Posted by James Boggie on Jan 23, 2017
Crowd of thousands gathered outside Cambridge City Hall for a day of service.
Every year, people across the country and around the world honor the life and message of Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service. Participants perform community service as the embodiment of MLK's message of peace. This tradition dates back to 1994, when Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis introduced the King Holiday and Service Act. Our club has proudly celebrated this tradition in the past.
This year, eleven Rotaractors joined Many Helping Hands for an afternoon of community service. The event started with a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., including gospel music, short speeches, and even some trivia. It was an inspiring beginning.
The crowd split into groups for various service projects. We were assigned to make Valentine's Day cards for elders and soldiers. Organizers provided materials like colored pencils, markers, and patterned papers. Otherwise, we were left to our own devices. We have some talented members who got really into the work. We made some impressive cards.
Part of our group was asked to help sort books and assemble activity kits for kids in the hospital.
After the event, Chi led us to a restaurant for food and fellowship. It was a great event, and I look forward to next year. You can see more photos from the event here.
Posted by Daniel Kallen on Dec 05, 2016
Several members visited the Haley House Bakery Cafe on November 28. Our club has volunteered there many times in the last few years, and we always love the experience. Daniel offers his experience here.
Last week we spent some time baking cookies at the Haley House Bakery Cafe in an effort to assist with their Transitional Employment Program, or TEP. The TEP seeks to break the cycle of incarceration by supporting people who are returning home from prison, or who have been court involved and are looking for positive experience, mentorship, and direction.
TEP provides a real, paid work experience producing wholesale bakery products for the Haley House Bakery Cafe. Through the cookie bake, TEP'ers learn both the hard and soft skills needed to maintain stable employment after incarceration.
We all really enjoyed helping out with the cookie bake, and are looking forward to working with Haley House again in the near future! We are currently in the process of planning ways for Rotaract to become more involved with mentoring TEP'ers, and are excited to see how we can work with them longer term.
Posted by Daniel Kallen on Nov 21, 2016
Boston Debate League is an organization that organizes debates for Middle School and High School students in Boston Public Schools. This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to judge several debates at a tournament at Burke High School.
The topic in question was whether the United States should publicly denounce corporations for buying manufactured goods from China, on the grounds that many factories in China pay their workers poorly, and do not maintain safe work places for many of their workers. This topic is very complex, and it was really enjoyable to watch the students debate their stances, often having to improvise their rebuttals to one another.
The level of dedication and interest that the students displayed was impressive. It was a great volunteer event not only because it was interesting to watch the students debate, but also because we were able to give them constructive feedback so that they can improve their skills.
We had a great time helping out, and now that we're experienced judges, I look forward to hopefully having the opportunity to judge at another debate in the future.
Posted by Daniel Kallen on Nov 13, 2016
The Boston Debate League (BDL) is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to support academic debate teams in local high schools and train BPS teachers to use debate as a regular part of their classroom practice.
Through BDL, students get exposure to a variety of topics, including economic, political, and social issues currently facing society. By debating on these topics, students get a chance to hone their communicative and analytical skills, helping to prepare them for the future. Students who participate in BDL typically see improvement in a variety of standard indicators of college readiness, including standardized test scores, GPAs, and advanced placement test scores.
The primary method in which BDL participants get exposure to debate is through tournaments. These tournaments are typically on Fridays and Saturdays, and occur throughout their October-March debate season. BDL relies heavily on volunteers to help with judging—an essential part of the debate. By volunteering to judge, you will have the opportunity to listen to debaters, take notes, offer encouragement, and ultimately determine a winner.
BDL’s mission aligns closely with Rotary International’s missions of providing education, as well as economic and community development, and I look forward to volunteering with them this Saturday, November 19th, at Burke High School.