Alumni Spotlight: Joyous Joiner

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November 24, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Nourish Alumna Joyous Joiner Named on POZ Magazine’s 100 under 30!
poz100_joyous_joinerNourish International would like to congratulate one of our outstanding alumni, Joyous Joiner, on her nomination as one of POZ Magazine’s 100 under 30 in 2014.  Every year, POZ Magazine recognizes exceptional young adults who have committed themselves to the fight against the HIV epidemic.  Joiner, a graduate from the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, received the award in part for her participation in a Nourish Project in Masaka, Uganda—where she aided in HIV testing and education—in addition to her numerous commitments to community development.

In 2011, Joiner’ team from the Nourish-UTK Chapter and the University of Georgia Chapter implemented a sustainable agriculture and education project for a Ugandan orphanage with House of Hope, a nonprofit that seeks to nourish and educate children. While on the Project, Joiner and her team also worked with the Volset Foundation to help coordinate HIV testing and education within isolated communities around Lake Victoria.

Joiner says of her time as a Nourish student: “I am really grateful for Nourish International. I learned so much about using entrepreneurship to fund philanthropic work in developing nations.”

Joiner now works for T.R.U.S.T. South LA, an organization that strives to create healthy families and neighborhoods in the South LA region, where she helps implement community development and local revitalization efforts. She has also worked with CD Tech to help plan health and wellness fairs in South LA.

Joiner serves as a true testament to the amazing feats our Nourish students and alumni can and do accomplish every day.  Next fall, Joiner plans to pursue her juris doctorate with a concentration in international law. We wish her the best in all of her endeavors as she continues to embody our mission and be a leader in our movement of change-makers.

What is #GivingTuesday?

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November 21, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. #GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, they launched a global movement that has engaged more than 10,000 organizations worldwide.

At Nourish, #GivingTuesday can mean many things. All year long, our national office staff and dedicated team of students give back to communities — both the ones we partner with abroad, and the ones right here at home. Whether it’s hosting a Hunger Lunch and donating the leftover food to a neighborhood food bank, volunteering at the local animal shelter, donating to causes we care about, or coaching a youth sports team, the Nourish team seeks to redefine giving every day of the year. We are thrilled that there is now a dedicated day to giving back, and we hope that you will think about ways you can make an impact, both locally and globally. As December 2 nears, we’ll let you know how you can give back to Nourish specifically. In any way you see fit, join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity!

Leonhardt Pipe Launches Cause Marketing for Nourish

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November 18, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Leonhardt Pipe and Supply, a family owned and operated business that produces quality fire sprinkler products, fabrication and service, has agreed to donate a portion of their December sales to Nourish International. For each $1000 of sales, Leonhardt Pipe will give Nourish $10, with a goal of providing a $10,000 award.  Thanks Leonhardt Pipe for empowering students to become leaders and to impact poverty in the world. The promotion runs December 1 – 31.

For more information on Leonhardt Pipe, visit leonhardtpipe.com.

 

Student Spotlight: Alexis Tavarez

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November 18, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Alexis Tavarez, Student Board Member, University of Florida

 

“To me, empowerment is what makes Nourish International a movement and inspires me. It focuses on inspiring people to make big changes on their campuses, in their communities, and in the world. However, what makes Nourish truly unique is that it focuses on capacity building and giving people the resources to better themselves as individuals which collectively can change the world. As a student, being a part of the Nourish movement has prepared me to be a passionate, and globally aware leader prepared to take on the world’s big challenges. I am the leader I am today because of the potential the people at Nourish International saw, and fostered within me.

 
At the University of Florida we are working diligently to make sustainable change in Indian communities. Currently, we are working on earning funds and training leaders to apply the Nourish values to our project. Our focus is on empowering audacious leaders who are equally prepared to educate, and learn from the communities they will be serving.”
- Alexis Tavarez, University of Florida Chapter of Nourish International 
Alexis is a Junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida and will graduate in Spring 2016. After graduation, Alexis hopes to attend graduate school for Occupational Therapy. In her free time, Alexis enjoys cooking, baking, and
bonding with friends.

 

Student Spotlight: Jared Staley

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November 18, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Jared Staley, Student Board Member, Ohio State University 

“Nourish International has pushed me to want more out of my life, to do more. Nourish International saw a potential in me that I would have never seen in myself. Nourish has helped me harness my strengths and apply them in a way that creates positive and sustainable global change. Without Nourish I would have never developed into the person I am today.

Nourish International believes in the potential of all people and works to build on that potential. It’s not often that you find an organization that truly believes in the abilities, strengths, and visions of students. Nourish does. Nourish sees students and people from small villages as changemakers and future global leaders. Not only that, but Nourish allows students and small communities to have a voice in how to overcome their obstacles. Nourish International empowers people to change their fate, to improve their own lives.
Nourish at Ohio State has been working diligently on expanding our impact within our own community and two partner communities in Ecuador and India. We are striving to develop a new type of world class leader who understands what it means to lead with compassion, understanding, and audacity. “

- Jared Staley, The Ohio State University Chapter of Nourish International 

Jared is a Senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Architecture at The Ohio State University and will graduate in May. Jared has been a rockstar member of Nourish International since September 2011. His past leadership responsibilities include Marketing Director (2012), Co-Chapter Leader (2013), Outreach Chair (2013), and Student Advisory Board Co-Chair and Student Board Member.

Nathan Albright Named Coordinator of Community Discourse and Awareness

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November 18, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

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Nathan is an alum from Nourish’s University of Georgia chapter where he served as Co-President and later as the Awareness Chair. At UGA’s chapter he started the Sidewalk Symphonies series, worked to build a foundation for the chapter, and ran several Awareness film screenings and discussions. While an undergrad he also played an active role at Georgia’s student radio station serving as a Music Director and later as the General Manager, and was the head of the Veritas Forum at UGA- a group that facilitates interfaith discussions, forums, and book studies. All this earned him the “Outstanding Student” award in 2012 for his work in general student affairs along with a plaque that says so, which his mom still keeps hung up in a prominent site for guests to admire. She is very proud of him but wishes he would just shave that beard once in a while. Since graduating, he’s lived and worked in Los Angeles with a probation placement home for incarcerated youth, completed a carpentry apprenticeship, hitch-hiked around the country with his best pal, and worked with a Triathalon racing company. He now teaches guitar lessons in Brooklyn, NY and just loves playing music all the time and hopes something good will come out of it one day. He’s also remained active as an Alumni Mentor and always has a great time at the annual Summer Institute each year. Now he’ll be serving as the Community Discourse Coordinator for Nourish and is excited to have some great discussions with anyone who’ll talk to him!

Examining Power, Privilege, and our Role in International Development by Nathan Albright

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November 18, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Alumni Spotlight, Newsletters, Nourish in the News, Office Updates, Student Advisory Board, Summer Institute, Summer Projects | By

Sometimes to think critically, you need to listen to your biggest critics. It would be hard to find someone who was more critical of international volunteer projects than Ivan Illich. As we begin looking into potential project partners for next summer, maybe listening to someone like Illich will help us think more critically about some of the tough decisions involved.

In 1968, the philosopher and former Catholic Priest spoke to the “Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects” about its work in Mexico and Latin America. In this impassioned speech, he told the well intentioned ‘do-gooders’ that “the existence of organizations like yours is offensive” and “to hell with good intentions… the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Here’s a little of what he went on to say:

By definition, you cannot help being ultimately vacationing salesmen for the middle-class “American Way of Life,” since that is really the only life you know.
Next to money and guns, the third largest North American export is the U.S. idealist…
Ideally, these people define their role as service. Actually, they frequently wind up alleviating the damage done by money and weapons, or “seducing” the “underdeveloped” to the benefits of the world of affluence and achievement.
All you will do in a Mexican village is create disorder.
You start on your task without any training. Even the Peace Corps spends around $10,000 on each corps member to help him adapt to his new environment and to guard him against culture shock. How odd that nobody ever thought about spending money to educate poor Mexicans in order to prevent them from the culture shock of meeting you?
Suppose you went to a U.S. ghetto this summer and tried to help the poor there “help themselves.” Very soon you would be either spit upon or laughed at. People offended by your pretentiousness would hit or spit. People who understand that your own bad consciences push you to this gesture would laugh condescendingly. Soon you would be made aware of your irrelevance among the poor, of your status as middle-class college students on a summer assignment. … If you insist on working with the poor, if this is your vocation, then at least work among the poor who can tell you to go to hell. It is incredibly unfair for you to impose yourselves on a village where you are so linguistically deaf and dumb that you don’t even understand what you are doing, or what people think of you. And it is profoundly damaging to yourselves when you define something that you want to do as “good,” a “sacrifice” and “help.”

That was nearly 50 years ago. Since then, the phenomenon of traveling to economically poor regions to volunteer—sometimes referred to as voluntourism—has seen a dramatic rise in popularity. But are the same issues Illich warned against still relevant today?

A more recent viewpoint comes from Linda Richter, executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council, who led a study looking into what she calls the “thriving industry of AIDS orphan tourism” in sub-Saharan Africa. What she found is disturbing. The majority of children in these orphanages are not orphans, she explains “[they] are there because of poverty rather than because their parents have died. Destitute parents may place their children in orphanages in the hope that their child will receive meals, clothing and schooling.” An influx of voluntourists who are willing to pay for the emotionally powerful experience of working in an orphanage has effectively created a market for orphans that local communities are now filling by giving up their own children. Richter explains:

Short-term volunteer tourists are encouraged to “make intimate connections” with previously neglected, abused, and abandoned young children. However, shortly after these ‘connections’ have been made, tourists leave—many undoubtedly feeling that they have made a positive contribution to the plight of very vulnerable children. And, in turn, feeling very special as a result of receiving a needy child’s affection. Unfortunately, many of the children they leave behind have experienced another abandonment to the detriment of their short- and long-term emotional and social development.

Rather than being raised by their living parents and family members, children are raised through an ever-changing stream of foreign volunteers that is “likely to be especially damaging to young children.” In light of this kind of study, it’s understandable that Illich and others have warned against voluntourism altogether. It’s disturbing to imagine the kind of damage that can be (and has been) done to a small community by a group of well-intentioned Westerners on a whirlwind trip to “make a difference” abroad. But how does something like that happen? And how can we avoid being part of a potentially detrimental project? Social critic and entrepreneur Pippa Biddle thinks it starts with acknowledging privilege.

When it comes to the power dynamics of voluntourism, it is all about privilege. Privilege comes in a multitude of forms and is sometimes hard to identify. There is racial privilege, then there is economic privilege, educational privilege, geographic privilege, gender privilege, religious privilege, privilege that comes with adhering to heteronormative standards, skinny privilege, and a million more that have yet to be recognized or that I just do not know.
Privilege is, at its core, easy to identify but difficult to own up to. Those who experience it, myself included, struggle to openly recognize its existence as we hope beyond hope that our kind intentions and good will are enough to overcome it. But they aren’t. Intentions are not enough.

Amy Ernst, a human rights advocate and international aid worker, agrees that good intentions won’t protect those you may work with and offers a concrete example from her experience:

The small team I worked with taught me the many ways I could make problems worse, even with the best of intentions… it’s not always easy to predict when your actions will cause harm. As a white American, my presence alone indicated wealth and could endanger people—even entire villages—as armed groups, or community members, in desperate need could have targeted people I spoke with, thinking I had left money or goods behind.

Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for Pakistan’s largest English-language newspaper, explains another pitfall of unchecked privilege in a foreign culture:

Typically other people’s problems seem simpler, uncomplicated and easier to solve than those of one’s own society. In this context, the decontextualized hunger and homelessness in Haiti, Cambodia or Vietnam is an easy moral choice. Unlike the problems of other societies, the failing inner city schools in Chicago or the haplessness of those living on the fringes in Detroit is connected to larger political narratives. In simple terms, the lack of knowledge of other cultures makes them [seem] easier to help.

The dangers of privilege and relying on good intentions are very real and are all the more reason to be cautious and well-informed while interacting with another culture. However most, like Zakaria, believe there is still a great value to the experience of working alongside a foreign community and that “despite its flaws, the educational aspect of voluntourism’s cross-cultural exchange must be saved, made better instead of being rejected completely.” Zakaria believes we can do this by focusing on “the recipient community’s actual needs” as opposed to “the volunteer’s quest for experience.” Plenty of others offer their own advice and experiences to consider while you sift through international projects:

Richter suggests that rather than volunteering in an orphanage:

Every available resource should be utilised to support families and extended kin to enable them to provide high quality care for their children. Out-of-home residential care should not be an option when support can be given to families to take care of their own children.

Biddle believes we should first look at what we have to offer a community:

Wanting to create change does not necessarily mean that you have the skills or access to the resources needed to make that happen… [Students] should be helped, with input from the community, in finding what skills she can offer, whether that be fund-raising for new textbooks or helping with the harvest.

Young volunteers offer unique sets of skills and experiences that most current placement organizations don’t do enough to take advantage of. By sending volunteers to do complicated tasks, we set them up for failure and increase the likelihood that their trips become poverty tourism rather than productive service work.

Ernst reminds us that even if we think we have a pretty firm grasp on the project situation:

Accountability and humility are key. You may not have a training booklet telling you what’s right or wrong, but local experts exist everywhere. And if you look hard enough, you will find that all skills are needed; you just need to figure out where and how to apply them in the appropriate context.

Ossob Mohamud, a contributor for an African subsidiary of The Guardian, suggests addressing the “root institutional and structural causes of the problem”:

Time and energy would be better spent building real solidarity between disparate societies based on mutual respect and understanding. Instead of focusing on surface symptoms of poverty, volunteers and the organisations that recruit them should focus on the causes that often stem from an unjust global economic order. Why not advocate and campaign for IMF and World Bank reforms? How about having volunteers advocate for their home country to change aggressive foreign and agricultural policies (such as subsidy programmes)? This might seem unrealistic but the idea is to get volunteers to understand their own (direct or indirect) role in global poverty. The idea is to get volunteers truly invested in ending poverty, and not simply to feel better about themselves.

Among the countless voices offering opinions on navigating the world of international volunteering, there isn’t one that reveals a clear path to picking a partner or a guaranteed method for a successful project. From the partner selection process to your first day on site, to posting pictures online and talking to friends when you get home, there’s a lot to be considered. A few basic themes seem to repeat:

Be educated. Learn whatever you can about the region and the culture of the people you’re planning to work with. Be aware of the historical events that led to their complicated situation and to your own.

Be humble. Part of learning is knowing how much you still don’t know. Remember that you’re coming from a position of immense privilege- simply by being enrolled in a college and travelling by plane to a project you are part of a relatively small global class. Be aware of the power dynamic this creates as well as the danger that power brings with it.

Be practical. Good intentions are not enough to guarantee success. Find out what the community needs (as opposed to what you want to do), and ask yourselves what you can realistically contribute. Attack root causes, rather than surface problems. Will people be better off when you leave? Pick a project or partner that has proven results.

At the end of the day, try to be thankful for the incredible gift of being invited into another culture and remember how much there is to learn from a culture so incredibly different than our own. Even Ivan Illich has some advice for those who are willing to go abroad humbly:

[Traveling on these projects] could lead you to new awareness: the awareness that even North Americans can receive the gift of hospitality without the slightest ability to pay for it; the awareness that for some gifts one cannot even say “thank you.”

Nathan Albright is the Community Discourse Coordinator at Nourish International.

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Annotations:

Ivan Illich speech to the Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects

http://blogs.cornell.edu/ccecrosscultural/2011/11/09/ivan-illich-to-hell-with-good-intentions/

HSRC- AIDS Orphan Tourism

http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/review/August-2010/aids-orphan-tourism

New York Times- Voluntourism Debate http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/29/can-voluntourism-make-a-difference/poverty-as-a-tourist-attraction

Pippa Biddle- White Girls Aren’t The Problem…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pippa-biddle/little-white-girls-arent-_b_6062638.html

Rafia Zakaria- The White Tourist’s Burden
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/volunter-tourismwhitevoluntouristsafricaaidsorphans.html

Ossob Mohamud
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/13/beware-voluntourists-doing-good

Give the Gift of Nourish

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October 31, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

The opportunity

Tomorrow, we will officially kick off our annual Give the Gift of Nourish Campaign! This year, we have been presented with a unique opportunity — Nourish International has been awarded a challenge grant of $40,000 from an anonymous donor to match all gifts 1:1 between November 1, 2014 and December 31st, 2014. This is a lofty goal, but a worthy one with the potential to generate $80,000 of crucial support for our programs. We need your help to meet this matching goal and empower young entrepreneurs across our 60 chapters. This match is the largest our organization has ever received. Let’s rise to the challenge and make a profound impact in the world.

Donate Now

Thanks to supporters like you, Nourish has grown tremendously in the past three years, but our work is far from meeting the demand for our services and far from reaching the level of impact we aspire to.

The motivation

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Program Associate Ellen Moore, a former Nourish student from the Syracuse University Chapter, recently told a story that both saddened and motivated us at the National Office. Ellen participated in her Chapter’s Project with Global Health Response (GHNU) in Uganda this past summer. While the Chapter was building latrines for three villages, Ellen met a little girl who was blind due to an eye infection she caught as a newborn. These types of eye infections happen quite often in developing countries. In the United States, they are treatable and, if necessary, operable. But in rural Uganda, these infections often result in immense complications and cause blindness in infants. The baby girl was one of 20 infants that had to undergo surgery — an invasive and complicated procedure for a newborn in rural Uganda — because the infection was left untreated. She had both of her eyes removed and sadly, of the 20 babies that received the procedure, she was the sole survivor.

IMG_9504 for webIt’s hard to imagine the grief the 19 young mothers that lost their children will carry the rest of their lives. Ellen met many of these women, who have since turned their experiences into a commitment to improve the community. She said partnering with them was one of the most rewarding things she has experienced in her entire life.

The little girl, baby Leah — now blind — and her family were living in an unsafe home, sleeping on mud floors in a flood plain when GHNU found them. Ellen’s Chapter invested their Venture profits to work alongside the family and others in similar situations, in partnership with GHNU. The funds were used to help relocate the family to a safer homestead that could accommodate them; one equipped with a latrine that would be suitable for young women. Having an accessible latrine is extremely important, given that women often risk being kidnapped or suffering from sexual violence because they have to go out alone in the middle of the night simply to use the bathroom.

Why donate now?

As a result of Ellen’s experience in Uganda, she came to work at our National Office. Now, Ellen is on the front lines coaching 20 Nourish Chapter leaders across our network to implement sustainable development Projects effectively, lead their Chapter to success, and raise funds through small business Ventures. This summer, more than 50 students from her Chapters will have experiences just like hers. Ellen is on a journey to become a leader, change-maker, and an innovator in the fight to end extreme poverty within our lifetime. IMG_9509 for webNourish set her on that path.

At Nourish, we believe in a world where a child doesn’t have to die from a completely treatable illness. We belive in a world where a family doesn’t have to live in unsafe conditions, with the risk of violence, natural disaster, and communicable diseases. We believe that everyone deserves access to the basic resources needed to survive: water, food, shelter, healthcare, and education. We believe in opportunity, dignity, and always see the glass as half full. Labels of race, sexual orientation, and class do not oppress people in the world our Nourish students envision. In our world, love is a universal language, opportunities are rich, and violence is an exception. This vision may be idealistic, but it’s not idealism we fear, it’s apathy for idealism. There is a more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible, and we hope you will join us in creating it.

How you can help

1. Donate to Nourish by visiting Nourish.org/give between now and December 31. Your gift will be matched 1:1 up to $40,000.

Donate Now

2.Kick off your holiday shopping at shopnourish.org. The price of each item purchased will be matched 1:1 between now and December 31.

3. Share our holiday campaign with your friends on social media. We need your help to spread the mission of Nourish!

All funds will be invested in our mission to empower social entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty. Leaders like Ellen and partners like GHNU will be able to continue to build the world we envision because of your gift. Thank you for your consideration of supporting us this holiday season and for the profound impact you make by partnering with us in this work.

Congratulations to our Venture Fund Competition winners!

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October 28, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Every year, the National Office holds a business plan and pitch competition among Nourish Chapters for seed capital investments in their innovative Venture ideas. This year, we were extremely impressed by all of the pitches we reviewed. Ultimately, we decided to award Ohio State University and Syracuse University $500 and $350, respectively, to implement their Ventures.

Ohio State’s business pitch detailed a plan to host their second annual ugly Christmas sweater sale. Last year’s sale was the Chapter’s most profitable Venture, earning them $800 to invest in their sustainable development Project in Ecuador. The Venture Fund seed capital will allow OSU to purchase additional sweaters at no further cost to the Chapter, meaning all revenue generated will be 100 percent profit. Akram Jabeer, the Chapter’s Co-Ventures Director, said he expects the profit to near $3,000 — a whopping 275 percent increase from last year’s sweater sale. “Receiving the Venture Fund gives our Chapter a boost in motivation as well as the confidence to approach every single Venture in the same demeanor as the Ugly Christmas Sweater Venture,” he said.

The Syracuse Chapter will hold its second annual Halloween costume thrift sale in the hopes of making it a tradition that students look forward to every year. The additional $350 will allow the Chapter to increase its supply of costumes and accessories, which will increase profitability of the Venture and help build the Nourish brand on campus and in the community. “If we didn’t receive this capital, we would have continued to launch the Venture, though with a smaller budget of $200,” said Ventures Director Eliza Kinnealey. “The Syracuse Chapter is so excited to be given this opportunity to scale our Halloween Thrift Sale.”

Boston College and Hope College received honorable mentions, earning them each $50 for marketing purposes. Boston College will launch BC Cupcakes, an online cupcake delivery service that will allow parents, students and friends to purchase cupcakes for events or loved ones on campus. Hope College will invest in an on-campus coffee cart, where they will sell local coffee and baked goods in dorm lobbies. Stay tuned for updates on their progress!

 

 

 

 

2013-2014 Annual Report- Hot off the Press

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October 21, 2014 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Dear Nourish Supporters, Students, Staff, Alumni, Partners, and Friends: 

What a year we have had! I wanted to personally ensure you received a copy of our 13-14 Annual Report sharing highlights of our best year yet! With you, we saw the following success last year:

  • Nourish Chapter on 60 campuses across North America
  • Pilot Program launched at 5 high schools
  • 800 Active Nourish Students
  • 900 Nourish Alumni
  • $106,000 invested in sustainable development projects abroad
  • $167,000 earned through ventures with a 5:1 ROI
  • 28 Projects completed in 11 countries

It is my hope that you see the magnitude of Nourish’s work and the integral part you and your support plays in furthering this work. As you read through this Annual Report, I hope you are filled with pride in knowing that you made this success possible. We are filled with gratitude for your belief in our mission and your commitment to ensuring the success of our students as they become global change makers and develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

My Sincere Thanks,

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Kelly Leonhardt Phoenix

Executive Director

Nourish International

NI 13-14 Annual Report - Download by clicking the link