[Community-service] Workshops

Chris Parsons christine-parsons at sbcglobal.net
Tue Apr 15 01:43:09 UTC 2014

Hi Cheryl and all,

Cheryl, thank you for your thoughtful response. You have a lot of really 
good ideas about workshop topics and structure. If you are interested in 
doing so, I agree with Mary Ann that I think you would have a lot to bring 
to the workshop committee.

As Mary Ann mentioned, there is a particular flurry of e-mails about 
Convention activities right now because Convention is the time that brings a 
lot of people together from across the country, and we want to take 
advantage of this to plan a handful of activities. However, we have in place 
or are working on developing opportunities for people to network, share 
ideas, and get involved outside of Convention.

We have this listserv, which depends on the posts and collective efforts of 
its members. To anyone who is reading this, if you have a question about 
community service, feel free to ask it here. If you have participated in a 
service project, you are encouraged to write about it here or see if it 
could be included on our blog (nfbcommunityservice.wordpress.com). If you 
have a service-related resource or article that you find interesting or 
helpful, please share it. Michele Mitchell currently chairs a committee that 
is putting together a resource list of community service-related 
organizations, Web sites, etc. that we hope to be able to use to point 
interested people to service opportunities in their area.

We have begun our organizing efforts on the national level; however, because 
service helps those in one's local community, one of our ultimate goals is 
to have one person in each affiliate who will coordinate the community 
service efforts of that affiliate and the chapters within it. Cheryl, I love 
the idea of a national project outside of Convention in which each affiliate 
would participate.

We also have the conference call workshops that Mary Ann's committee 
develops. If anyone has ideas for workshop topics, please don't hesitate to 
let Mary Ann know.

Finally, Cheryl, you state that it is difficult to define what the purpose 
of the group is. I see that Mary Ann has included a brief description of the 
group's purpose in her response. Does this make the purpose clearer? If not, 
what do you, or anyone else on the list, believe we could do to make this 
purpose clearer? Cheryl, you are right that as a group seeks to become a 
division, we must have a clear and well-defined purpose, and if this is not 
happening, we certainly want to know this and also what we can do to make it 

Chris Parsons

-----Original Message----- 
From: Cheryl Fields
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2014 5:04 PM
To: maryann at jmendez.us ; Community Service Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Community-service] Workshops

I am delighted you asked these important questions! Yes I would attend
workshops, teleconferences that include meaningful topics, speakers,
and offer interesting and timely round table discussions.
Topics, my preferences are, building community connections,
leadership skills, fund raising , and how to create diverse volunteer

Roundtable discussions, can be a wealth of knowledge for discussion
list participants if guided properly. A friendly, mature,
knowledgeable and engaging moderator is key to the success of any
roundtable discussion,  especially one that is held over the
telephone. Providing opportunities for participants to share
experiences, how they solved problems/ barriers and sharing future
plans. some on the list may have a grander idea for service and
connecting with grant writers, and how to write a business plan could
assist them greatly. Maintaining a list of locations in each state
that provide other workshop opportunities for larger community
projects to participate in may be helpful. For example I live in
Cleveland and we just hosted the Cleveland International film
Festival, this event could not happen without a vast amout of
volunteers. This summer Cleveland will host the Senior Games and an
annual jazz festival again a huge number of volunteers will be
recruited for these events. Who do we contact to become involved, what
is needed for that involvement and how can we best represent the nfb
by becoming involved?

Speakers, it would be beneficial to involve some of the existing
community partners on list, members as speakers to provide overview of
the opportunities available through the projects they have been
involved with. Identifying the challenges and satisfaction levels of
these endeavours. Organizations. Other types of speakers could
include, local grassroots organizations that provide training,
information on faith based service opportunities, how can parents of
blind children exchange service for other important services such as
day care or transportation of children to school. saving them much
needed funds. Speakers could include persons with unusual/ exotic
skills, feeding animals at the zoo or persons that collect used
computer/ electronics to be refurbished. This could open conversation
about how many blind people would like to have access to technology
but lack the funds for hardware and software. Possibly opening new
avenues, brainstorming with others to enhance the lives within the
blind community. The more diversity of speakers may create more
interest from listeners and encourage others to join the list. Hearing
from, our Latina community, the African American community, the
parents of blind children as well as blind parents with sighted
children and others. We all want to hear from those that share other
unique challenges that include blindness.  Marketing the
teleconference/ workshops to all nfb members may be helpful to
stimulate new ideas and encouraging to others that never thought about
community service projects. Any speaker should be engaging and open to
answering questions when asked, and following up when necessary. To do
this properly the speaker should have a interview process so that the
moderator of the workshop is  familiar with the speaker/ orgainization
, in this way the moderator can move the discussion along with
confidence, introduce other related topics and convey to listeners
that he/ she is prepared. Speakers can also be nfb members with
experience and proven success in the community with his/her outreach

I feel it would be beneficial to have 1 national project, outside of
the covention structure. something simple, meaningful and inexpensive
for every affiliate to complete within some predesignated time frame.
This may create interest in this list, participants can share
experiences on line, post photos, and share the success of the project

I don't think this list is the place to post employment possibilities
for others. This list may be better served by explaining how
volunteering can boost a resume, provide training for new skills or
maintaining expertise of existing skills, and help a job seeker with

Finally, I know I have written lots here, but I was glad to have the
chance to get it off my chest. I was very excited when I first joined
this list, but have become disinterested and disappointed with the
content. Community Service exists for many different reasons and not
everyone is seeking employment or attending the national covention.
Some of us want to serve our communities and enhance the quality of
life for our neighbors and our selves while proudly representing the
philosophy of the nfb. Because of the unique barriers we face, I
thought this list would provide some support and suggestions. When I
initially joined, there was the sense that this is what we were
accomplishing. Then the list became flooded with issues surrounding
the national covention, this was interesting to me, because most of
the list users stated that they are not attending the covention. There
seemed to be no other conversation. I called once and was engaged in a
conversation where the names of officers and committees was guarded,
not available to us. There were only a few of us on that call and it
was a complete disaster, this is the reason I have not participated
again. it is my understanding that at some future time the committee
and officers intend to create a division from this list. Well, good
luck, because it is difficult to define what the purpose of the group
is. I have not given up on being hopeful to read in exciting and
engaging topics and will hang in there for a while longer. I am
willing to assist with the growth of this group, it's worth salvaging!
I really hope others respond to assist you and the other leaders in a
positive way to redefine what this list/ group and future division
will become. Thank you for asking and listening, have a great day!


Cheryl Fields

Contact information; 216.932.6644 or cherylelaine1957 at gmail.com

On 4/8/14, Mary Ann Mendez <maryann at jmendez.us> wrote:
> Hi everyone.
> I want to share with you that there were 0 participants in attendance for
> the March 31 workshop.
> Here are some questions that can help us develop meaningful opportunities
> for our service-minded community service group participants. Feel free to
> respond to me directly with any thoughts. I will not share your individual
> responses with others. instead, I will use the data to put together a
> meaningful report based on all feedback.
> *         Would you attend teleconferences that serve as workshops to
> improve community service? Why or why not?
> *         Would you attend teleconferences that showcase a guest speaker?
> Why or why not?
> *         What inspires you to attend a teleconference event?
> *         What do you like and dislike about round-table discussions?
> *         What do you like and dislike about guest speakers?
> *         What  would you like to see in workshops?
> *         What would you like to see from guest speakers?
> *         And lastly: What would have inspired you to attend the previous
> workshop on ways to become involved in community service?
> *         What have I missed that you would like to add?
> Thank you for any thoughts you would like to share about this. Our group 
> is
> only a product of what each of us brings to it. I look forward to offering
> opportunities for us to grow in service learning.
> Sincerely,
> Mary Ann Mendez

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