Archive for : Issues

Turn the Tables on MLK Day with Repair the World

“What is it America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King’s heroic legacy of advancing civil and human rights in America lives on, even nearly 50 years after his death. But in recent months, whether in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, or countless other cities and towns across the country, there have been too many reminders that the work to ensure justice and freedom for all our country’s citizens is far from complete.

That is why this year, in honor of MLK Day, Repair the World is launching Turn the Tables – an initiative that promotes the principles at the center of Dr. King’s ideology, and works towards the promise of a more just society. The road ahead is long, so we must walk it together.

There are two ways to get involved over MLK Day weekend:

Host a Shabbat Supper
On January 16, turn your table into a forum for conversations about justice. Shabbat has traditionally been a sacred weekly time for Jews to gather with those closest to them. Repair the World invites everyone to use the Shabbat before MLK day as an opportunity to break bread and reflect on racial injustice issues that are on the minds of Americans following the tragic events in Ferguson, Staten Island and elsewhere.

Take Action
MLK Day is a nationally recognized Day of Service. On January 19, join thousands of Americans across the country in making our communities stronger and standing up to the challenges of racial inequality in meaningful and tangible ways. Sign up to make the commitment to make a difference for a cause you care about.

Learn more about Repair the World’s Turn the Tables initiative and get access to tons of resources for MLK Day and beyond.

This Weekend, Do It For Detroit!

Do it for Detroit is not just a clever name – it’s an investment in the individuals and initiatives responding rigorously to the real resource needs in neighborhoods.

This micro-grant program funds grassroots initiatives in five key areas: Education, Environment, Health, Hunger and Art. The categories are deliberately broad and the application deliberately short, in hopes that we can cast a wide net rather than provide a particular prescription for what the city needs.

The first grant competition, in the area of Education, will take place this Saturday, February 9th at 7:00pm at the Woodbridge Community Youth Center at 1200 W. Canfield (right between the Lodge and Trumbull). The event is free and promises to make for an inspiring evening, as everyone in attendance will have a chance to vote for which of the three finalists should receive the $3000, $1000 and $500 awards.

I could wax poetic about all 37 micro-grant applications we received — about how each brings a socially entrepreneurial approach to building bright futures for young people, with potential even greater than the obstacles they are trying to solve for — but there is certainly no substitute for hearing them tell their stories Saturday. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at what they’ve got cooking:

  • MotorCity Urban Summer Enrichment (MUSE). Detroit has the lowest high school graduation rate of any major city in the United States, and consequently, a small percentage of its young people go on to graduate from a four-year college or university. This monumental issue was the premise behind the founding of MotorCity Urban Summer Enrichment, an academic summer enrichment program, in the summer of 2009.
    • MUSE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, was founded in Detroit, Michigan, by undergraduates at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and Denison University. One of the three co-founders was a former Detroit Public School student and knew first-hand of the great need to provide Detroit youth with academic enrichment and access to educational opportunities in order to both mitigate summer learning losses and strengthen the students’ social networks.
  • Detroit Food Academy Training. Michigan’s youth unemployment rate is the highest in the nation. This devastates the professional development of the 70,000 high school-aged youth in Detroit and separates youth from community engagement.
    • Detroit Food Academy Training is a collaboration between local high school students, food-based business, and neighborhood markets to promote food justice and build the local food economy in Detroit. The training offers a 20-week, 120-hour certificate program powered by three threads: Kitchen, Conversation, and Community. Students graduate with a polished food product, a certificate in food entrepreneurship, a network of potential employers, and acceptance into the program’s summer Entrepreneurship Camp.
  • $cholarship Detroit. Detroit schools lack the resources to steward their students successfully through the college-application and financial-aid process, jeopardizing the opportunity for capable, motivated students to access quality, affordable higher education. $cholarship Detroit aims to provide students with the educational and financial tools to succeed at the university level in four aspects:
    • Creating and presenting academically competitive students.
    • Guiding students through the scholarship application process in a meaningful and aggressive manner.
    • Provide students with the knowledge to navigate the financial-aid process to ensure that they are receiving the proper public support that they are entitled to.
    • Continue to support and motivate participants to be active in their community post high school graduation through service initiatives with Scholarship Detroit and other community organizations.

We look forward to seeing some of you on Saturday. Have any questions? Feel free to reach out to Ben Falik, Repair the World’s Manager of Detroit Service Initiatives, at [email protected].

Funding for the Di4D comes from the 2012 Pitch Ford DEtroit softball tournament.

More info: http://www.doitfordetroit.com/

The DI4D micro-grant competitions are managed by two Jewish community organizations:
CommunityNEXT: http://www.communitynxt.com/
Repair The World: http://www.werepair.org/

DI4D micro-grants are available to individuals, groups and organizations for programs in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck that engage the general community in a meaningful way through volunteer service. Forthcoming events will be dedicated to hunger, the arts, health/nutrition and the environment.

Change the Chances: Become a Mentor

imentor

It’s time for you and me to have an intervention.

You? Oh, no, it’s not for you! I’m pretty sure you’re doing ok.

Sure, you’re spending 50% of your salary on rent, but let’s put it in perspective. Chances are you went to a good, or pretty good school, and that you had at least one of the following: an SAT tutor, a life-changing teacher, a coach that really cared. Those people, they were mentors. And I need you to become one, too.

Mentoring is a proven intervention that will help give every kid the chances that you had. Students with mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to begin drug use[1] and half as likely to skip school.[2] They are more accountable, and have higher self-esteem. [3] They send in college applications, and improve their grades. They’re more likely to make it to college and through college. But they need someone who has their back.

Can you become that person? Take advantage of National Mentoring Month by learning more about how your involvement in a child’s life can change their chances. Repair the World has made it easy!

We’ve partnered with iMentor , an incredible organization that builds mentoring relationships that empower students in low-income communities in New York City to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. Students work with their mentors one-on-one, in-person and online to develop strong personal relationships, nurture a college aspiration, navigate the college application process, and build critical skills that lead to college success. iMentor supports both student and mentor with a college success curriculum, and support from their rock star staff. Best of all, they have the track record that proves you’ll be making an impact:  74% of seniors in their College Transition Program enrolled in college in 2011.

You can make a positive difference in the life of a high school student by volunteering with iMentor. Sign up to attend a February info session or sign up to become an iMentor today .

Not in NYC? We’ve got you covered. Email [email protected] to get connected to a local partner in your area.

 


[1] 1 Tierney, J.P., Grossman, J.B., and Resch, N.L. Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters . Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures (1995)

[2] McLearn, K.T., Colasanto, D., Schoen, C., & Shapiro, M.Y. (1998). Mentoring matters: A national study of adults mentoring young people. In J.B. Grossman (Ed.), Contemporary issues in mentoring (pp. 66-83). Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures.

[3] McLearn, K.T., Colasanto, D., Schoen, C., & Shapiro, M.Y.

Sandy Relief Interview: Rami Matan Even-Esh, AKA: Kosha Dillz

beverlydillzVolunteer: Kosha Dillz

Who he is:  Israeli-American Jewish hip hop artist

Rami Matan Even-Esh, better known by his stage name Kosha Dillz, is an Israeli-American rapper who is no stranger to the East Coast. Although he spent time in both Israel and the U.S. while growing up, Kosha was born in Perth Amboy and has close ties to the Jersey community.

We’re very excited to have had the opportunity to speak with Kosha, and learn more about his experiences during and after Hurricane Sandy hit his hometown.

Why did you decide to volunteer after Sandy?

I was at my family’s home in Manasquan, NJ getting ready to head back to LA when the storm arrived on the East Coast. My town was hit pretty hard and we ended up without power for eleven days. It was a crazy experience because on the one hand it was weird to think that it should take a natural disaster to bring a community together, but on the other hand it was incredible to see the way everyone was so eager to help.

It felt very natural for me to volunteer in Jersey after the Hurricane hit. I felt a very personal connection to the destruction, not only because the storm literally hit close to home, but because I saw first hand the way many of my friends and neighbors were affected, and I knew I of course wanted to help in any way I could.

What did you do in the days following the storm?

I became very involved in the cleanup efforts. I found many different activities to participate in; one day I’d be working in demolition and gutting a ruined house, and the next I’d be making sandwiches and coffee for people in my neighborhood. I also started bringing my dog with me to volunteer. People loved petting him and taking pictures with him, it was nice to be able to bring a little cheer to a neighborhood that was going through something really rough. Cheer is important at a time like this.

Kosha Dillz Sandy Storify

Check out Kosha Dillz’ Sandy Storify here.

How did you respond to your fans that reached out to help?

I’m fortunate to have a great fan base that follows me on social media. It was amazing to be able to tweet, Facebook, or Instagram something about a particular area needing help, and then being able to see that tweet or post spread throughout my fan-base, to their friends, to friends of friends, to people not just in our neighborhood but from all over, all getting involved and offering time, services, or money to help.

Has your volunteer work had an impact on your life or music?

Going through Sandy and getting involved in the recovery efforts has definitely influenced both my life and music. I feel that this experience has really caused a lot of self-reflection. You start to think about what is most important to you, and in my case I know that giving has always been a priority.

Back when the earthquake hit Haiti for example, we did a tour to raise money for relief efforts, and that was one of my favorite experiences. I also recently did a show in Brooklyn; we passed around a bucket for Sandy donations, and people gave what they could, every little bit helps.

Anytime I can use my music to give back definitely represents some of the most fulfilling times in my life; I feel the best when I have the chance to make a meaningful impact, and this most recent experience with the storm has re-sparked that desire within me.

What do you most want to share about your experience?

My immediate takeaway was that getting involved in both donating money and time were equally meaningful. It’s great to be able to get involved in the physical work (making sandwiches, cleaning out houses) and I loved doing it, but I think it’s also important to note that giving monetary donations, or getting involved in other ways in the future is important as well. People will continue to need many things after the initial response has died down, so I think it’s important to follow Facebook and Twitter feeds of smaller groups, like the Occupy movement, for ways to stay updated and involved.

I’d also really like to emphasize that the point of volunteering is not to be recognized or thanked, but to help in a meaningful way. That is what I tried to do and what I hope to encourage others to continue to do.

___

A huge thanks to Kosha Dillz for taking the time to speak with us about his experiences.

Be sure to check out his songs, and consider donating to his Kickstarter to support the upcoming documentary “Kosha Dillz is Everywhere.” 

 

Make a Difference Without Leaving Your Living Room!

MLK SuppersBeyond posting an inspirational quote on facebook, when was the last time you did something meaningful on MLK Day?

We know you’re busy. And we know that your three-day weekend is sacred (and that you probably deserve the break!). But did you know that for over 15 years, MLK Day has been celebrated as a day of service by millions of Americans? Here at Repair, our team has partnered with NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, and with one of the organizations who pioneered the MLK Day of Service, the Points of Light Institute, to offer you a way to join the movement from the comfort of your own home!

MLK SHABBAT SUPPERS. JANUARY 18th. YOUR PLACE.

Repair is challenging you to become part of the living legacy of Dr. King by turning your kitchen table into a table of brotherhood the weekend of January 18th. Through our Shabbat Suppers initiative, you will be sent the tools to transform Friday night with friends into an opportunity for social action.

It’s ok if you’ve never held a Shabbat dinner. We know that not everyone “does” Shabbat. But you’ve gotta eat! Use this event, and this toolkit, as a foundation for a meaningful meal – whatever that means to you.

Shabbat Suppers will take many forms. They might be talks over take-out Chinese or screening parties with your friends from college. Some folks will have sit-down brisket dinners with friends of different faiths, and others will have potluck style meals in tiny apartments. At all of these events, food might get your guests in the door, but it’s the discussion will bring you together.

A SUPER COOL KIT…

On this year’s plate (we couldn’t help ourselves…) is of the defining civil rights issues of our time: education inequality. Once you sign-up as a host, Repair will send you a real, live toolkit via snail mail. These toolkits will contain a discussion guide, Repair swag for your guests, and a T-shirt as a thank you (just for you)!

Our discussion guide bears absolutely no resemblance to your AP Government textbook. Instead, it offers simple questions, real facts, and easy to enforce ground rules so that you can host a dynamic (and respectful) conversation around education and the legacy of Dr. King.

We want to arm you with the facts, and the tools to act on them. In honor of the MLK Day of Service, you will also receive information on how you can make a difference in the lives of public school children all over the country!

JOIN US!

Excited? Sign-up HERE to become a host, and we’ll send you a toolkit for free!

And there’s more exciting news for Birthright Israel alumni! Through our friends at NEXT, you can receive funding for your Shabbat Supper through the NEXT Shabbat program. Register your meal, and you will be able to click a box to receive our free toolkit.

As always, we want to hear you from you! Tell us about your Shabbat Supper plans, or send us a question, by emailing [email protected]

Acting on Empathy

Beyond a few days without power, I experienced Sandy’s inconveniences only minimally, leading me to feel a mixture of gratitude and guilt. My guilt came mostly from empathy, and with flooding all over the city, it wasn’t difficult to imagine myself wearing someone else’s soggy shoes. Empathy aside, my mixed emotions made my desire to act feel almost self-serving, like a mea culpa for a life lived in Zone C. My separation from the affected areas, and simultaneous compulsion to go to them, forced me to realize just how isolated I was from the bulk of the city I call home. I felt privileged, and guiltier.

Because of my lack of knowledge about the areas most devastated by the storm, I felt that it would be arrogant to organize a disaster relief effort without seeing what was happening on the ground. I signed up to volunteer in one of the few places I could get to without a car: Red Hook, Brooklyn. After arriving at a staging location and being sent off to unload a badly flooded warehouse, my inability to lift my own bodyweight made the task impossible. After picking up tiny scraps of trash while twenty-foot stacks of ruined food and paper remained untouched, I left and joined my colleague nearby at The Farm, an incredible community garden that had been totaled by the storm. I sat side by side with locals who still had no power, and with volunteers came in from all over the city, compelled to do something beyond obsessively watching the news.

We rinsed out ruined trays of seedlings and broke open hundreds of cloves of garlic to replant anew. Hearing the incredible stories of displacement and determination of the volunteers made me feel more connected to my fellow New Yorkers than I had been in a long time. Like many of the other staffers who post here, I was just glad to be of use. It gave me hope to see such a robust effort towards new beginnings, both for the community and for its fauna. But I was also sad that it had taken a hurricane to make me realize my obligation to our great metropolis.

What makes New York so great isn’t the sum of our parts. Nor is it the parts; we are still made up of strong families and buildings and blocks like everywhere else. What makes our city so great is a deep, unshakable desire to associate with a common set of values. These include resilience (proven by generations of immigrants), valor in ways big and small, and a determination to accept (and even celebrate!) our differences. I am grateful to my community for rebuilding, and for choosing to do it together – one clove at a time.

Spreading Good this Holiday Season

Giving is to Winter like sour cream & applesauce are to latkes: we hope you spread ‘em generously! Whether it’s serving meals to the hungry, supporting Sandy recovery efforts or igniting a child’s passion for reading, the festival of lights offers many ways to give. How can YOU spread good this holiday season?

In Repair the World’s hometown, thousands of people still need heat and light in their homes following hurricane Sandy. We hope you’ll help spread some good, and share some light in these darker times by giving a gift that no one – and no hurricane – should take away: education.

What can YOU give to promote literacy across the country?

TIME: The Repair the World team is hosting a HoliDay of Service on 12/9 in New York City to create educational gifts for the students of PS 253 in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn! Packed with school supplies, a new book, and a battery-operated reading lamp, these literacy kits that will be donated to the students  whose school was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Older students will use these kits over winter break to read aloud to younger students, which means each book will have a double impact! Sign up to join us (space is limited so chime in quickly!). Can’t make it to the event? Organize one of your own with this tipsheet. You can also donate books through our registry here.
BOOKS: Reach Out and Read is an incredible national organization that reaches almost 4 million (!) students each year. By “prescribing” books to their patients, pediatricians and medical professionals become education allies. You can join them by participating in our online book drive, which lets you virtually pick books to donate to local communities. Your efforts will help children build early literacy skills, making them more ready (and excited!) to read when they enter school.
GELT (MOOLAH): With low-income, public schools facing a dearth of resources, the innovators at Donors Choose have created a way to create micro-change out of pocket change. Donors Choose gives public school teachers a platform to fundraise for the specific needs of their students. Donors Choose has thousands of pages posted by teachers in all 50 states. Requests range from laptops and microscopes to basic markers and crayons, and each dollar donated goes directly to fund teacher’s projects. Search by zip code to help a teacher in your neighborhood, or donate to classrooms that have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
e-NSPIRATION: Share this post with your friends so they can get in-depth updates about how to hit the ground volunteering. If 8 (as in nights in Chanukah!) people list you as a reference when they sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get an awesome Repair the World tee – now available through our online store!

And don’t forget to check out our 8 nights of Sandy Service for tips on how your small differences can add a whole lot of light.

November, Movember

Ah, November – a time for family feasts, autumn leaves, giving thanks…and growing mustaches.

Started in 2003, Movember (a mash-up of “Moustache” and “November”) is changing the face of men’s health – pun intended! Each November, over one million men around the world begin the month clean-shaven, and spend the next 30 days cultivating their mustaches, all with the goal of getting their supporters to pledge money for men’s health.  By committing to growing a mo’ for the 30 days of Movember, these men become walking billboards, raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and other prevalent men’s health issues.  Last year was a staggering success, with participants raising over $42,000,000!

The movement’s greatest success is the awareness and education it spreads. By diffusing awareness through a quirky, fun facial adornment, Movember is able to break down stigmas and social barriers that often surround men’s health issues. The discussions sparked by these furry accessories prevent illness and encourage healthy living – and ultimately, save lives.

Movember occurs every year, around the world, and it’s not just your friends and colleagues getting involved. Many high-profile celebrities and athletes have supported the Movember Foundation, including Joe Jonas, Justin Bieber and Foster the People’s Mark Foster, creating great press fodder and increasing knowledge about a creative and worthwhile initiative.

Do you know someone growing out their stache for a good cause this Fall? Tweet us a pic and we’ll send you a Repair the World tee! @repairtheworld