Friday, July 2, 2010

My experience at IT IS UP TO YOU conference

Sunday: Traveling, Sightseeing Day- Walking around Manhathan, An Evening with Sybil: I arrived on Sunday and shared a ride with a member of the Oklahoma City Community Service Commission. The man and his wife were staying at the Hilton so they left the taxi and I went on with my Russian taxi driver to my wonderful hotel, Washington/Jefferson Hotel at 51st and 8th. I highly recommend this hotel, if one does not mind walking to save taxi costs. Airpot taxi to and from hotel:$80. In town, anywhere from $10-20 per ride. I think rides start at $2.00, not sure because I walked as much as I could because the predicted rain never came and there was so much to see.

I walked to 88th and York to have dinner with Sybil, a friend of my daughther-in-law Julia. It was great to see Sybil's amazing collection of antiques and enjoy a fresh Maine lobster dinner, great wine, and a million dollar view from her terrace.

On my way to Sybil's, I walked by Central Park, discovered the Plaza Hotel, where I needed to go to a luncheon on Monday, and stumbled with Ben and Jerry and Target's promotional day for the new flavors exclusive to Target to celebrate volunteerism: Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder. I had my picture taken with a cow. I will place the picture somewhere in my office.

As I walked on a Sunday!!!!; I had a manicure, a pedicure, I had my hair done. All things I did not have time to do because I was moving my office. Everyone treated me with great kindness. I love the Upper East Side of NYC. I met Sybil at about 7:00p.m. and left her place by 11:00 p.m. Sybil described herself very well; she is the spirit of New York.

After a lovely time wiht Sybil learning about NYC and Julia's growing up years, I returned to my hotel at midnight. I could not avoid remembering Brian when he was in NYC for the first time and he wanted to take a taxi from the theater to the hotel because he was scared. I cannot believe, he has lived in NYC for two years and he is in his 10th year of living in Boston. How much he and I have changed in such a short period of time.

Monday: First Day of the Conference: I ate breakfast on the go from a small cafe next to the Hilton. I registered early and found out that the changes in schedule would not permit me to attend the first session Realizing your Dreams. I went to the workshop to network before it started. Left the workshop earlier to get ready for the Gala luncheon. I hated changing my sketchers for regular shoes, but it was a small price to pay for what I was about to experience.

On my way to the Plaza Hotel luncheon, I found my favorite jewelry store, Swarovski, and bought myself a treat! The heart shaped pendant complemented my favorite ear rings. As I entered the luncheon, I saw beautiful flowers and about 300+ people networking. The servers provided palatable delicacies and all the drinks one desired. Participants received a bag, especially designed for Shinnyo-en with a t-shirt, literature, and a beatiful name tag holder. I wonder why I was invited to such important event as Jody came to welcome me and introduced me to the team she had brought. Jody's work in service-learning focuses on teleconferencing global service-learning projects.

After about an hour of networking, we were called to lunch. The room was decorated for a platinum wedding! I was told to seat at a table number higher than 14. We had a beautiful program waiting for us. People from around the world began to eat a lobster based lunch. Every dish looked like a work of art. As the program developed, people received awards. The luncheon ended with a women's forum on volunteerism. The most amazing thing for me was being a couple of tables away from Shinso Ito, the very petit woman who heads the Shinnyo-En order: Borderless Garden of Truth. To describe her presence, one has to be a gifted writer, so I will stop there. I wanted to meet her, but for some reason I felt, it was not my time yet. I did meet Bishop Tsao Ito who gave me his card. He works out of the Shinnyo-en Grand Holy Temple, 2-13, 1-Chome, Shibazakicho, Tachigama-City, Tokyo 190-0023, phone 042-525-0111. As I heard Haru, CEO of Shinnyo-En Foundation in San Francisco, speak, I realized that there had been an ongoing interfaith service partnership between the head of the Shinnyo-En order and the Pope.

Her Holiness Shinso Ito presented the Prince Shotoku, a symbol of peace and harmony, to first deputy mayor, Patricia Hams, who accepted it on behalf of the city of NY. Her Holiness speech reminded all those in attendance about the shared bonds and strong connections between people, and the need for everyone to help each other. It was truly an inspiring moment. I could not help but feel her spirit of peace and harmony entering my little heart shaped pendant. When her holiness spoke at the opening plenary of the conference, the stage was transformed by the colors and the beauty of her petite, kind presence. Her speech, translated by telepromter, metioned hearts united in the quest for peace. I felt like I was taking a little bit of her spirit with me in my new heart shaped pendant.

As the lunch program continued, the recipient of the 2010 Pathfinders to Peace Award, an award which honors those who have dedicated their lives to bringing about a more peaceful world through their endeavors, was U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, who was honored for his lifelong commitment to service, including his important role in the formation of the Peace Corps, and his support of the civil rights movement working alongside the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that are only a few of his many accomplishments.

Other awards presented were the Heart of Service Awards: the Daily Point of Light Award,the President's Volunteer Service Award, and the NY Governor's Rose Award.

The panel discussion (First Lady Michelle Paige Patterson, Kim Martin, Vice-President and General Manager of WE tv, Maya Enista, CEO,, and Mary McPhail, Chief Executive Worldwide Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) moderated by Ariana Huffington ( an interesting exchange of ideas, bringing together some of the most successful and important women in the community.

Thoughts to remember from the panel:
-Budget time, money, and make choices
-Make service part of your daily life
-Promote social innovation in civic participation
-Promote Let's Read, Let's Move in our communities
The lenght of the luncheon did not allow me to attend the workshop Video: Story telling and Strategy. I did not worry because I have Mr. Varela as an advisor in this area and I was planning to take a video making course as part of my free professional development from the State Department of Education in July.

I was glad to meet Jody's husband and co-workers as well as her superintendent who told me he would be happy to be an administrative resource for Casady. Christopher Clouet is the superintendent of White Plains Public Schools, At my table sat a woman who was a friend of Henry Lozano. Pat White is the Executive Director of the Community Anti Drug Coalitions Acros Tennnesse I hope to see her again at the retreat in San Francisco.

1:30-4:00 Radio City Music Hall: OPENING PLENARY

It was my first time attending a National Conference for service managers working in collaboration with the corporate, non-profit, government and faith-based groups. I discovered a world of empowered women and win-win collaborations with a common goal, solve community problems with a well-trained and committed volunteer force.

Every seat was filled in the legendary and historic Radio City Music Hall at the official kick off of the Conference, with close to 6,000 leaders of the business, nonprofit, government, and volunteer sector ready to embark on the three-day event. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a host of other dignitaries, community leaders, and volunteers from across the country gave words of encouragement, with emcees Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” kept the crowd entertained.

I wanted to meet Rupper, the man from the deli who is constantly interviewed by David Letterman, so I went there for dinner. $10 for a sandwich and Orangina served by Rupper's girlfriend who told me she had been volunteering for RSVP. I could not believe she was over 55 years old. It was late and she was closing the deli, but she prepared a sandwich and we talked for a while. I told her I would be back to taste her signature sandwich when the Deli was opened for lunch and to meet Rupper!!

8:30-11:00 Radio City Music Hall: HERE IS TO YOU Award Celebration
I wonder how the awards were selected because for the youth area, the Casady4H2ope deserves national recognition if you compare the scope and student involvement. All the awards and Broadway entertainment videos can be viewed at the National Conference website. The inspirational moments for me were


Things to remember:
-Let's Read, Let's Move Project
-Saint Bernard Project
-PS22 singing group (children..Stand by ME_YOU)
-Build institutional capacity, not just expand outreach efforts
-Participate in non-profit boards...Create more non-profit boards
-Engage with public officials
-Create a partnership with Target. They give $3 million every week. Participate in the Target Meals for Minds. Develop a colaboration between YAC, Students Against Hunger, Target Meals for Minds and create an amazing Big Sort Day 2010. Follow the example of Party for Good where 150,000 meals were packed. Reward volunteers with new volunteer Ben and Jerry ice cream flavors available exclusively at Target.
-Millenniums (born on 1980 and on) and baby boomers: A winning service collaboration
-We have the human capital to solve our community problems
-Engage on reduction of carbon footprint
-Utilize social media with innovation, purpose, and to build relationship based on audience interest.

2nd day of Conference: My day did not start until 10:30, so I went to see what was going on at the Hilton because my laptop stopped working. I am glad I did it because I was able to attend an interfaith networking breakfast.

8:30-10:30 Interfaith Forum: Sponsored by the Point of Light Institute and the Shinnyo-En Foundation:
Things to remember from this forum
-Kindness has no borders and people of different faiths can work together if they look at the connections in faith and find ways to build alliances.
-Do not focus on religious differences, instead focus on what inspires us to serve. Mercy, Kindness and Compassion are core values among religions. Interfaith service can make our world better.
-Work on the common humanity in all of us.
-Working together provides the opportunity to deepen one's faith and brings the unique spirituality of working as one for a common goal. We start listening with our heart.
-Joshua Dubois called for advancing interfaith based initiatives. Author of Acts of Faith asked: How can we create a sustainable interfaith service movement? What should our world look like and how do we build the bridge to get there?
-Let's have knowledge of the great interfaith service movements in history.MLK!
-Facilitate interfaith dialog and action
-Obama: Was an interfaith teacher. Connected to diversity being a force for peace., Fight Poverty: initiative.
-Neil Bush is a resource at the Points of Light Institute: More faith based initiatives for MLK Day, September 11: National Days of Service.

10:30-12:00 Creative Process: Using Arts Processes for Community Change: I attended a few minutes of this presentation, but it was an introduction to service-learning with connections to the arts. I left and look around and stumbled into an empowering workshop on promoting latinos into serving on non-profit boards. This workshop, led by Julian Posada, President of Cafe Media, was interesting.

Non-Hispanic Hispanic

How do we relate to people?
Minimize differences/Everybody is the same
Stress differences/Show respect

What do we stress in relationships?
Balance, Harmony,Competition, Informality
Respect, Cooperation,Formality

What do we value in people?

A person's achievements through special skills
A person's background

On whom do we rely for help?
Ourselves and institutions
Family, friends, community,"our social security"

The speaker provided the following advise:
UNDERSTAND – build knowledge of complexity of Latino demographic segments throughout your company
ATTRACT – be visible in community; foster community involvement; communicate your culture & brand; expand your word-of-mouth network; use existing online networks & tools; reach out to Latino youth
RETAIN – invest in leadership development opportunities; support affinity networks; create visible Latino company leadership

Visit to register for our weekly e-newsletter El Cafecito

2:30-4:00 Six Billion Path to Peace, the Journey to Global Engagement An inspirational panel discussed national and international service endevors with one message: You signed up for a new life, LISTEN TO PEACE. Find a path to connect to each other. Kyleigh Kuhn, 19 YEARS OLD, works to eliminate mine fields inspired by her parents work. She stated, "Our path to peace comes from the vision we have and the choices we make.

I want to remember what one of the panelist said, "The voice of peace is weaker than the trumpets of war. Young people have voices louder than the trumpets of war! There is a huge capacity at our finger tips, but it takes reflection to find out what you want to do."

At the end of the discussion,Riaz Simjee, Charter Member of from Johaneshburg, South Africa,; spoke about the power of a smile. I hope our youth leaders will meet at the San Francisco Retreat! We want to connect youth interesed in a Peace Education dialog. We hope they will decide to SKYPE after they meet in San Francisco or via e-mail.

4:30-6:00: Interfaith Dialog: Effective Service Reflection for a Diverse World Excellent techniques, but I had to leave early to get at least a little bit of the Let's Move, Let's Read Workshop. I was hoping to find resources for the for the mentoring projects at Casady. The Interfaith Dailog was facilitated by Hannah McConnaughay, and Amber Hacker of InterfaithYouty Core. The goal was to show how to incorporate interfaith dialog into the reflection piece of service-learning projects. Their approach has foundation on what religions share, the common values and what they struggle with? They asked participants how values affect who you are, but do not give facts and figures because we do not know everything. I have two website;

The facilitator started setting group guidelines of interaction. Some participants were reluctant to do this part of the workshop. (I will ask the library and or Father Blizzard to consider acquiring he Interfaith tool kit available at All information for youth committed to understanding religious pluralism can be found at
Process of the workshop:
1. Guidelines of interaction
2. Texts of the Shared value of Service: We read at loud, could pass if desired. Then we discussed: Any resonate? Did you find any challenging? Did any help you see service in a different way?
3. Role playing..Skills as a facilitator in challenging times..The art of listening and reflecting instead of providing judgement
4. Sharing non faith-based meaningful service experiences. What inspired the person to engage in such experience? How was that experience based on your faith tradition or moral values-human- perspective?
5. Read the texts again and ask participants if they think differently now that they have listened to stories about inspiration from different traditions. How did the themes of the texts played out in the stories told?
Baha'i Tradition of Service (from Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha)
One amongst His Teachings is this, that love and good faith must so dominate the human heart that men will regard the stranger as a familiar friend, the malefactor as one of their own, the alien even as a loved one, the enemy as a companion clear and close.

Buddhist Tradition of Service (From Itivuttaka 18)
If beings knew, as I know, the fruit of sharing gifts, they will not enjoy their use without sharing them, nor would the taint of stiginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last bit, their last morsel of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.

Christian Tradition of Service (Matthew 25:35)

"For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thristy and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcome me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you? And the king will answer them,"Truly I tell you, just as you did it to the one of the least of these who are the members of my family, you did it to me."

Hindu Tradition of Service (from Bhagavad Gita 3.10)
At the beginning, mankind and the obligation of selfless service were created together. "Through selffless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires": this is the promise of the Creator...

Jain Tradition of Service (from Tattvarthasutra 5.21)
Rendering help to another is the function of all human beings.

Jewish Tradition of Service (Deuteronomy 10:17)
For the LORD your G-d is G-d supreme and Lord supreme, the great, the mighty, and the awsome G-d'who shows no favor and takes no bribe, but upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and befriends the strange, providing him with food and clothing. You too must befriend the stranger,for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Muslin Tradition of Service(Surah 93:1-11)
I call to witness the early hours of morning, and the night when dark and still, your Lord has neither left you, nor despises you. What is to come is better for you than what has gone before; for your Lord will certainly give you, and you will be content. Did He not find you and orphan and take care of you? Did He not find you perplexed, and show you the way? Did He not find you poor and enrich you? So do not oppress the orphan, and do not drive the beggar away, and keep recounting the favors of your Lord.

Secular Humanism Tradition of Service (from the writing of Pablo Neruda)
To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fine that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown t ous, who ae watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses-that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being and unites all living things.

Sikh Tradition of Service (from Guru Granth Sahib)

The individual who performs selfless service without thought of reward shall attain God's salvation.

Let's Move Workshop: Great fruit salad (fruits with lime and cilantro). Jacelyn Fryer, Office of the First Lady; Carla Hall: Top Chef; Joe Briggs: NFL Players Association; Max Finger: USDA;John Kelly: CNCS, and Dough Swansn:4-H. Gave information about the White House Let's Read, Let's Move project.

6:00-11:00 p.m. Party For Good A mess to get there, 5000+people in buses! but an amazing Broadway production to pack 150,000 boxes to feed NYC hungry families for three days:each box. Incredibly well organized by Target volunteers in collaboration with other main conference sponsors. We met the goal by 10:00 a.m. The entretaiment, food, and Ben and Jerry ice cream unveiling were amazing.

Third Day: Closing and Traveling Day

7:00-8:30: Hands On Network Breakfast I arrived late and sat with two women who helped me realize the importance of looking for corporate partners for the Casady program. I met Theresa Teston, Commissioner, Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism, Silver Springs, MO, 301-529-4955, and from the Network Natalie Smith, Manager of Business training sessions. They all encourage me to contact the network for help with the intership program. I also met, Mark Farr, Senior Directot of the Faith-Based initiative at the network. I will follow-up with all of them after the 4th of July.

8:30-10:00: Tweets, Posts and Flips: Shaping the way you think about informing Amazing panel: Target, Tweeter, Facebook, Pepsi and Gap. The facilitators spoke about how social media affects service.
The cause is a conversation started
When organizations are consistent in posting and make it a top priority internally with a human dialog based on participants interest, simple, with the least # of stemps; the response is incredible..GAP

Pepsy Refresh Project: It is about sharing and listening to the engaged audience.
Target: Audience: mom's. It has more than just products to sell. It also has summer activities and gives 3 million away per week. Their social media has one voice, the voice of the company. There is NO control, but participants provide the needed monitoring when wrong information appears. They step back, listen, learn, and do not respond! Bottom Up approach! Process driven team..What do they want in return? Digital/social Media Person sits at every meeting and is part of the marketing team.

What is next? Force wear..Bull's Eye II for Target..mainstream..real time, reliable, easy, available. Target has ultimate happy hour...Employees can use social media..the millennials expected..golbal:World Cup example..sensitive to the country's culture. Life Stream: Engages global audiences..It is digital activism. The target person said she would have the public relations person for OKC contact me. If after the 14th I have not heard from here, I will search myself. I want to bring Party 4 Good to OKC.

10:30-12:00 Values-Based Reflection of Service: Incredible workshop!led by Lila Miller, Lisa Eisen,Rabbi Will Berkovitz, and Ted Marquis(Learn and Serve). It was sponsored by a Tulsa based foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Lisa Eisen told me she will contact me after the 4th.
Things to remember from this workshop:
1. High quality service programs enrich the service provider through values based reflection.
Evolution of service:
1.0 Volunteerism, community service without a reflective component
2.0 Service-Learning, classroom based, reflective cycle
3.0 Values based service reflection: Commitment based on values that solidifies identity and impacts life. Faith and spirituality responding to community needs with impacting values based-reflection process enhances citizenship, academic achievement, and sense of self-efficacy.
The Schusterman foundation helped the Rabbi take teachers to Israel to help them become better teachers. They reflected on their style of leadership and how they faced challenges and used their abilities to problem-solved what came their way. The Rabbi created the initiative called REPAIR THE WORLD. He drew from his experience as a former director of cultural, arts, and wilderness travel. I need to ask the Blumenthals' and Cox's if they know about Repair the World program?

Rabbi Berkowitz recommended to read the book THE SERVANT AS LEADER and he shared his process of values based reflection.
He shared the following texts
1. "...And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us this is the aim
Never here to be realized;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying..."
-T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

2. You are not obligated to finish the task; neither are you free to neglected.
-Pirkei Avot (Teaching of the Sages), Chapter 2,21

Then, the Rabbi asked us to be in pairs, by stating, "Make a friend and acquire a teacher. Introduce yourself to the person you will meet. Pay attention to the answers. Place your heart to understand the other and yourself. The questions were:
1. What is the task that you have been trying to contemplate in the world? Why?
2. How would the world be different if you succeeded?
3. What motivates you to keep trying when it would be easier to quit?

My partner was a young man from a YAC at a university in Texas,Austin. His was respect for human dignity, mine was peace. Our reasoning was very similar. It was an amazing reflection which empowered us to keep on trying.

A few inspirational thoughts;
Are you a tourist or a traveler on service? Do you encounter the other? Do you tell their story, or just focus on yours? Do you challenge assumptions? Do you become a witness of the others' realities? Are you able to see it from their perspective?
You are also asking me questions and I hear you. I answer that I cannot answer, you must find answers yourself.

When you listen to storytelling, be a River Guide: Listen, create space for conversations, let the texts be the other voice in the room

Now I wash the stuff from your eyes, you must habit yourself to the dazzel of the light of every moment of your life. Teach people to see what they have been blind to..See the violinist in the subway!

Set-up the space for conversations: A candle in the room..creation of a sacred space..leave your cynicism at the door. Self-reflection: Why are you here? Where have you been? Where do you want to go?

Create team building opportunities: Trust walk..a safe environment..IF PROJECT (I must research this)

Share life stories: Leather bound communal journal

Top 10 list
1. Strike the right balance
2. Plant strong roots, yield strong branches
3. Challenge assumptions
4. Explore both particular and universal values
5. Create of sense of agency
6. Offer diverse options
7. Administer daily doses
8. Capture teachable moments
9. Let peers and texts speak
10. Find a great partner

Then we heard about the reflective process of Ameri Corps, City Year which now involves about 41,000 volunteers. Their big initiative this year is "Stay in School." They also have "Alternative Spring Break Programs."

This program is based on an idealistic journey; Give a Year; Change the Outer World through service and the Inner World through reflection and leadership development. DO, KNOW, BE
The presenter then described the Americ Corp City Year process of recruitment, training and retention.

12:00-2:00 Closing: Uneventful and disorganized. They did not even know where it was going to take place until a couple of days before. This was the only part that was dissapointing of the conference. We were directed to a wrong location at first by people dress in Mardi Grass attire as a hint of where the conference were to be next year. There I met a person who might be interested in helping Walk the World 2011: Aldustus Jordan,Director of Community Relations, Partnerships and Programs for ARAMARK in Philadelphia, This is a company that works with the United Nations World Food Programme and he was interested in finding more information, especially if this becomes an intergenerational, interfaith event.

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