Over 2,000 people volunteer for Be the Change on October 4th!

On Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 4, 2008- over 2,000 vol­un­teers from around the coun­try par­tic­i­pat­ed in SAALT’s annu­al day of ser­vice, Be the Change. As the Nation­al Be the Change Coor­di­na­tor, it was excit­ing to see many indi­vid­u­als from cities and cam­pus­es around the coun­try involved in this great cause- vol­un­teers from over 40 cities and cam­pus­es par­tic­i­pat­ed nation­wide! Atlanta, Boston, Bay Area, Wash­ing­ton D.C., New York, Philadel­phia, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cen­tral Flori­da, Texas A&M Uni­ver­si­ty- Col­lege Sta­tion and more joined in on this effort! 

For the past 5 months, indi­vid­u­als around the coun­try vol­un­teered their time to plan and imple­ment this event in their city or cam­pus. These indi­vid­u­als are a tes­ta­ment to the change occur­ring in the coun­try and their role in Be the Change tru­ly exem­pli­fied Mahat­ma Gandhi’s prin­ci­ple of ‘be the change you wish to see in the world”. Of course, we can’t for­get the won­der­ful vol­un­teers who came out on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing because of their belief in the impor­tance of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and chang­ing their community. 

This year, Be the Change vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ed in activ­i­ties such as revi­tal­iz­ing local parks in East Brunswick, New Jer­sey; pack­ag­ing books for pris­on­ers in Wash­ing­ton, DC; restor­ing the bay in San Fran­cis­co; and work­ing with men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly dis­abled chil­dren in New York and much more. 

I would like to chal­lenge every­one to let Be the Change be the first step. I chal­lenge you to let this not be a day of ser­vice but a life of service- whether it be at your cam­pus or uni­ver­si­ty, in your work­place, with your friends or fam­i­ly, by vol­un­teer­ing or by cre­at­ing your own orga­ni­za­tion- I chal­lenge all of you to car­ry on this prin­ci­ple of being the change wher­ev­er you go and in what­ev­er you do. I hope to see you ‘being the change’ for many years to come!

-Ramya Pun­noose, Nation­al Coor­di­na­tor of Be the Change ’08

Are you ready to “Be the Change” on Saturday, October 4th?

SAALT is gear­ing up for Be the Change 2008 and we want­ed to thank all of our plan­ning teams and local vol­un­teers who have worked so hard over the past few months to plan for this nation­al day of ser­vice! Be the Change, for­mer­ly known as the Nation­al Gand­hi Day of Ser­vice, is coor­di­nat­ed by SAALT along with vol­un­teers around the coun­try. This year, we are excit­ed that the event will be held in over 60 cities and cam­pus­es! You can find a full list of the cities and cam­pus­es here.This year’s theme for Be the Change is “Sol­i­dar­i­ty in Ser­vice” and we want to encour­age all of our vol­un­teers to keep this theme in mind when they are vol­un­teer­ing this year. This theme reflects the way com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice can build coali­tions, strength­en rela­tion­ships, and bring about sol­i­dar­i­ty among peo­ple of dif­fer­ent backgrounds.

Exam­ples of ser­vice sites this year include:

Books to Pris­ons: Vol­un­teers will be read­ing let­ters from pris­on­ers, select­ing books that match their request, and pack­ag­ing the books to send the pris­on­ers (Wash­ing­ton DC)

Hands on Atlanta Vol­un­teers will be build­ing wheel­chair ramps, men­tor­ing indi­vid­u­als in com­put­er skills, and more. (Atlanta)

Ronald McDon­ald House: Vol­un­teers will pre­pare a meal for, and serve fam­i­lies whose chil­dren are seri­ous­ly ill and receiv­ing treat­ment at near­by hos­pi­tals. (San Fran­cis­co)

Kids Enjoy Exer­cise Now (KEEN): Vol­un­teers will be con­duct­ing recre­ation­al activ­i­ties for kids in the pro­gram who have are men­tal­ly or phys­i­cal­ly chal­lenged. (New York City)

Boston Health­care for the Home­less: Vol­un­teers will be


work­ing with patients by lead­ing activ­i­ties like games, crafts, enter­tain­ment, etc.These are just a mere few ser­vice sites that Be the Change vol­un­teers will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year. Stay tuned for an update about how Be the Change went and how you can con­tin­ue your com­mu­ni­ty involvement.



Night of 1,000 Conversations is here!

Tonight, “con­ver­sa­tions” (ie. gath­er­ings of peo­ple that meet to share sto­ries) are being held in com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try. SAALT is excit­ed to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in one such con­ver­sa­tion being held in Wash­ing­ton, DC. The ulti­mate goal of A Night of 1,000 Con­ver­sa­tions is to get peo­ple talk­ing about how gov­ern­ment poli­cies affect the every­day lives of Amer­i­cans. The focus of the con­ver­sa­tion tonight (at the All Souls Church, Uni­tar­i­an near the Colum­bia Heights metro, for those of you in the DC area) is shar­ing the expe­ri­ences of dif­fer­ent immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties around poli­cies and issues like back­logs in the cit­i­zen­ship and nat­u­ral­iza­tion process; inhu­mane deten­tion and depor­ta­tion pro­ce­dures; home and work­place raids and more. SAALT is work­ing with All Souls Uni­tar­i­an Social Jus­tice Min­istries, Amer­i­can Arab Anti-Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mit­tee, CASA de Mary­land, Vir­ginia New Major­i­ty and Rights Work­ing Group to orga­nize this con­ver­sa­tion and we wel­come any­one in the Wash­ing­ton, DC area to attend. The event goes from 6:30pm — 9:00pm and begins with iftar/dinner and includes a pan­el dis­cus­sion with experts and affect­ed com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers fol­lowed by small group dis­cus­sions. One of the fea­tured pan­elists is jour­nal­ist Laila Al-Ari­an, the author of Col­lat­er­al Dam­age, who will dis­cuss the deten­tion of her father, Sami Al-Ari­an. If you would like to attend this event, please join us! The iftar and remarks will begin prompt­ly at 6:30pm.

Map of location

Fly­er for Night of 1,000 Con­ver­sa­tionsTo learn more about Night of 1,000 Con­ver­sa­tions, vis­it www.nightof1,000conversations.org 


. (This web­site also lists con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in oth­er loca­tions around the country.)