Community Renewal

Serving with Heart

I spent my high school years at a Jesuit school in Portland, Oregon. Our school motto was “Age Quod Agis,” a Latin proverb that means, “Do well whatever you do.” Throughout high school, this concept was constantly emphasized by teachers, coaches, and priests. “Study your hardest; you only get to take this test once.” “Leave it all on the field; there are no points for second place.” “God doesn’t care if you have a bad voice; sing loudly with the voice He gave you."

United We Serve in the Midst of the Storm

As a tornado touched down just a few city blocks away, a humble group gathered in the safest place it could be, deep in the basement of a church, hardly aware of the storm outside. We were caught up in trying to make a difference, volunteering at Groveland Foodshelf, which serves the neighborhood just south of downtown Minneapolis.

White Sox Players and Fans Serving Chicago, Together

Having been a part of organized baseball since an early age, the concept of teamwork has been a part of my life for a very long time. I’ve seen firsthand the power of a unified group and how together a group can accomplish great things and succeed despite any obstacles. I also have seen how counter productive, and sometimes destructive, disunity can be to a common goal.

One early Saturday morning in May, members of my team, the Chicago White Sox, again reminded me of how together there is nothing we, as active members of our communities, cannot accomplish.

Rebuilding Community in the Desire Public Housing Development

Stepping Stones to Addressing Homelessness

Two weeks ago, Clackamas County Volunteer Connection Center and RSVP brought 35 community members together at an event called “Stepping Stones to Addressing Homelessness.” The goal of the event was to educate the community on (1) Understanding: Who is homeless in the county and why; (2) Hope: What is already being done by public and non profits in the area; and (3) Opportunity: How individuals and groups could help improve the community.

Helping People Resolve Their Differences

Two years ago, I enrolled in a mediation certificate program with University of California Extension Service called Common Ground. I will receive my certificate next month. To enrich what I learned in the courses, I also decided to volunteer for the City of Davis, California Community Mediation Services or CMS. CMS has one full time staff member and 40 volunteer mediators who work on a rotating basis serving as members of a three person panel for each mediation.

Homeowners Appreciate Work and Improvements

Feeling at Home in a Cramped Dining Room

Once a month several men from my church and I come to cook the dinner for 35-40 men, women, and children at the 8th Street Mission in West Memphis, Arkansas. We try to serve the same meal every month (spaghetti, meat sauce, French bread, green beans and bacon, salad, dessert, and lemonade). Once a week, I try to serve desert (fresh chocolate chip cookies and oranges) to the men and help with dishes.

Lawyers Help Elderly Woman Win Social Security Disability Appeal

McKenna, Long & Aldridge Washington Partner Cass Christenson and Associate Michael Alexander recently won a social security disability appeal forMs. Thomas, a pro-bono client who was unable to navigate through the paperwork and legalities involved in such an appeal.

In 2006, Ms. Thomas filed her own disability claim, but she was denied benefits. She then filed a request for reconsideration, which was also denied. Due to lack of procedural understanding, Ms. Thomas failed to assert a timely request for appeal and was left with only food stamps to sustain her.

Nothing Solves "We're Bored" Like a Good Block Party

“We’re bored!” This is what we heard from a group of middle school students after our initial meeting to brainstorm a summer youth program for Ames, Iowa. That settled it. We needed to find something for them to do.

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