Category Archives: Humanitarian

    • 0
    puerto rico

    US Puerto Rico: Still Desperately Needing Aid

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 

    Puerto Rico is not even a third world country, but now they look like they are. It is estimated that nearly 1/2 of Puerto Rico’s housing (about a million homes) were built illegally (shantytowns). Add on top of that, the destruction Hurricane Maria inflicted on the tiny island, and you have a humanitarian housing crisis, animal, food, and water crisis. There is nothing left but rubble in many areas.

    It’s been months!

    Hurricane Storm Maria made landfall on September 20, as a nearly Category 5 hurricane that lasted approximately 30 hours. A combination of elements caused Maria to transform from a disaster to a “catastrophic event”, meaning it wiped out nearly most of the infrastructure on the small US territory island.

    According to news sources, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with the equivalent of a 50-mile wide tornado; Puerto Rico took a direct hit. FEMA and government response didn’t reach those in distant locations immediately after the hurricane. Some didn’t see any type of aid upward for a month or more. When aid did finally arrive, most of that aid came from community organizers and not government aid.  People were hiking in to deliver groceries and even some medicines.

    Over 300,000 evacuees transcended into Florida after the hurricane. The aid for these evacuees living in hotels will begin to run out.  On the island, there is also now a growing Mental Health Crisis, and the increase in suicides is escalating. People are desperate for help.


    With the largest US blackout ever recorded, many Puerto Ricans still don’t have electricity today. Only 75% electricity has been restored. Another 1/3 of the population is still without power. No electricity means no power to pump water into homes, no water to bathe or flush toilets. Freshwater is scarce.

    Freshwater is scarce

    While disaster recovery aid packages are in the works, the US Puerto Rican territory was already bankrupt before the storm. It’s not just infrastructure that will need to be restored, it’s the billions of dollars they were already indebted.

    With a poverty rate of over 44%, devastated Puerto Ricans are badly in need of proper food, clean water, and housing. FEMA money is also scheduled to run out in Mid-March for the tiny US Territory.  There are community organizers on the ground taking computers to remote locations to try to get as many people signed up with aid as quickly as possible – but it’s a daunting task. Many cell towers were knocked out in the storm, so communication is at a very low capacity still. Reaching the people, and the people being able to reach out is difficult.

    Probably half of American’s do not even know that Puerto Rico has 3.4 million US citizens living there. Citizens who are entitled to the same government response as any state, like New York, Washington, or California, etc. But half of Americans don’t even know that.

    Housing & FEMA

    The island is dependent on U.S. relief from FEMA, the SBA, and HUD.

    In the impoverished area of Puerto Rico, many people have no title to their homes, and most were constructed without permits. These squatter community homes range from one room shacks to family homes (Informal homes).  However, one of the rules of FEMA eligibility is that the owners need to prove property ownership.

    FEMA states that it will now help those owners of “informal homes” if they can prove some sort of residency. The cap for disaster aid is $33,000 to individuals, but awards are often much lower than that.

    Another compounding problem is that applicants are giving up on FEMA aid. The application process first has to go through the SBA loan process. No one can afford a loan, so applicants just give up. Even though they aren’t required to follow through on the SBA process – they can’t qualify for FEMA aid unless they do. It is only after the SBA denies the applicant that FEMA will provide a grant. There are organizers on the ground to try to help educate people about this. But it is a slow process.

    There is a need to “Build back better,” say’s Puerto Rico, Governor Ricardo Rossello.

    “Build back better”

    A little knowledge goes a long way. I found this description from Odyssey:

    “Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth of the United States since 1898 during the Hispanic-American War. The result of the war was that the United States ended up with Puerto Rico, Philippines, and Guam. This means that Puerto Ricans ARE American citizens. It also makes Puerto Rico a territory of the United States”.


    While a Puerto Rican can fight for the United States Government – If they live on the island they cannot vote in US Presidental and Congressional elections! They can only vote in the primary elections. If they live on the mainland US, then they can vote in all the US elections.

    Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

    Ways to Help

    Spontaneous volunteers are needed to help build housing and schools. One group called All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response has been bringing in teams of volunteers to work on building secure homes and community structures. Their motto is “Come Early and Stay Late”.

    Other organizations coming to the call of Puerto Rico (just to name a few)

    AAMAAQDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABEpAAAAJGRlZTA5Mjk5LTY2YzctNDVkYi05YTlkLTc1MDc0YTFkZmJhMg US Puerto Rico: Still Desperately Needing Aid


    • 0

    Dear Volunteer!

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 
    Dear Volunteer!

    Coming up in October is the Other Half Marathon here in Moab Utah.  Not as large as the ½ Marathon held in the spring, but still a busy fun adventure for the like-minded.

    Thelma and Louise 2015

    I love those emails that come out and say “Hey Volunteer – you want to help out this year”?  That’s enough said, it’s short, sweet and to the point.   If you are like me and the 100’s of other local volunteers – you can’t say the magic word “NO”.   Here is what is really behind that one line question:

    “Hey Volunteer – you want to help out this year”?

    Dear Volunteer!

    Up at 5:00 am and loaded with nothing but a steamy mug of coffee, an over-sized sweatshirt to keep the morning chill away –please drive yourself the required 13 miles down the curvy river road to your location.  Soon other volunteers will be showing up to help you load the 1000’s of bags from the runners onto the waiting trucks that will haul them back to town to the next volunteer crew.

    Volunteers wipe the sleep from your eyes and get busy helping to park buses
    and utility vehicles or help at the start of the race.  Many of you volunteers will be busy the day before setting up the start and finish lines;  handing out packets;  running unending errands – only to turn around and be back out into the elementsAAEAAQAAAAAAAAXIAAAAJDkzYjYzOWU0LWM2N2YtNGNjNi04ZjQyLTkwZDE2ZWQwMmU1MA-300x123 Dear Volunteer!
    the next morning.  Come rain or shine the day is before us!

    Volunteers will line the 13-mile course as marshal’s, trackers, water station aids,  and even a Taiko drummer group will be available to help encourage the runners to continue the pace.  The view along the route is spectacular, and there is personal satisfaction in knowing that there is a river bank location with your name on it after you’re done.  Now, get yourself a breakfast burrito and coffee at the Volunteer booth – let’s get going!

    Crossing that finish line is golden!

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAASaAAAAJDk1MDEyZmEzLTM1NDAtNDI2ZS1iODZmLWU3YzExODRmNGViYg-300x227 Dear Volunteer! The finish line is filled with more volunteers happily greeting runners and quickly assessing run times.  Runners are herded to aid stations which will help the tired but exuberant finishers.  Need a massage? The volunteers got you covered.  How about food to replenish those muscles and nurture hammered bones?  Volunteers again.

    The brew crew has a bubbly beer in the beer garden to help wash down the sweat and tears and ease those victory woes.  Don’t Judge! AAEAAQAAAAAAAAXQAAAAJGY1ODFjMTJjLWI3MDMtNDhkYS05MWQxLWU2YjJjNTljZTc0Ng-300x225 Dear Volunteer!

    Don’t forget all those folks who are walking the river roadway cleaning up debris and those who help to tear down after the race.  Those on emergency call, and the organizers on the radios, to those carrying flags – they know the value of what they do.  It’s all for the  REWARD.  The real reward is self-satisfaction in knowing you’ve done something to contribute to a  community event!  An event that brings prominence to our little piece of property on this small planet called earth.  Or better yet, that speck of red dirt called Moab Utah!

    Volunteers from every walk of life show up to help.  You have teachers, doctors, lawyers, honor society members, brewery folk, youth garden kids, and construction workers, democrats and republicans,  and more.  Why?  Because they can. Because they care.  It isn’t one person, but many. Each deserving and caring enough to “show up”.  Have fun!


     Just show up!  Say YES!

    Best part… the volunteer party!

    • 0

    What Ever Happened to the term “A Gentlemen’s Agreement?”

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOoAAAAJDA2MWE3NmE4LTFiNmUtNDk5MS05OWNkLTNkMzEyMzJlZTdhYg What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"

    What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    There was a day when men shook hands and agreed a  gentlemen’s agreement between two.  A man’s word was his honor.   Nowadays attorneys draft up legal documents that  are crafted to look for deception and deceit.   Where has honor gone? pop What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"Speaking the truth should never be hard to do.  Many preach about truth and justice, yet they drag out an attorney when the truth is directed at them.


    Along with honor comes respect.  Respect for your fellow man or woman.  Meeting a call to justice to help someone in need.  Believing in others, and relying on a friendly hand.  Honor, respect, and  dignity, are the strength  and the armor that uphold  strong men and women. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAREAAAAJDM1YzI1YTI3LTQ2MjMtNDk2Ny05YmQwLTAzOGQ4MTlmOTAwNA What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    Integrity - the truth. Integrity is becoming a rare thing.   Yet it is something worth fighting to hold on to.  No matter how weak your voice may be,  you may be the only voice someone else has.   Injustice can overwhelm an individual soul quickly – but  with many there is triumph as they come together.  Speak the truth.  Value integrity above all.

    Not every argument can be won in a court of law.  Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” is all that is needed.  Waging war over trivial pursuits never ends well, if at all. 

    Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” is all that is needed.

    What is important is that you stand up and your  voice be heard.  Speak about those passions you hold dear inside.  Especially when others would keep your voice from being heard if they could.  Don't let fear or intimidation keep you from doing what is right.   Your voice might be all it takes to change an empire, regain a friendship, mend a broken heart.  But unless you stand up and let your voice be heard – others will steal the soil out from under your feet - the very ground you walk upon. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMCAAAAJGRmY2IyZmNjLThhMmQtNGFmZi04MzUwLTYzN2FlMzBhZmUzZA What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    Rise up, ever so weak – yet strong because you decided to take a stand. Integrity, respect, and honor – there really isn’t any amount of money that can buy those attributes.  As human as these attributes are, they will give you a greater sense of value about life, and grace you with a  peaceful mind.  Without them – anxiety, crippling envy and stress take the very life from your own hands.  What are your gains if you aren't around to enjoy them, or can't feel satisfaction for the things  that you tried to build?  Fake friends will praise you in the morning, and damn you in the night.  

    Life is simple.  Live with a giving hand, a kind shoulder to lean on, and stand up when integrity demands a voice.  Stand up, let your voice be heard.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKvAAAAJDY4NjFmYzA1LThhMDUtNDRmNi1hMGI5LTE0MmY2ZWM5YmZkMQ What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"

    • 0

    Common Sense – Work and the Professional Volunteer

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAANiAAAAJDI4MzA4MTM2LTFmODctNDBhMi04MDVkLTlmMmU3ZTM2ZDdhOA Common Sense - Work and the Professional Volunteer

    Common Sense - Work and the Professional Volunteer

    I often volunteer for a host of recreational events, but I also volunteer my time with a number of non-profit / charitable organizations. It’s a lot of time management on my part, but I think it helps me maintain a balance in my life. I can’t be all work and no play. Yet I can’t be all causes and no work either. Finding that life balance and using common sense to keep things positive I feel is a gift.

    Finding that Life Balance

    In the business world and in education, common sense sometimes gets uprooted by causes. Taking up a cause can in reality become a distraction toward your own professional goals if not monitored. Sometimes you have to tell your friends no, and do what is right for the organization and yourself. I am not suggesting that you stop volunteering, but rather you look at your own goals, and find that life balance.

    Listed below are some good quotes to lift up those who volunteer:

    • {Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer. Allen Klein}
    • {"Be the change you want to see in the world"...and, if you can't be that change, then either get out of the way of the person who wants to be that change or support the individual with your financial resources.--Mahatma Gandhi}
    • {Anything can be accomplished as long as you don't care who gets the credit--Unknown}
    • {When people forget themselves, they usually do things others remember.--James Coco}
    • {When giving comes directly from the heart, it can never disappoint or embarrass.--Bel Kaufman }

    Listing your goals and identifying causes that match your organization is called strategic planning. You have to think in terms of “how can this cause benefit my organization and give me a personal outlet to express myself"? It is true that your personal time is your own time, but if it involves doing things that disrupts the company image – you might want to switch causes, or at least tame it down a bit.

    What you do and say in your private life can directly influence your work life. Some organizations have deep set and personal relationships with non-profits and charities. Others use their resources to sponsor special events and/or educational endeavors. Know your organization, and don’t step on toes – it could be your bosses toes. Use your common sense and align yourself with organizations that have like minded causes.

    How would you feel if your boss asked you to go to an event in a PR capacity, and you disliked the event? Would you tell your boss

    -"no - I refuse to do it"?

    -Asked to be excused and give the event over to a subordinate?

    Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do for a paycheck. Know the organization you work for; know them well before you apply. Personally I haven't ran into this type of conflict, but I know others who have. It is heart breaking for them.

    You don’t have to become volunteer or citizen of the year to prove you have a caring nature. Those people are professional volunteers, and work probably isn't too high on their agenda. If you are too involved in causes, your work can suffer; you need to know when to say no. You can’t expect others to carry the load for you in the office or in the field either. Again, use common sense and you can balance it.

    I would love to be a professional volunteer and get paid for it. That would be the ultimate dream job. But common sense tells me that I have to have a life balance between the many causes and work. I hope you to have the common sense to know what your limitations are.

    That would be the ultimate dream job

    Volunteering your time and energy is a great way to give back to the community. But if the volunteering is taking too much of your time, you might want to scale it back a little. Most organizers will understand. Don’t stop completely, just don’t burn yourself out. Allow others to help out too. Find your life balance and enjoy those causes, and keep your goals on track.