Surfrider Foundation: East Coast Chapter Summit

Surfrider Foundation: East Coast Chapter Summit

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About a year or two ago my brother John decided to open up a chapter of Surfrider. The mission of the Surfrider Foundation is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. But you can’t surf in the Midwest, right? Think again, and be sure to watch Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience! In fact, Sheboygan, Wisconsin has some of the best surfing in the Midwest and hosts the annual Dairyland Surf Classic, the largest lake surfing competition in the world. Since there is a chapter up in Minnesota, my brother felt it was necessary to have a presence on Lake Michigan. So, over about a year I have been integral in helping him out with social media, marketing and treasurer duties and was able to attend the East Coast Chapter Summit this past weekend in Long Beach, New York.

Over the weekend at the summit we were able to attend breakout sessions to learn from about 30 other chapters, listen to Jim Moriarty (CEO) speak, and it was overall a wonderful experience. We took away many great ideas that hopefully will drive the membership of our chapter, and listened to some presentations that have inspired programs/campaigns. One was a 5 gyres presentation on the concentration of plastic found in our oceans and lakes. There are 350 million square kilometers of ocean, and 73 million pounds of plastic (a plastic soup in the gyres regions if you will)…wow, but there are easy things you can do to make a big difference. Some other things covered were Jim’s 6-year strategic review, core training, Rising Above Plastics campaign, fundraising/event planning panels, ocean ecosystems and the focus on offshore drilling, coastal preservation, engaging youth and using the chapter website as an interface, among other things.

So why form a WI-Great Lakes Surfrider Chapter? Because, surprisingly, there are actually a good number of people in Wisconsin who surf, whether on Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, or other Wisconsin water (rivers/lakes) who believe in the principles and mission of the Surfrider Foundation. The region boasts many sailboarders, wakeboarders, kiteboarders, kayakers, stand up paddleboarders (SUPs), and watermen and waterwomen in general who support the Surfrider vision and want to contribute to preserving our water resources here in Wisconsin. I really hope you can support the organization by liking WI-Great Lakes Surfrider on Facebook, and following them on twitter. Better yet, come surf with us! Just be sure to bring a wetsuit.

 

Raider Relief Brings You Lemonpalooza!

Raider Relief Brings You Lemonpalooza!

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Raider Relief has been doing “good” within the local and global community since around 2009. In the past, Soles for Souls, Hugs for Haiti, Help to Others, March Makeover and Bottle School Blitz have been great successes, benefiting wonderful non-profit organizations. This year, Raider Relief is partnering with Alliance Ventures, the Regula Center at the University of Mount Union and the United Way of Greater Stark County to bring you Lemonpalooza, a community-wide lemonade sale in Alliance on Oct. 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A cup of lemonade will cost $1. Twelve lemonade stands will be set up in front of various businesses along State St. Volunteers from the University of Mount Union and the community will be running the lemonade stands. United Way’s annual campaign runs until Nov. 29. Eastern Division Campaign Co-Chairs Gerard and Phillip Mastroianni are volunteering their leadership on the United Way Campaign Cabinet, chaired by Thomas Swidarski, to further campaign efforts in the Alliance and surrounding area.

Alliance United Way agencies, including the YMCA, YWCA, SPARK, Interfaith Child Development Center, and the Domestic Violence Shelter, receive more funding from United Way than any other city in Stark County. Unfortunately, Alliance has the smallest number of annual donors to the nonprofit organization. The goal of Lemonpalooza is to raise funds for United Way of Stark County while promoting awareness of their presence in Alliance. The proceeds will be dispersed to United Way agencies throughout Stark County.

For more information please visit raiderrelief.org!

Bottle School Blitzing

Bottle School Blitzing

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Ever since my freshman year at Mount Union, I have been fortunate to be a part of Raider Relief, an awesome student organization here on campus. We have an underlying mission statement: Student-driven humanitarianism, helping those in need with passion, love and good deeds. Basically our group recognizes the needs of people less fortunate than ourselves and acts upon those needs in a fashion that is timely, sympathetic and rewarding. Some of our past philanthropic projects have been Soles for Souls, Hugs for Haiti, Help to Others, March Makeover and most recently a Walk 2 Remember.

Not only do we strive to impact Mount Union’s local community of Alliance, Ohio, but we extend help to people all over the world by partnering with other charitable organizations. By teaming up with other charities we have declared our organization as a non-profitable group, where 100% of all of our earnings are donated to those in need.

This year our project is a Bottle School Blitz – a 10-day community and campus-wide fund-raising effort. The project will benefit Hug it Forward, a not-for-profit organization with an innovative approach to improving the educational infrastructure of developing nations. Hug It Forward focuses on building schools in Guatemala out of plastics bottles and non-biodegradable trash. The area of Guatemala has around a 25% illiteracy rate and many places don’t even have schools for children to learn in. These places are recognizable from the non-profit’s executive director, who used to do Peace Corps work in the area, and is able to recognize communities in dire need.

The Bottle School Blitz project consists of two phases. The first of which (the community blitz) will take place on Saturday, November 19. Teams of student volunteers will staff tables set up outside of more than a dozen high-traffic retail locations throughout Alliance, asking shoppers for donations to support the project’s cause. The second phase will be campus based. Empty plastic beverage bottles will be issued to hundreds of students before they head home for Thanksgiving break. Each student will be challenged to fill his or her bottle with spare change from home and return to campus with a coin-filled bottle.

The last, and ongoing phase, is an online donation site for those who cannot help with the community or campus initiative. If you would like to donate or share the donation site with anyone, please click this link! I sure hope that everyone reading this can help our project in any way possible. Share it with friends, family and online … a little help by a lot of people can go a long way. Help be the change we want to see in the world!