Storm Corps participants - please consider applying for this!
Each year, the Do Something (http://dosomething.org/) Brick Award honors six outstanding leaders age 18 and under and three outstanding leaders age 19 to 25 who use their talents to take action that measurably strengthens their local communities in the areas of community build-ing, health, or the environment. The award is meant to highlight the achievements of individual social entrepreneurs who have made a difference in their communities.
Each of the "18 and under" winners is awarded a $5,000 higher education scholarship and a $5,000 community grant to be directed by the award winner to the not-for-profit organization of his or her choice. Winners in the "19 to 25" category each receive a $10,000 community grant.
Members of the Brick Selection Committee evaluate applicants on the following criteria: communication skills; ability to motivate and mobilize community members; originality of approach to strengthening the community; knowledge and understanding of how the local community works; leadership, development of key collaborations and relationships, and demonstration of long-term commitment to the community; social entrepreneurial skills; ability to create programs and initiatives, and/or to build upon existing programs; ability to tangibly improve the lives of others; ability to measurably strengthen the quality and health of community institutions through community work; and ability to have a sustainable impact on the community at large and to catalyze long-term improvement in the community.
This is an award for social entrepreneurs, not activists or fundraisers. Brick winners are builders and creators who start programs/organizations and/or modernize older programs/organizations. Although founding a program or organization is not a requirement for the award, it does demonstrate that the applicant is a social entrepreneur and will be scored accordingly. By the same token, if an applicant has brought new and fresh leadership to a stale organization, that also shows social entrepreneurism.
Visit the Do Something Web site for complete program information and application procedures. http://dosomething.org/ Deadline: October 25, 2006
SO! I basically had not only the best spring break ever, which is saying a lot, but the best week of my life with the United Way and MTV's STORM CORPS! A little under 100 extremely diverse people gathered in Biloxi, MS a few Saturdays ago, not knowing what to expect, to unite with one common goal of rebuilding the MS and AL gulf coasts. And that we did! I had never met so many genuinely amazing young people, all of which ranged from 18-25 years of age, in such a short span of time. I don't even think that words can do justice to how extraordinary my experience was... But maybe some pictures will...
SO there are a few of my pics.. I don't know if you can tell or not... But we were definitely having a blast! If you ever have time, donate it to those that actually need it! Rebuild not only someone's house, but their life! I hope this encourages you "to get off the nail" and get up and do something!! Make a Difference! Be a Student That Does!! - Jessica, Storm Corps participant
I'll admit, I've put off writing this for a week. I needed time.
Nothing's changed, so I guess its time to reflect. But how, Steve, HOW?
How can I be poignant without overdoing it? How can I explain what it's like to ditch the last spring break you'll ever have, exchanging beaches and hotels for debris and tents, thongs and tans for cockroaches and insulation-itch? How can I explain to any person looking at a screen how it feels to be called a hero?
We didn't even have to wear tights.
In all honesty, if seven days changes your life, how the heck can you EVER explain that? And concisely? To random strangers?
Perhaps we can show them pictures of canoes in second story windows, and fathers riding mattresses like rafts while screaming for their lost children. Perhaps we can show them a concrete bridge which looks like the victim of King Kong hopscotch, just so they can see the power of the world, and the destruction it leaves behind. Perhaps we can show them cities, desolate and abandoned.
Perhaps we can show them videos of people crying for their lost homes, and again six months later, but because their new roof has just been completed and they can already feel the relaxation of falling asleep in a real bed.
There's so much hope, and so much love.
Perhaps we can show people what its like to find a home for a lost animal, to fix a daycare center, to give a child a playroom and a hard working mother a place to take a shower at the end of her day. Perhaps we can show the smiles of hurt people realizing they are not forgotten.
Perhaps we can show how pleasing it is to smash through a wall with a sledgehammer?
Perhaps we can show the unexplainable; the benevolence of an investment banker who's given up his ten-thousand-a-month cushion for a tent somewhere in Mississippi, the gracious southerners who, even though they lack a stove, will NOT let you work on an empty stomach, and we can show the eagerness of volunteers to get dirt under their nails and really DO something for strangers thousands of miles away. How can you convey a feeling of pride stronger than you may ever feel again?
Thing is, I don't think I can. So I'm going back in two months to get some more.
Storm Corps stories - along with stories of other alternative spring break experiences - will be told through MTV News' "The Amazing Break". The program will air and re-air on the following dates/times:
Sat 3/25 at 4 PM EST (premiere) Sun 3/26 at 4:30 AM EST Sun 3/26 at 9 AM EST Sun 3/26 at 6 PM EST Tue 3/28 at 6:30 PM EST Thurs 3/30 at 10:30 AM EST Thurs 3/30 at 8 PM EST
The American Psychological Association Practice Directorate in Washington D.C. has kindly sent us 2 tip sheets for hurricane volunteers and parents of hurricane volunteers. Please share these tip sheets with your friends that might be traveling to the Gulf Coast in the coming weeks and months. Also, we know that many Storm Corps participants will be traveling back to the Gulf Coast to volunteer this summer, so please bring these tips sheets with you.
Storm Corps participants - please post up your Top 10 Storm Corp moments from the trip by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
10-Getting accepted 9-Arriving on the Hands On camp to convince my eyes that I was chosen. 8-Tasting american coffe for breackfast and missing my puertorican one. 7-Being transfered to team SLEADGEHAMMMMA! 6-Working to help not to get paid. 5-Having all the Strom Corps people help me deal with Puerto Rico lossing the World Baseball Clasic to Venezuela and Cuba. 4-Learning a couple of new words, games and american traditions. 3-Finding in my interior peace and respect for the word "need". 2-Having the TSA agent at the airport ask me why my T-shirt was written on. 1-Being part of something that may happen to me and my people and knowing that I will not be alone. -Alex from Puerto Rico
Now that the Storm Corps participants are all back in our local communities, now is a good time to share with you a great resource to find volunteer opportunities in your own community through United Way. Type in your zip code at this link below for volunteer opps near you: http://national.unitedway.org/volunteer/
Life changing. That's all I can say about the trip. I could try to tell all of the stories and experiences I had, but it's almost something you had to be there for. What I wanted to write to you all about is the aftermath of this experience we shared this week. As far as I know, many of you want to go back already, and many of you want to serve your own communities.
To tell you the truth, I've been on 2 trips like this before. Everyone gets an emotional high when they're at the camp for a week, working with fun people, hanging out with kids their age. It's easy to get caught up in it. We're all ready to go out and do something to change the world.
Fact is...most of the time, that high wears off after a few weeks.
This is a personal challenge to all of you. Don't let this emotion wear off just because you're back to your normal lives. There's so many way you can get involved in your own community. You don't even have to start your own group. There are tons of organizations that have already been established. Not all the service projects are going to be the same as what we did. They could include serving food to homeless people, raising money for a charity, collecting cans of food or clothes, ringing a bell in front of a store during the holidays, going to your local United Way and asking how you can help, stuffing envelopes for mass mailings for non-profit organizations, and donating blood.
Anything you can do will help.
So basically...don't just talk...actually do something.
In closing, I'd like to quote a song from a band called "Thrice". It goes like this: Rhetoric can't raise the dead I'm sick of always talking when there's no change Rhetoric can't raise the dead I'm sick of empty words Let's LEAD, not follow
It'd be sweet to try to get a network together of all of us, so we can keep each other updated on what we're doing, and also to help each other with ideas for what we could do. There's a group on Myspace.com called "Storm Corps 2006". Go join it, and post some topics and stuff.
Peace out, Cameron, Storm Corps participant
p.s. Please click on the "Comments" link immediately below to read reflections on the trip from Storm Corps participants.