January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.
Its no surprise that we love service programs here at Repair the World. We also love organizations that work to create healthier kids and communities. So we’re pretty much over the moon for FoodCorps, an organization that’s part of the AmeriCorps service network, and that “connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy.” Yeah. Pretty awesome. Read more
President Barack Obama is no stranger to service – in fact, it’s how he started his career. As a community organizer, Obama worked with families on Chicago’s south side to fight neighborhood blight and bolster housing rights. His experiences as an organizer inspired him to become a lawyer, fighting inequality at an institutional level by working to expand the electorate. The same issues that he saw in Chicago led him to run for office, thus beginning his road to the presidency, which he will assume again this Sunday at the inauguration.
With the inaugural festivities in full swing this weekend, we wanted to highlight the President’s commitment to national and community service. Repair the World is proud to be a part of the bi-partisan coalition the President has built around making service a central part of American life. Below is just a sampling of how President Obama has made service a focus of his first term:
United We Serve: The President and First Lady launched United We Serve in 2009 as a “nationwide initiative to create a sustained, collaborative, and focused effort to meet community needs and make service a way of life for all Americans.” Get involved and find ways to connect with this national project.
Joining Forces: President Obama has made service a family affair. First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden launched this White House initiative to provide assistance to militaryspouses and to educate the public on issues impacting veterans and military families. Join them by finding a project near you.
9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance: In 2009, President Obama signed into law an act that federal authorized September 11th as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance. Thousands of Americans give back on September 11th each year to honor the memories of those lost by giving back to their communities.
We’re excited to see what the White House cooks up during President Obama’s second term (perhaps more of Let’s Move?). Check out their official service page for more information. Know of another President-sponsored or supported service/volunteering opportunity? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @repairtheworld.
“What is a movement? A movement is a group of people and organizations working toward a common purpose. Movements need leaders, organizations and activities,” Jon Rosenberg, Repair the World’s CEO, posited to a crowd of prominent nonprofit and community leaders from across the country and key White House staff last week.
That’s right — on Wednesday, July 11, Repair the World’s CEO Jon Rosenberg visited the White House for a special forum focused on faith-based service and social innovation, where he talked about our work building a movement that inspires American Jews to make service a defining element of American Jewish life, learning and leadership.
The forum offered a fantastic opportunity to share Repair the World’s vision and approach to data-driven service innovation – highlighting our research, our unique partnerships, and the means by which we foster service work on the ground. In a quick TED-like presentation, Jon talked about our outstanding roster of Jewish service-learning, campus and other partnerships we’re so thrilled to have. He also hinted at something we’re really, really excited about: our upcoming education and literacy initiative, which will mobilize Jewish Americans to serve as tutors, mentors, college access coaches, and other educational volunteers in low-income communities. (Stay tuned for more on this!)
We also blushed a bit when Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which works to improve the overall effectiveness of national and community service programs, led a town hall-style meeting and opened with a shout out to Repair the World. She recounted an inspiring conversation that took place over a year ago, initiated by Jon and former Repair the World fellow, Perry Teicher (who just happened to be in the audience while spending the summer working at the Washington D.C. office of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, building faith-based program opportunities) and held up Repair the World as an exemplar and even called for a round of applause.
In other words, it was a great day for Repair the World – filled with dialogue and potential partnerships with distinguished faith-based service organizations and their leadership.
We were lucky enough to capture Jon and Wendy’s remarks on video. We personally enjoy this great snippet where Jon shares four important takeaways from Repair the World’s work:
Be data driven. Our work is grounded in research: about adults, about program effectiveness, and about the needs and practices of organizations.
Don’t go it alone. Identify partners, shared interests and work in that shared space towards collective impact and success.
Behave transparently, and with integrity, individually and across your organization. And strive, as hard as it is, to transcend competition.
Find amazing people and give them what they need to transform their organizations, their communities or their peers.
Check out Jon’s remarks (please disregard the time clock hand!), and Wendy’s kind words about Repair the World below. We’re excited about having everyone join our movement. Are you in?
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Leaders of two Jewish social action groups addressed a White House forum on faith-based social innovations.
Shawn Landres, the founder of Jewish Jumpstart, and Jon Rosenberg, the CEO of Repair the World, were among 13 leaders of faith-based groups and three government officials who participated Wednesday in a Faith-Based Social Innovators Forum convened by the White House.
Landres described a generational shift from Jewish social action advocacy addressing Jewish needs to cultivating Jewish activism in the wider community.
“The primary engine for innovation no longer is found in centralized communal institutions working to meet collective Jewish needs,” he said in his address. “Today, that energy has shifted outward to independent grass-roots initiatives, many of which seek to express Jewish values through service, education, and social and civic advocacy.”
Back in 2009 a group of students at UCLA got together to help alleviate hunger in their community. Their solution – Swipes for the Homeless, an organization that enables college students to donate their unused meal plan points (or “swipes”) at the dining hall to purchase meals for homeless shelters.
In less than three years, Swipes has raised thousands of dollars, donated tens of thousands of pounds of food, and expanded to several other campuses. And this March, their work was rewarded with a nod from the White House’s “Campus Champions of Change Challenge” and a visit to the White House! Swipes’ President (and Repair the World Street Team intern) Rachel Sumekh shared more about the group’s exciting day in DC. Mazel tov Swipes!
What is Swipes’ mission?
Our mission is to alleviate hunger in Los Angeles and beyond while educating the on-campus community about the massive homelessness and hunger problem in our cities and country.
How did Swipes end up getting honored by the White House?
We saw the White House’s “Campus Champions of Change Challenge” advertised and one of our founders applied. Out of over 4,000 applicants the White House selected us for the top 15, and we garnered enough votes from supporters to make it into 4th place.
What was one highlight of your day at the White House?
One of the biggest highlights was President Obama’s surprise appearance. When he walked in it was hard to believe – I actually felt like I was watching TV. He didn’t have a speech prepared just a few notes and one of his quotes that stuck out to me [which he paraphrased from another source] was, “If you’re not an idealist when you’re young then you’ve got some problems.” The entire speech and event can be found on the White House’s website. [editor’s note: if you watch the video, keep an eye on the student watching President Obama on the bottom left – he’s so psyched!]
Find out more about Swipes’ work through the video below and learn how you can get involved via their website: