Volunteer Effort – Sister Friends Together http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ Wed, 22 Sep 2021 10:23:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default1.png Volunteer Effort – Sister Friends Together http://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ 32 32 Coastal cleanups bring volunteers to Cape Cod beaches https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/coastal-cleanups-bring-volunteers-to-cape-cod-beaches/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/coastal-cleanups-bring-volunteers-to-cape-cod-beaches/#respond Wed, 22 Sep 2021 09:00:06 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/coastal-cleanups-bring-volunteers-to-cape-cod-beaches/ HYANNIS – Coastal cleanups recently began on Saturday, September 18, 2021 with the goal of cleaning up and protecting beaches on the Massachusetts coast, including Cape Cod and the Islands. Running throughout September and early November 2021, Coastsweep is coordinated by the Coastal Zone Management Office of the Energy and Environment Executive Office. The event […]]]>

HYANNIS – Coastal cleanups recently began on Saturday, September 18, 2021 with the goal of cleaning up and protecting beaches on the Massachusetts coast, including Cape Cod and the Islands.

Running throughout September and early November 2021, Coastsweep is coordinated by the Coastal Zone Management Office of the Energy and Environment Executive Office.

The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup hosted by Ocean Conservancy, attracting hundreds of thousands of volunteers to coastal cleanings from around the world since 1987.

Since its inception, volunteers have removed hundreds of tons of marine litter and debris from beaches, lakes, rivers and the seabed in Massachusetts.

“Coastsweep is a great opportunity for people to show their appreciation for the Commonwealth Coast by going out and doing their part to protect these natural resources after a great summer season,” said EEA Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.

“The Baker-Polito administration would like to thank all the volunteers who over the years have literally removed tons of trash, which has helped keep our coastal areas clean so that we can all benefit,” he said. she declared.

Along with the cleanup efforts, volunteers also record information about the litter and debris they find, which is sent to the Ocean Conservancy’s International Marine Debris Database, where the data is used to help reduce marine debris around the world.

Cleanups have already taken place along beaches such as Corporation Beach in Dennis and Sandy Neck Beach Park in West Barnstable. Upcoming events include beach cleanups at Wellfleet’s Duck Harbor and The Gut on October 11 at 9:00 a.m.

“Since 1987, CZM has been proud to organize Coastsweep, supporting the efforts of our dedicated local cleanup coordinators to encourage people to volunteer at these sites year after year,” said Lisa Engler, Director of CZM.

“Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers for helping clean up our coasts while collecting important data on how to reduce the problem of marine debris. “

To join or arrange a cleanup, click here or email coastsweep@mass.gov.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, CapeCod.com NewsCenter


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Athol Daily News – Fire chief is looking for volunteers for emergency response team https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/athol-daily-news-fire-chief-is-looking-for-volunteers-for-emergency-response-team/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/athol-daily-news-fire-chief-is-looking-for-volunteers-for-emergency-response-team/#respond Tue, 21 Sep 2021 17:36:36 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/athol-daily-news-fire-chief-is-looking-for-volunteers-for-emergency-response-team/ ATHOL – The Athol Fire Department is looking for motivated residents to assist in the aftermath of any variety of emergencies that the service and other first responders may need to respond to. The coordinator of the recruiting effort is Firefighter / EMT Andrew Bond. “The CERT team is a community emergency response team,” said […]]]>

ATHOL – The Athol Fire Department is looking for motivated residents to assist in the aftermath of any variety of emergencies that the service and other first responders may need to respond to. The coordinator of the recruiting effort is Firefighter / EMT Andrew Bond.

“The CERT team is a community emergency response team,” said Bond. “They were created after September 11, basically with the idea of ​​recruiting people in the community who have no training or emergency experience to train to help the community in the event of a large-scale disaster, from emergency, pandemic like we did. now, in general, to supplement the fire department and other agencies.

“For example, other CERT teams have helped with the immunization clinics, they have staffed the clinics and volunteers to help with the clinics. They went to the community and helped people get to dates and things like that.

Bond said weather events also sometimes require the help of community members.

“In winter, they can set up heated shelters, as well as cooling centers in summer. “

He said volunteer citizens should not put their safety at risk, but could still help find damaged structures.

“If we were to pass a tornado, for example,” he said, “we could deploy them to areas to help search houses, depending on the situation. Every team is different. “

Bond said anyone over 18 is free to volunteer. There are no physical requirements.

“We will provide training,” he said, “and organize courses and give you whatever you need.

“The training consists of around 20 hours of lessons in which we cover a bunch of different topics. We cover topics ranging from terrorism response, basic first aid, fire response and basic search and rescue. It covers a wide variety of topics.

When asked if CPR certification would be provided, Bond said, “You wouldn’t be CPR certified. However, we have the option of bringing in instructors later for those who wish to be certified. Basically you will get a first aid exam and then as we continue we will bring in some instructors but CPR is not part of the curriculum. We will add it to other trainings.

The training will take place either at the Uptown fire station or at a location to be determined later, according to Bond.

“This will be based on the number of people who register to participate.”

Bond said attendance is not limited to residents of Athol.

“Anyone in the area – Royalston, Orange, Gardner – anyone in the area is free to register,” he said.

Bond added that training is an ongoing process.

“We will have monthly meetings,” he said. “We will have at least one meeting per month on different topics and training. It is on a purely voluntary basis. We don’t expect you to commit to giving us a year or two years or anything. But we expect you to be there for our monthly meetings.

“But it’s purely voluntary. If we get a call and need you, we’ll send you an SMS or other notification. If you can show up, you show up, and if you can’t, you don’t.

The means of notification, Bond said, will be established by Chief Joseph Guarnera.

“He is in charge of the entire program. So it will be based on what he would like to do and how it will work.

It won’t be Athol’s first team, according to Bond.

“Athol had a team,” he explained. “We had a team at the start of the two thousand. It was suspended, I believe, around 2010. But the chief thinks it’s important enough to restart it.

Anyone interested in helping the fire department – and, by extension, the community – as a member of the CERT team should show up for a recruiting meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 2 at the Uptown Fire Hall.


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Engaging Women on the Front Lines of Reconstruction Efforts in Iraq https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/engaging-women-on-the-front-lines-of-reconstruction-efforts-in-iraq/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/engaging-women-on-the-front-lines-of-reconstruction-efforts-in-iraq/#respond Tue, 21 Sep 2021 05:44:46 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/engaging-women-on-the-front-lines-of-reconstruction-efforts-in-iraq/ During years of conflict, ISIS destroyed the Aldolouiya Bridge in the Salah Ad-Din region in 2014, disconnecting 80,000 Iraqis and separating communities. Rebuilt in 2017 with funds from the World Bank Emergency Development Operation Project (PDEO), which runs across the country, it is the only road connecting the district of Aldolouiya to the town of […]]]>

During years of conflict, ISIS destroyed the Aldolouiya Bridge in the Salah Ad-Din region in 2014, disconnecting 80,000 Iraqis and separating communities. Rebuilt in 2017 with funds from the World Bank Emergency Development Operation Project (PDEO), which runs across the country, it is the only road connecting the district of Aldolouiya to the town of Balad.

The role of citizens has played an important role in the reconstruction effort, which has improved the transparency of public institutions, making them more accountable and efficient. Work with the Reconstruction Fund for Areas Affected by Terrorist Operations (ReFAATO), the Bank set up workshops in Aldolouiya specially designed to involve women and other stakeholders, such as young people, in rebuilding links within and between communities.

These community feedback sessions have become an informal, bottom-up example of civic engagement strengthen accountability in service delivery, tackle potential problems early and reduce the likelihood of emerging risks. Two-way interaction between citizens and government or the private sector was meant to be a critical tool to ensure an inclusive recovery. However, the context of the conflict in Iraq made it difficult to implement a real process of citizen engagement, despite a strategy from the start. While Iraq is to some extent more peaceful now, engaging citizens when there were security concerns has proven difficult. Long waits at checkpoints made access to beneficiary communities a daunting task, while there was a danger of attacks in the mountainous areas at the start of reconstruction.

Despite this, local women like Warda Salah still benefited from informal community meetings in Aldolouiya. Initially, the town’s men were reluctant to have their wives in decision-making meetings, but trust built after hours of dialogue and women quickly began to attend. After a month of these community meetings in Aldolouiya, the women had established their own bazaar, happy to know that they then had a voice in the community.

Warda says the inclusion of women in decision making in her community has connected their group with others in neighboring communities. She now teaches women in her own town and others in weaving, ornament design and tailoring, thereby re-establishing a pre-conflict cottage industry.

“The purpose of training these students is to help them support their families and give them experience, improving themselves and filling their time with useful things for their benefit,” said the chef. from the community.

Previously stuck in disconnected communities without leadership, women like Salah have engaged in decision-making and consultation meetings, empowering themselves economically. While these women were originally unable to attend the feedback sessions, in just a few months they had been trained and empowered to set up another bazaar in the capital Baghdad, 200 kilometers away. of the.

“Now that we are educated, we are trying to take our idea from side to side,” said Amina Husam, another local crafts teacher. All International Women’s Day, they have set up a special bazaar and say they are grateful for this enriching experience.

In another example, a group of young Iraqi women participated in a community greening campaign in March for the district of Saadia and Jalawla in the eastern province of Diyala. The project aimed to strengthen the spirit and revive the culture of volunteerism and participation in community affairs among young Iraqi women and men.

“I encourage women to leave their mark in society and participate in volunteer programs, even with something simple like we did today,” says Aya Ibrahim, a volunteer who has helped with reforestation. from the Saadia area.

A volunteer named Shefaa Salem said the role of women can be “greater in society,” adding that she would tell her children about the “imprint” she had made.

However, in Iraq, skepticism about the usefulness of community events impacted the Bank’s ability to effectively implement the project and foster community capacity building. Due to this skepticism and the fragile nature of the project environment, the campaign was not structured along formal lines of citizen engagement. For example, the team had planned to set up a citizen hotline that would allow people to complain, make suggestions or ask questions, but this quickly proved ineffective when invoices were not paid.

On reflection, these evolving processes were informal and the dialogue formed from the bottom up. However, engaging citizens like Warda, Aya and Amina has proven to be effective in encouraging them to enter the market, a positive step in the fight to end poverty in this conflict-affected area.

Efforts to support the Iraqi government have focused on the very tangible results of this informal civic engagement and have built a deep relationship with the beneficiaries.


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Westporters should reach out to Afghan refugees https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/westporters-should-reach-out-to-afghan-refugees/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/westporters-should-reach-out-to-afghan-refugees/#respond Mon, 20 Sep 2021 18:19:04 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/westporters-should-reach-out-to-afghan-refugees/ Westport is not the real world. Across most of the planet, people don’t live in homes with cathedral ceilings, swimming pools, and four-car garages filled with Range Rovers. Unlike billions of human beings, we fall asleep with secure roofs over our heads, multiple fridges overflowing with food, and all the water we need. This is […]]]>

Westport is not the real world.

Across most of the planet, people don’t live in homes with cathedral ceilings, swimming pools, and four-car garages filled with Range Rovers. Unlike billions of human beings, we fall asleep with secure roofs over our heads, multiple fridges overflowing with food, and all the water we need.

This is not the case a few miles from Bridgeport. Some of us are uncomfortable that such a needy city, with so many underserved residents, is nearby. Others are doing all they can to help. They write checks, volunteer at the Mercy Learning Center, and create opportunities like the wonderful Adam J. Lewis Academy.

The world of the “real world” may seem more distant. It’s easy to click away from a story about war, chaos, and refugees in a faraway land we can’t find on a map and will never visit. It’s a lot easier to read about the latest celebrity snap, home decor trend, or the Netflix show.

But Westport also has a history of engagement beyond our borders. We brought Bosnian refugees here. We have helped Syrian families to relocate to the region. Our help has been financial, material and emotional. All are important.

The latest crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan. We can indefinitely discuss the reasons for our involvement, the rationale for staying 20 years and how we left. But these are the privileges of a free society. They will not solve the problem of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who literally fear for their lives. And who also literally have nowhere to go.

John McGeehan has experience with refugees. Six years ago, the Syrian crisis motivated the longtime Westporter to help lead a coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques to resettle a family in Norwalk.


Integrated services for refugees and immigrants – a statewide network – provided much of the organizational muscle. They work with local communities to find accommodation with nearby public transport. IRIS offers language training, cultural assistance, help with women’s issues, school assimilation and more.

The cost of the first year of about $ 20,000 per family comes mainly from local citizens. They donate checks, clothes and small appliances. They give rides, tips and shoulders to lean on.

This number for a family is intimidating. But Connecticut is preparing to welcome more than 700 refugees next year, including 300 until November. How will we do it? With care and attention, one family at a time.

Housing costs and the lack of public transportation make Westport a less than ideal relocation option. But as IRIS prepares to welcome an Afghan family to East Norwalk, the Westporters are mobilizing.

McGeehan reached out to the Westport Rotary Club, whose work to improve lives around the world spans decades, and individuals like Robin Tauck, member of the global travel company and human rights advocate. A coalition of religious institutions – United Methodist Church, Temple Israel, Greens Farms and Saugatuck Congregational, and the Religious Society of Friends, as well as 15 Muslim families in Westport – have organized a collection of needed items.

On the weekends of September 25-26, October 2-3, 9-10, and 15-16, Greens Farms Congregational Church will accept deposits of Winter Coats (boxed and labeled), raincoats and boots for adults, teens and children; school supplies and backpacks; new toiletries; cleaning and household products, and small household appliances. Furniture and other clothing is not necessary.

This voluntary effort is vital. It will change the life of an Afghan family. Hopefully, Westporters’ involvement in this resettlement effort will trickle outward and impact others. Fortunately, this is not the only initiative that local residents are involved in.

Westport lawyer Sam Leaf helps a Connecticut man save his family from the Taliban. He was granted asylum here, after being kidnapped and tortured because of his ties to American companies. But his relatives are in great danger.

Leaf and Stamford’s attorney, Jennifer Williams, files “humanitarian” parole applications with the Customs and Immigration Service on behalf of many family members. They work pro bono, but each deposit fee is $ 575. Once the family is there much more help will be needed. A GoFundMe page has been launched. Click on GoFundMe.com and enter “Samuel Leaf” in the search box.

Sam Goodgame, a 2007 Staples High School Class (and West Point Military Academy) graduate, also helps. He served in Afghanistan and his fiancée is an Afghan-American. He works to bring the family of a friend from West Point – an Afghan immigrant who became the first female Howitzer platoon leader in history – to the United States. To contribute, click https://givebutter.com/iFgcD3.

Three local efforts will not solve the Afghan humanitarian crisis. But for the three families hoping for a new life in America – or, more fundamentally, a chance to live – our city is the most important place in the world.

Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears every Friday. He can be contacted at dwoog@optonline.net. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.


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Heal the Bay volunteers collect over 5,000 pounds of trash https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/heal-the-bay-volunteers-collect-over-5000-pounds-of-trash/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/heal-the-bay-volunteers-collect-over-5000-pounds-of-trash/#respond Sun, 19 Sep 2021 18:45:00 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/heal-the-bay-volunteers-collect-over-5000-pounds-of-trash/ SANTA MONICA, Calif .– Heal the Bay hosted its 32nd annual shoreline cleanup event on Saturday with 2,735 volunteers who clean up 35 sites in Southern California. Student Daniela Quiroz is one of the volunteers who showed up to clean up the trash at Santa Monica Beach. What would you like to know Heal the […]]]>

SANTA MONICA, Calif .– Heal the Bay hosted its 32nd annual shoreline cleanup event on Saturday with 2,735 volunteers who clean up 35 sites in Southern California.

Student Daniela Quiroz is one of the volunteers who showed up to clean up the trash at Santa Monica Beach.


What would you like to know

  • Heal the Bay hosted its 32nd annual shoreline cleanup event on Saturday
  • More than 2,500 volunteers cleaned up 35 sites in Southern California, including beaches, rivers and inland sites
  • Volunteers covered over 50 miles of area, collecting over 5,000 pounds of trash and 156 pounds of recyclables
  • This is the first time in two years that volunteers have turned up in person for the clean-up event

“So what we’re going to do is go around and pick up as much trash as possible and put it in the bucket as we go,” Quiroz said.

Quiroz has combed the beach for everything from cigarette butts to microplastics. She is a student at California State University, Northridge, and is no stranger to this type of volunteer work. She picked up trash while cleaning the streets and said trash was one of her big pet peeves.

“It can be as small as” Oh, I’m just going to throw out that gum wrap. It’s nothing, “but it all adds up,” Quiroz said.

Over the past two decades, Heal the Bay volunteers have removed more than four million garbage from Los Angeles County beaches. This year, organizers say volunteers have collected more than 5,000 pounds of trash on earth. However, there are still eight million tonnes of plastic dumped into the oceans each year. Heal the Bay CEO Shelley Luce said the plastic thrown away has a direct impact on wildlife and climate change.

“Plastic is made from petroleum and when we drill from petroleum we use fossil fuels and then we fuel this economy which also produces plastic,” Luce said. “We also produce greenhouse gases when we make plastic and then we have that product that you use once or not at all and then ends up in the environment.”

Coastal Cleanup Day takes place once a year, but Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy, a partner organization for the annual event, said consumers can do things to help keep beaches and oceans clean. all year.

“No.1 thing, think about what you buy, think about your own imprint,” she said. “But # 2, pressure your politicians and the companies you work with to be more responsible when it comes to making things only with recyclable materials. “

State Senator Ben Allen, who was present at the event to help with the cleanup, is working to bring about a change.

“I’m part of a larger legislative effort right now to try to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics, by trying to move us towards more sustainable packaging,” Allen said. not actually recycled in the real world, even though people dutifully put it in their blue bins, so this is another effort we’re working on right now, to change the use of the recycling symbol for products that aren’t. not really recyclable. “

For Quiroz, after hauling three pounds of trash in a few hours, she plans to continue her cleanup efforts as she said she wants to be able to enjoy the beauty of the ocean for many years to come.

“This is the land we are going to grow up on for the next several decades, so why not?” said Quiroz. “Do it as much as possible so that you can preserve it.”


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Join the Tumacácori Weed Whackers for National Public Lands Day | Destinations https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/join-the-tumacacori-weed-whackers-for-national-public-lands-day-destinations/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/join-the-tumacacori-weed-whackers-for-national-public-lands-day-destinations/#respond Sun, 19 Sep 2021 17:30:00 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/join-the-tumacacori-weed-whackers-for-national-public-lands-day-destinations/ Those looking to leave town but also want to lend a hand in supporting public lands are invited to join the Tumacácori Weed Whackers on Saturday, September 25 to clear the invasive weeds from Tumacácori National Historical Park. On National Public Lands Day (NPLD), more than 150,000 volunteers across the country will participate in activities […]]]>

Those looking to leave town but also want to lend a hand in supporting public lands are invited to join the Tumacácori Weed Whackers on Saturday, September 25 to clear the invasive weeds from Tumacácori National Historical Park. On National Public Lands Day (NPLD), more than 150,000 volunteers across the country will participate in activities to restore and care for public lands. Organized annually by the National Foundation for Environmental Education (NEEF), NPLD is the nation’s largest one-day volunteer effort for public lands. There will be two opportunities to volunteer at Tumacácori this year.

From 8:30 am to 11:30 am, early risers and their families can join the “Goathead Attack Squad” to clear the invasive piercing vine (aka “goathead”) around the church. This family morning will be devoted to uprooting plants and removing seeds from the mission grounds. This project will not be strenuous but will require bending and kneeling.






Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail in autumn light




From 1 pm to 3 pm there will be a “Weed Walk” along the Anza Trail. This part of the day will consist of hiking a section of trail through the Tumacácori PNH and along the Santa Cruz River. While admiring the landscape of the area, volunteers will teach the park’s biological science staff how to identify and eliminate invasive plants in the field. This activity will be moderately strenuous and involve a hike of up to 4 miles, as well as a fair amount of bending and kneeling.

All NPLD participants are encouraged to wear long pants, closed-toe shoes and sun protection. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Work gloves will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own. Masks must be worn inside all federal buildings, including the visitor center, museum, and church. NPLD projects will take place outdoors with plenty of space to practice social distancing. Volunteers will earn hours of service and a coupon valid for free entry to any national park or federal charge area. Entrance to all sites in the national park will be free on this day.

For more information or to register for the event, contact Tony Palmer at 520.377.5096, or joseph_palmer@nps.gov.

Tumacácori National Historical Park is located 45 miles south of Tucson and 15 miles north of Nogales. Take exit 29 from I-19 and follow the signs.

For more information on Tumacácori National Historic Park, call 520.377.5060 or visit the park’s website. To learn more about the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, visit www.nps.gov/juba.


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Volunteers clean 10,000 needles at Everett homeless camp – KIRO 7 news Seattle https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/volunteers-clean-10000-needles-at-everett-homeless-camp-kiro-7-news-seattle/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/volunteers-clean-10000-needles-at-everett-homeless-camp-kiro-7-news-seattle/#respond Sun, 19 Sep 2021 01:06:00 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/volunteers-clean-10000-needles-at-everett-homeless-camp-kiro-7-news-seattle/ SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – More than 10,000 needles will be removed from a vacant 15-acre homeless settlement in Everett, kicking off a three to four week cleanup effort led by volunteers. Lush foliage adorns the side of the road from Meridian Ave S to Everett, but beyond the trees you’ll find a maze of man-made […]]]>

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – More than 10,000 needles will be removed from a vacant 15-acre homeless settlement in Everett, kicking off a three to four week cleanup effort led by volunteers.

Lush foliage adorns the side of the road from Meridian Ave S to Everett, but beyond the trees you’ll find a maze of man-made trails leading to now vacant homeless settlements.

For years, it is estimated that between 30 and 50 campers have called the 15-acre space, which stretches from Puget Park to 130th Street, their home.

Now the campers are gone, but the remains of the camps remain. The area is filled with garbage and needles.

Sharp objects dot the ground and even hang from trees.

“Pay attention, do you need a hand? Jim Phelps asked, as he led a KIRO-7 team through the various camps.

Phelps is the vice president of the Hand Up Project, a Snohomish County nonprofit homeless advocacy group and a resource facilitator.

On Sunday, his team of 50 volunteers made their way through the area, one trail and one camp at a time, using trash pickers to sift trash on the ground and carefully pick up and dispose of needles.

In just over an hour, the group collected hundreds of needles. But, at the end of the day, they expect that number to exceed 10,000.

“They are human beings, and they are so far away from help and feel desperate, that it is heartbreaking to see how people really live, they are so out of touch with society, that all doors are closed, and nothing can help, that’s what it really looks like and it feels right here, ”said Phelps.

The Needle Cleaning, known as the 10,000 Needle Initiative, marks the start of a cleaning project of at least three weeks. The association’s efforts began two weeks earlier when they first came to the camps to raise awareness.

“We usually come two weeks before the project with a group of volunteers, they are really advocates who want to stand with the people and provide resources, to provide the people in the camps with the resources they need. it’s drug rehab, treatment, housing… We really try to provide a space in the wards where we stand with people and don’t just hand them a business card, ”explained Phelps.

“Our goal is for the community to truly consider these people to be human beings and for the problem not to be solved from the top,” continued Phelps. “In order for people to feel seen and recognized as human beings, you must walk side by side with them and walk by their side on this path of recovery.”

While anyone can volunteer, for many the cause is personal, having faced their own struggles with drug addiction, crime and homelessness.

“I was actually on the wrong side of it, I was selling drugs,” Jeffery Barquet said.

Barquet said he changed his life after a stint in prison in the early 2000s. Since his release, he has dedicated his time to The Hand Up Project, helping with various cleanup efforts.

“I tore families apart and helped create this and I want to give back and clean up,” Barquet said. “I feel like it’s me who am recovering well with God, I am recovering well with everyone I have harmed in life.”

After a day of needle mitigation, the group will move on to a general cleanup, removing trash, structures and other debris.

The cleaning will take about three weeks.

The Hand Up project is currently in need of volunteers. Click here to find out more.


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Thoughts from an ACS volunteer https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/thoughts-from-an-acs-volunteer/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/thoughts-from-an-acs-volunteer/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 09:20:02 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/thoughts-from-an-acs-volunteer/ Sep 18, 2021 Thoughts from an ACS volunteer USEA / KTB Creative photo. Perhaps one of the best reasons for being a member of the USEA is the opportunity to qualify and compete in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year, there was a record 1,178 registrations and a waiting […]]]>

Sep 18, 2021

Thoughts from an ACS volunteer

USEA / KTB Creative photo.

Perhaps one of the best reasons for being a member of the USEA is the opportunity to qualify and compete in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year, there was a record 1,178 registrations and a waiting list of over 150. There were 1,009 bibs distributed and 939 horses entered the competition. All combined, this made for the biggest equestrian trials in the history of the USEA. Competitions were held in all divisions of the USEA and additional prizes were awarded to teams, incentive programs, amateurs and young riders.

There were six days of competition, four of which saw all three phases for different divisions take place at the same time. It took considerable creative planning to manage multiple outings across all three disciplines over multiple days. Each day ended with an evening offering of a feast and social gathering.

Every competitor of all skill levels had the opportunity to ride a cross country course designed by 2020 Olympic designer Derek di Grazia and all modified, training, novice and beginner courses went through Head of the Lake. Each competitor was able to complete a show jumping course designed by Robert Murphy in the Rolex Arena.

This extraordinary USEA Championship was organized in collaboration with Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) and Mary Fike. EEI started by Edith Conyers, developed by Janie Atkinson, and currently competently led by Vanessa Coleman has provided the sport of international eventing from the start. Mary Fike and her awesome team have produced several events (including the 3-day long-format Hagyard Team Challenge) at Kentucky Horse Park every year for over 40 years.

It took 20 public servants, more than three dozen paid staff, and 252 volunteers who filled 653 shifts for the magic to work for a week. And these are only the people who have had formal changes. Several hundred overtime hours were given by people filling up, shopping, seeing a potential hiccup and resolving it. Everyone came together to make the AEC a spectacular competition for all who came.

USEA / KTB Creative photo.

The competition required the use of five competitive dressage warm-up arenas and an appropriate warm-up, two loin arenas, 196 cross-country fences and the appropriate fixed and adjustable warm-up fences, and the use of of the iconic Rolex Arena for show jumping as well as a warm-up ring. All the jumps were freshly painted, dyed and beautifully decorated and presented. The efforts concerning the preparation and maintenance of the soles, office tasks, signaling, announcing, medical and veterinary coverage, scoring, repair, stable, radio communications, reception services, the wrestling and feeding of the volunteers, the parking for the horse trailers for 1,000 horsepower, the traffic control and a myriad of daily tasks was simply mind-boggling. There has been a fair and strong sponsorship at all levels.

My role this year was that of a volunteer. This allowed for many opportunities to see how the competition was a fabulous experience for so many people and to add a skill set to help make it happen…. and to relay some of the unusual things I saw, of course!

The Kentucky Horse Park was beautifully leafy, even though it was in the process of tearing down the stables and arenas for a straight month of Hunter / Jumper shows that ended on Sunday. The AEC horses moved in on Monday as loads of stall semi-trailers and temporary horses left. The staff did everything humanely to turn around and welcome our competitors. The Horse Park has established a series of equestrian trails to separate them from motor traffic, including people to stop traffic to ensure horses have priority. These trails allow horses and their teammates to access all of the park’s competition areas. On the rare occasion that a horse / rider lost its way (or its mind) and entered the asphalt road, someone would get out of a car or golf cart, stop traffic and steer the horse towards a path.

USEA / KTB Creative photo.

More than a crisp morning, you heard cries of “horse running free”. As you looked around, you saw a couple more break away from their masters, and then a collective effort ensued to capture these creatures on the loose.

The competition was interrupted by torrential rains as Hurricane Ida passed between Louisiana and New York on Tuesday and steady rain set in on Sunday. The days in between were glorious and sunny, although at times windy thanks to the Kentucky fall weather. The cross-country foot was perfect, the century-old turf was well prepared and as good as the cross-country foot.

There were so many wonderful horses. Many were young and we will see them progress to the higher levels. Every once in a while a horse, whatever the phase, would stop you dead. You delayed your work a bit and just enjoyed the performance in front of you. The vast majority were well trained and well ridden horses competing with excellence at their level. I have heard a lot of good coaching, as well as lessons in humility thanks to your horse (familiar to all team members). There was a lot of awesome riding at every level and a number of wonderful horses perfectly suited for their job. The winning races in most divisions had a total score in the 1920s and there was a junior novice beginner pair who finished with a final score of 18.5. Many people traveled great distances to participate. I haven’t spoken to a competitor or support crew who didn’t think it was worth it. As with any championship, each horse has a “story” to make it happen. It was nice to hear them and see how well worth the effort.

I saw many people hacking and taking videos of Horse Park, amazed at what they saw. I chatted with a girl and asked her what impressed her the most. “It was the green and the trees,” she said, then added quizzically, “but I keep looking for the mountains.” Realizing she was from Mountain West, I explained to her that she was in the Appalachians and while Lexington was probably around 1,000 feet above sea level, the largest mountains were around 3,000 feet. She wasn’t very impressed that you called something 1000 feet “in the mountains”. I suggested she qualify and do her best to get to the AEC next year at Rebecca Farm. There won’t be bluegrass, but there are definitely mountains.

On the fourth day there was the coach / mum of two primary age children who at the end of what was obviously a long day said “Come on kids”. What tired, still child said “where are we going?” Without ever looking back, Mum said, “You won’t know until you come” as she walked away. The two children followed fairly quickly.

USEA / KTB Creative photo.

My fellow volunteers have been wonderful. They were punctual, cheerful, knowledgeable, and ready to deliver the best eventing experience possible. I have recognized many of them as longtime competitors, officials, coaches and volunteers of the EEI and Mary Fike competitions. Their understanding of the sport and their dedication to making the AEC the best high quality competition possible was impressive. Every once in a while you would hear the kind of scrambled radio transmission you do on the hot afternoon of the 4th day of dressage where the 272nd novice horse has been sent to the start box. They were always followed by an apology, a chuckle, and “it’s been a long time …” Those of you who organize / work on two or three day events have a life-size picture of how after three full days of competition, you’ve spent enough. But at AEC at this point, you’re only half done.

We have all felt brain dead at some point in the week, but we were recharged by co-workers coaxing us back to the task at hand. Or by telling some of the best ‘once in X competition’ stories I’ve ever heard. Considering the volunteers’ experience, the stories were remarkable enough to help you focus. One of my favorites involved a volunteer at a competition who complained that “the drinking water was dry”. We’ve all struggled with what that could mean, and a week later, I have no idea. I asked him what his answer was? “Try soft drinks, they may be less so.”

A lot of people I’ve talked to have said, “I think I’ll go home and try to qualify my horse for next year and go to the AEC. I can’t think of a better compliment for the USEA and the AEC organizers than the horse people on the field at the championships thinking they want to compete next year.

We the volunteers have been thanked by someone in almost every other group of people passing by. It didn’t matter if I’m doing an obvious job, digging with a shovel, or leaning against the fence, many people have expressed their appreciation for the volunteers every day. At least half of the runners individually said thank you and if they didn’t, someone from their associated group did.

AEC 2021 – a raging success … check!


Pat Maykuth is a rider, trainer, certified official, former organizer, member of organizing committees, former principal investigator of the USEA Study on Equine Exercise Physiology Leading up to the Atlanta Olympics and a volunteer where he takes a village.


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Ruth Mullen: political activist and much more | The Riverdale press https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ruth-mullen-political-activist-and-much-more-the-riverdale-press/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ruth-mullen-political-activist-and-much-more-the-riverdale-press/#respond Sat, 18 Sep 2021 04:05:00 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/ruth-mullen-political-activist-and-much-more-the-riverdale-press/ By ETHAN STARK-MILLER Ruth Mullen was known in many circles throughout her life. But in this corner of the Bronx, she’s probably best known for her strong political activism. This was perhaps most visible when Alessandra Biaggi ousted Jeffrey Klein from the State Senate three years ago. Ruth has worked tirelessly on this campaign, says […]]]>

By ETHAN STARK-MILLER

Ruth Mullen was known in many circles throughout her life. But in this corner of the Bronx, she’s probably best known for her strong political activism.

This was perhaps most visible when Alessandra Biaggi ousted Jeffrey Klein from the State Senate three years ago. Ruth has worked tirelessly on this campaign, says her husband Jim Bradley, coordinating many of these efforts with Riverdale Huddle – a local group of politically active women.

But Ruth’s life was tragically cut short last week as she simply tried to cross the street outside her Johnson Avenue home. Police said a Metropolitan Transportation Authority express bus was turning what many consider a dangerous corner with Kappock Street around 8:30 p.m. on September 7 and struck Ruth in the crosswalk. Ruth was 68.

The incident was all the more devastating as Ruth advocated traffic lights at this problematic intersection for many years. Instead, elected officials like Jeffrey Dinowitz got a third stop sign for the intersection – a neighbor says buses and cars usually run anyway.

When news of Ruth’s death broke early Wednesday morning, one of the first people to call Jim was the state senator.

“Alessandra told me she wouldn’t have been elected without Ruth,” Bradley said. “When Alessandra was trying to decide whether or not to run, she ran into the Huddle. And I remember Ruth coming back that day and said, ‘That’s her. She’s doing it. And she has. just threw all of her support behind her.

Ruth has always been politically active, Jim said. But it was Donald Trump’s surprise election against Hillary Clinton in 2016 that prompted her to take her to a new level.

“She cried every day,” Jim said. “And then she just got busy. And she said, ‘We’re going to find it out, and we’re going to fix it. We have to start locally and we’ll just continue.

This election was a “life changing moment for many of us,” added Jim. “But especially for her. I lay down and helped whatever I could. But she leaned in very hard.

The Trump White House also inspired Ruth to join the Riverdale Huddle just a month after the former president was inaugurated – and just weeks after the group itself was formed. The Huddle has become one of Ruth’s most beloved communities, Jim said, to the point that she never missed any of their weekly meetings at An Beal Bocht Café.

Another Huddle member, Elizabeth Cooke-Levy, said Ruth’s impact on the group was significant, often shifting them from just discussing an issue to real political action.

“There are other people who will talk about injustice, Ruth was not a big talker,” Cooke-Levy said. “When she spoke, she would let us know relevant information about a topic and suggest or even urge us to join her in her volunteer efforts.”

Ruth, for example, was outraged by partisan gerrymandering when it came to drawing district boundaries for elected officials, and insisted that the topic remain high on the group’s agenda. She wouldn’t stop there, Cooke-Levy said. Ruth was hosting postcard-writing sessions in her apartment, using these handwritten messages from other Huddle members as a way to influence politics not only in New York City, but in other states that suffered gerrymandering.

“She would keep it all cheerful, positive and welcoming,” Cooke-Levy said. “And at the same time, motivate all of these people to be there. It would take me from a pretty distant worry about something to showing up and being part of a volunteer effort about it.

Ruth also spent many years as a polling agent, said fellow Huddle member Ellen Chapnick. Although not political, he demonstrated Ruth’s passion for securing and protecting people’s right to vote.

“And (she) really wanted people to have a voting system protected by people who were monitoring integrity,” Chapnick said. “She spoke knowingly about the ballots and how they were good or bad. And on the petition.

But it wasn’t fair as people sometimes do with their heads. She cared deeply about the underlying things in it all.

Ruth was a particularly powerful advocate for her neighbors at Winston Churchill. She even ran to represent her 2500 Johnson Ave., relying on the county committee, Chapnick said – a position she ultimately didn’t win.

“She had some common sense,” Chapnick said. “If she thought something needed to be done – even if it angered some of the powers that be and made them mad at her – she was doing what she thought was right.” She wasn’t going to be intimidated by people just because they were powerful politicians in the community. He was not interested in flattering people.

“Liked by many people”

But Ruth’s impact goes far beyond her political activism, Jim said.

She was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, a small town of 42,000 people located about 10 miles south of Denver. She graduated from Colorado College in the early 1970s, and soon after moved to eastern New York City, where she received her MA in History from Columbia University.

After that, Ruth got really interested in two areas, Jim said – publishing and film. And she has spent a considerable amount of time succeeding in both.

“She worked in every part of publishing imaginable,” Jim said. “Including working at the Strand Bookstore. She worked as a writer. She worked as an editor. She worked as a proofreader. She has worked for many large publishing houses, (like) McGraw Hill.

Ruth then turned to film, getting her first job on the set of Sergio Leone’s 1984 crime epic “Once Upon a Time in America”. She rose through the ranks, said Jim, working and eventually running the production offices of many prominent directors.

His work included Susan Seidelman’s 1985 comedy drama “Desperately Seeking Susan” and a segment directed by Francis Ford Coppola in the 1989 anthology film “New York Stories” titled “Life Without Zoë.”

After the movie, Ruth returned to editing, said Jim, working as a freelance writer, editor and even ghostwriter. She joined the Editorial Freelancers Association board of directors in 2016, defending the labor rights of other entrepreneurs. She was elected co-executive of the association at the beginning of the year.

Ruth met Jim while working on the set of Joe Stone’s 1990 independent film “City Cup”, which was shot in North Carolina with Patrick Dempsey and Alan Arkin.

“That’s how we met and fell in love,” recalls Jim.

“She was my best friend for 32 years. She was my life and my lover. And she was the person I went to when I needed tough questions answered. And I don’t have it now – and it’s very difficult.

They moved to Winston Churchill in 1994, expanding their family by adopting daughters Lia and Maya.

Whatever part of Ruth’s life you look at, Jim said, her presence is felt everywhere – not just in the Spuyten Duyvil house they shared, but in the community itself.

“She made a difference,” he said. “She was a force to be reckoned with. She has had a very interesting and varied life. And she was loved by many people.


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It takes a Onekama village https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/it-takes-a-onekama-village/ https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/it-takes-a-onekama-village/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 14:43:33 +0000 https://www.sisterfriends-together.org/it-takes-a-onekama-village/ ONEKAMA – Patrick and Valerie Harmon may have recently been transplanted to Onekama village, but when the couple needed help, the community was quick to lend a helping hand. Former Chicago residents, the Harmons moved to Manistee County after Patrick was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, […]]]>

ONEKAMA – Patrick and Valerie Harmon may have recently been transplanted to Onekama village, but when the couple needed help, the community was quick to lend a helping hand.

Former Chicago residents, the Harmons moved to Manistee County after Patrick was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in January.

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, according to the ALS Association website, als.org.


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