for membership, fined clubs and suspended charters when they lacked representation at student council meeting, put a Coke machine in the lobby of the gym and led bake sales two days a week to raise money for the student council's treasury. It was so loaded because of these constant fund-raising activities that by the time I became student council president we were able to pay cash in the fall of 1988 for our side of the funding for the school's annual coronation ball to crown Miss St. Jude and other courts. I was also always missing in action at that time because I was volunteering with the kids at the Y, including on the Friday that the top football player in town visited and, as I heard it from a friend later, asked where I was because he wanted to meet me. Indeed, my own boyfriend as a junior was also a football player at a public school in Montgomery, and his visit to the Y one Friday evening to pick me up once had a strong impact on a younger female teen (13) who had asked me if I had a boyfriend and then suggested to me that she was thinking of becoming sexually active. I, being cautious, explained that my boyfriend and I were getting to know each other and that we valued each other’s company. I stressed that he was my first one at 16 ever in my life and that waiting for such a person was worth it. I also stressed that girls should demand the utmost respect from boys and should not allow themselves to be pressured. I caught a pensive vibe from her, so hopefully she abandoned the idea of sex. I mentioned the importance of setting the standard high with boys and repecting oneself, and that I did not believe in sex before marriage. A few weeks later, he came over to the Y to pick me up after one of my sessions. A week later, she and another girl, a little awestruck, ran up to me when I arrived, told me how cute they thought he was and that they could not believe that he was a football player-at Lanier(he was wearing his blue letterman's jacket); they saw through him that girls could attract cute boys who would respect them.
*Concessions Volunteer for youth at Cleveland Avenue Branch YMCA (1988-89)
*Nursing Home Volunteering with Montgomery City Federation of Youth Clubs (1985-89)
Volunteer, Spelman Nursery School (1991-92)
*Tutor, Frederick Douglass Memorial Tutorial Program (with coordinators Rev. Otis Moss III and Monica Brown Moss) (1991-92)
*Volunteer in Food Program at First Baptist Church with Annie Bell Beasley (daughter of great aunt, civil rights leader Johnnie Rebecca Carr) and Benny Beasley (1990-92)
*Co-Founder (with Sabrina McDaniel), Sisters in Solidarity to ERadicate Sexism (SISTERS), Spelman College, 1993; motto: "We Stand Together in Defiance of Oppression." Group for undergraduate women at the college was inspired by Images of Women in the Media course and was designed to protest images of black women in rap videos and music lyrics. Organization's activities included a protest against Freaknic on the campus at Morehouse, in which the group's members passed out fliers critiquing the event, a bulletin board to raise awareness of images of women, and a coalition-building session. Co-Founders had also spear-headed the construction of a bullentin board entitled "Do You Really Recognize the Tools of Oppression," that included a range of apparatuses linked to oppressive images of women's bodies.
*Volunteer camp counselor, Camp Sunshine (Girl Scout camp under supervision of Lori Weil and in unit of 11 Montgomery girls with George Norman, founder of Alabama African American Arts Alliance and current director of Rosa Parks Museum and Gallery) (1993)
*Volunteer tutor in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Life Development Program, First Calvary Baptist Church (supervised by Elnora Shields, North Carolina Teacher of the Year; worked mainly with her and Della Fullbright) (1993-94)
*Sustainer, Durham Food Co-op (1994)
*Black Workers for Justice supporter (1994)
*Co-coordinator, Church-based reading group on black women and spirituality(1996-97)
*Evangelism Committee, First Calvary Baptist Church (1995-97)
*Donated almost all of clothing to the Vietnam Veterans in Durham, North Carolina
(1995); donated all apartment utensils and accessories to Vietnam Veterans when departing Durham (1998)
*Donated antique sewing machine and other clothing to Hospice of Sacramento (2001); regularly donated designer clothing and accessories and supported building's recyclying project (1999-01)
*PAX (Peace Arts Xchange), Sacramento, CA (2003-06)
*Child Sponsor in Ethiopia, Christian Children’s Fund (now Childfund), 2006-Present; enjoy the process of selecting gifts, which must be small and compact because of customs restrictions. The many gifts sent to complement donations all stress aspects of educational development or specific things mentioned in her school progress reports and are always fun and challenging to select. Over the past year, have sent, for example, a book of 8 puzzles featuring all the continents of the world as well as an atlas; a black doll and a kit of colorful textiles for dressing; various mathematics workbooks; art books and art supplies, plus a chalkboard and eraser; stickers; cards with special effects such as an Easter egg that changed design when tilted or a singing kitten. It was heart-warming to hear from her in a letter one of the sweetest things that a child can say, which is, "I pray for you every night," and to hear her excitement last year over having received the gift of a ewe from her mother. I enjoy and treasure the rich letters that I receive and also enjoy sending letters.
*Donated second antique sewing machine and a range of items (2008)
*Rosa Parks Museum Gallery and Library Art Outreach with E.D. Nixon Elementary School Fourth and Fifth Graders (2008)-photos are featured in various posts below, though most are from behind to honor laws in France, which I admire, that prevent the showing of children's faces in public photos. This dialogue on art quilts with fourth and fifth graders in exhibition room was sponsored in conjunction with the E.D. Nixon Foundation and Alabama State Representative Thad McClammy. Also, all of this in some ways brought my life full circle. For it took me back to the earliest community base with which I interacted as a teen volunteering at the YMCA on Cleveland/Rosa Parks Avenue in Montgomery, incidentally, part of the area that Representative McClammy represents. To further attest to the difference that a commitment to community service early in life can make, in retrospect I am amazed that I actually first met Georgette Norman, the curator for my Montgomery art exhibition, when I was volunteering for a week at the Girl Scout Camp-Camp Sunshine-in Montgomery after I graduated from college in 1993.
*Cultural Envoy, US Embassy in Paris; honored with a talk, film screening, art exhibition and reception at US Ambassador's Residence; public outreach included several lectures and exchanges with colleges and high schools in banlieues, with a group of vocational high school women, along with 19 teens at the Bondy Blog(2009)
*I am also inspired to do community outreach because of the continuing service in my family. When I was growing up, I went around annually with my grandmother as she collected for the March of Dimes, and all of her other efforts to help support and sustain our neighborhood. I aslo admire my mother's work with the E.D. Nixon Foundation in Montgomery, Alabama and annual volunteering for several years to shop at Christmas for clothing for 22 boys and girls on behalf of the Continentals in the city. I view parenting as a ministry that ideally prepares and seasons one for giving to and helping children beyond one's own. I love and admire my own mother for how the love, thought, energy and creativity that she once put into shopping for me at Christmas when I was growing up is now shared in broader ways through the care and time that she puts into selecting the gifts for this large group of boys and girls in the city. Similarly, my aunt consistently volunteers with youth in Montgomery. For years, she served as the advisor for the youth male group the Kudos sponsored by her sorority Phi Delta Kappa. She also serves as an advisor for groups of debutantes sponsored by the organization. Our family has worked to help support the girls who have come out as debutantes in our family, including me (Finalist who placed on the Court of Miss Debutante, 1989), my cousin Keri (First Runner Up to Miss Debutante, 2004) and my cousin Megan (Second Runner up to Miss Debutante, 2006); but their work has been tireless and ongoing in helping to support other girls through the years as they have been contestants, too. These community events and organizations matter a lot. When I left for college at Spelman College in 1989, I had a $4000 scholarship from AKA in Montgomery, a $250 essay contest prize from Delta Sigma Theta because I was a winner in their essay competition, a $500 prize from Zeta Phi Beta since I had been a contestant in their Finer Womanhood Contest as a high school junior, and a $500 award because I was a finalist on the debutante court when I was presented in the Phi Delta Kappa cotillion in spring 1989. For all of these reasons, I give back to honor these community organizations and understand the valuable role they play in developing and helping to educate youth. Finally, I admire my cousin's years of service as a volunteer football coach and work with children and teens in the community.