Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Team Carolina & Meals on Wheels

On August 27th, 2010, the Americorps/National AIDS Fund/Caring Counts Team Carolina partnered with Meals on Wheels to prepare, pack, and deliver healthy food to Durham, NC area residents. Needless to say, it was very early in the morning and quite humid. Venturing outside in the 95-degree heat immediately made teamembers sticky and sweaty.

However, the mission at hand was too important. The mission at hand could not be abandoned because of heat or perspiration. The mission at hand was essential.

The Americorps Team split up into two groups. One group was led by stunt-car driver Geoffrey Horsfield, while the other group was led my Lil' Hawking, Susan Lou. As a result fo their combined eladership, the team was able to deliver essential sustinence to more than 15 different homes in the Triangle area.

Each recipient was ecstatic to see us and receive the food. Team Carolina even helped one elderly woman fix her cell phone so she could contact her daughter in California. The feelings of goodwill were abound and the mission was assuredly worth the work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Team Carolina AmeriCorps Week

Team Carolina recognized AmeriCorps week by accomplishing 2 different projects. We started our day at the Durham County Urban Ministry Center where we worked along side 12 other AmeriCorps members from the Literacy Corps. We split up into teams and some volunteers went to work in the kitchen and some stayed in the clothing closet. After just 3 hours of service we had gone through over 20 bags of clothing. Some things were really fun to sort through, such as the bags full of baby clothes. Other bags were a bit more interesting as we had to sort unmentionable items into the throw away pile. We all also had some fun as we found many items of clothing that were much better kept in a different decade. Over all we were able to fully stock the closet and after much sorting many great items of clothing were on display for the Durham Urban Ministry patrons. Next we said good bye to the Literacy Corps group and met up as a team to put together a video show casing our “power of 5”. This video gave all of us an opportunity to gather thoughts about our service year and convey how we all have made an impact. It was a lot of fun and a great end to the day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March Madness.

Before starting, I'd like to emphasize how amazing Michigan State Basketball is.  March is where my team eats.  Sparty on.

Alright, February was good, but as Jay-Z says, "It's on to the next one."

For our team, things continue to come together for our LTP.  We are buying supplies for a housing program so people have such luxuries (sarcasm) as garbage cans, eating and cooking utensils, linen, shower curtains, hygiene products, etc.

The month of March was an amazing month of fifth days.  The first Saturday was 'Chicago Takes Off'. CTO is a huge fundraiser for TPAN.  It's a yearly burlesque show that is performed and organized through hundreds of volunteers.  Team Chicago got there about 8 hours early to help set up the stage, decorations, and bring general cheer to everyone.
(The team taking a quick break from setting up...What's Kevin looking at?  Probably a performer...)

After set up, we were lucky enough to score some free tickets to the show.  The show's theme was 'TV Land'.  Everything was based on old TV show favorites like 'I Love Lucy' and 'Gilligan's Island'.  Simply put, it was mind blowing.  Every member agreed that it was up there with some of the best fifth days.  I personally fell in love with a beautiful girl in one of the dance troupes (is troupe the right word?), but didn't have the courage to talk to her after the show...I'm a wuss.  The event raised about $170,000 for TPAN.  So, our small hand in setting up reaped some huge rewards for infected and at risk communities around Chicago, allowing many TPAN programs to continue.

All the performers taking their bow at the end of the show, note the beautiful decorations.

The next Friday, the 12th, we actually took a team bonding fifth day.  We drove out of the city to my parent's home, where I grew up, in the western suburbs.  There, my mom was waiting with a feast of Indian food.  We all just hung out, ate some great food and had a good time.  We also watched some basketball together.  Unfortunately, Davina's Wisconsin Badgers lost (sorry Day Day).  Afterwords, we split up and solicited some businesses to raise funds for our LTP.  A very relaxing fifth day.

We didn't take any pictures this fifth day, but here's a picture of my mom and I.
She cooks like a boss.  And dresses like one too.

The third fifth day of the month was spent at the American Indian Health Services of Chicago (AIHSC) health fair.  This was for National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  While at the fair, our team conducted testing and counseling.  We had the opportunity network with an entirely new population that we can continue to help for the remainder of the service year.  Props to Kevin on this, he organized everything and it went great.  Hopefully we'll see more of this great organization in the near future, they really need us and we loved spending time with all of the staff and clients.  No pictures from this event...sorry Maggie!

The last fifth day of March was spent at TPAN doing some odds and ends painting and making over 1,000 safe sex kits.  The weather was pretty miserable that day, so we are saving all of the kits for a huge outreach fifth day in perhaps May.  With over 1,000 kits already, excluding the thousands from other agencies, the day of outreach will prove a massive push for testing and awareness.  Awesome.

Got safe sex?

Wow...as I read over this post I realize how rapid fire I wrote.  I apologize, but it does pretty much sum up March for us.  We had some great fifth days and it flew by.  I hope all our teams are doing great and Team Chicago cannot wait for super fifth day with Team Indy and Team Detroit!

Also, Chicago started a twitter account: nafteamchi.  Follow us!

Enjoy the beautiful weather and be well.

Team Chicago.
Hi Members,
Exciting news in from Team DC. They are putting together a series of prevention videos. The first group of videos includes male and female condom demonstrations. Check them out at:

Team DC YouTube videos

Friday, March 19, 2010

Habitat For Humanity 5th Day in Westland, MI

For the week's fifth day, Team Detroit undertook a genuinely meaningful service project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Western Wayne County. Some members of Team Detroit spent the day painting away. Others spent the day digging, chopping, raking, and getting really dirty.

Team Detroit came together, leaned on each other for support, and worked till dusk. Everyone walked away from the event with a keen sense of what "giving back to the community" is and how tangible things, like homes, can truly make a difference in someone's life.

Many Americans have a distorted view of Habitat for Humanity. The homes are not free; each family receiving a built house must pay a full mortgage and contribute 500 hours of labor to the building process. Even though Team Detroit was only there for a relatively short period, we realized how important the work we did truly was - we contributed to the building of a home that will, in the very near future, house one very happy family. We were even invited to attend the dedication ceremony in June by the site's Crew Leader. A good and rewarding time was had by all.

If your team hasn't worked with Habitat yet, I strongly encourage you to get involved.

-Team D

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MLK Day, Detroit-Style

On MLK Day, Team Detroit partnered with CityYear Detroit and The United Way to give high-school students in the Detroit area a little bit more “style” when it came to their school’s appearance. A few members of Team Detroit helped remove old paint from doors and walls, while the rest put their painting skills to the test by applying thick coats of ocean-blue paint to the interior walls of Cody High School.

This is an excerpt of a letter penned by Randy J. Dillard, the Director of Volunteer Services for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, to Team Detroit:

“I wanted to personally send you a thank you for being a part of the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Your time and effort left an enormous impact on communities across Southeast Michigan. This was our area's largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to date, and we couldn't have done it without your hard work!

Each day, United Way is developing lasting solutions to the critical issues we face. Issues like ensuring our children have the education they need to succeed, ensuring people can build an income to support themselves and their families, and helping people with basic needs, like food. These are the three things we all need for a good life and United Way is working hard to mobilize the people and resources needed to create change.

Your service is a large part of our work. Because of you, high school students at Cody and Osborn High School – two of United Way’s turnaround schools – are walking through the doors more motivated and ready to learn. Nonprofits across the community are better able to serve their clients and youth in our community will soon have mentors who care about their futures.

It will take our combined efforts to create a thriving community. That’s what it means to Live United, and we’re glad you’ve joined the movement to create a better life for Southeast Michigan residents.”

A good, rewarding time was had by all!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!!!!

Team Tulsa participated in Tulsa's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade. We distributed information for HOPE Testing Clinic and Tulsa CARES, agencies that provide testing and case management. The parade route went through downtown Tulsa including the historic Greenwood district. This was especially significant because of the history with the Tulsa Race Riot. The Tulsa Race Riot, also known as the 1921 race riot, was a massacre during a large-scale civil disorder confined mainly to the racially segregated Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 31, 1921. During the riot, hundreds of people were injured and 10,000 were left homeless because of fires that caused massive property damage.
While walking through the streets where such a devastating event occurred, it meant a lot to be a part of the biggest MLK parade in Tulsa to date. Seeing hundreds of people from different backgrounds marching in peace was a powerful experience. Although we still have a long way to go, events like these are inspirational and show us how far we have come.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Raleigh Rescue Mission

Prepared and ready TO SERVE AmeriCorps Style!

On January 29, 2010 Team NC went to the Raleigh Rescue Mission to help prepare and serve lunch to those in need staying at the shelter. The mission has overnight services that offers comfortable, safe refuge for single women and mothers with children. All of the guests are given clean clothing, warm showers, personal care items, nutritious meals, and cozy beds to sleep in. Those who are not in the emergency program, are in another branch of the Mission's services, including rehabilitation (getting a GED, substance abuse, transitions inbetween jobs ext), and have daily chores to help keep things at the Mission running smoothly.

Staci learning how to deep fry!

Getting some corn from the pantry! YUM!

Kim & Staci working hard to make some delicious salmon cakes!

While we were there we discussed how single dads are not given preferance at any shelters, and it is hard even on national levels for men with children to find housing. This is a form of reverse discrimination. What about the fathers? Why can't they be offerred housing/care when they have children, and meet the same criteria for entering a shelter as a women? How can this situation be resolved?

The food that we helped prepare was fresh and delicious. Local grocery stores such as Trader Joes, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods donate 50-60 lbs of food bi-weekly. The meal that we helped to prepare was food donated from RED LOBSTER! We helped serve crab, lobster, shrip and filet mignon. Let's just say the people staying at the mission are eating well! There was a salad and fresh fruit bar, ice tea, deserts, and bread a plenty. The kitchen was one of the cleanest and highly efficiently set up that we have had the pleasure to serve in this year. The staff in the kitchen was part hired, and partly those living at the mission. We all had a great time! It was a deliciously rewarding day of service.

After the Rescue Mission we went to Krupa's agency, the Alliance of AID Services and made safer sex kits for their upcoming events!

Cheers! -Alex