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    Partnering with “Me to We” Not Just for the Big Societies…

    For those of you who had the chance to hear Craig Kielberger’s presentation at the Alliance’s 2013 Annual Meeting, you have a good idea of what “Me to We” is all about – and how much energy and enthusiasm Craig and his team bring to their mission of enabling young people to help improve the lives of others through volunteerism.  If you didn’t experience Craig’s performance, then I suggest you check out this link and learn more about this organization.

    we day 7

    Inspired by Craig’s comments, a handful of Alliance member society executives wanted to determine how their societies could partner with “Me to We” in an effort to engage younger members and invigorate their community service activities.  In October, more than 20 representatives from Alliance member societies attended a “We Day” event in St. Paul, MN to witness firsthand the inherent power in harnessing young volunteers who share a common bond of wanting to help others.  I blogged about this event previously and my ears are still ringing.

    I felt like I was getting a preview of the future of the fraternal system, where this new common bond of “a commitment to service” took its place alongside fraternals’ more traditional bonds of faith, ethnicity, gender, and occupation.  These young people’s connections went beyond geography (although there is clearly value in being able to bring people together to participate in service projects).  Their social network connections allow them to work together in small groups on community service projects and social issues in which they believe across the country and around the world.  They have found the secret to forming “virtual” local chapters, and fraternals can learn an important lesson about effective (and cost effective) electronic organization techniques from the “Me to We” folks.

    This group of fraternal executives met with some key “Me to We” officials the following day to discuss partnership opportunities.  Because of the very large scope of the “Me to We” organization, it initially appeared that only larger societies would be able to realistically join forces with Craig and his team.  But as it turns out, that’s not the case.  Degree of Honor, whose staff served as adult chaperones for the October “We Day” event, was determined to find a way to make a relationship with “Me to We” work for their society.  Michelle Alberg, DOH’s Community Service and Sales Manager, spearheaded this project and her work can serve as a role model for other small and medium-sized societies.  Here is the latest information from Michelle that I wanted to share with you:

    “Our group is called Power of We. You can find us on Facebook .  We have 35 kids whose ages range from 12-19, and they are located throughout the Twin Cities. They come from several different schools and are really ready to make a difference.

    DOH We Day

    Last night, we had a speaker from the Free the Children organization attend our meeting. The kids were really engaged and have elected the following action plans:

    • We Create Change – all kids have at least three schoolhouse collection containers which they will fill with quarters. All funds collected will be turned-in next month. Through this program for every $20 in quarters that are collected, Me to We is able to pay for one brick for a new school.
    • We Are Silent – on April 17th, we will go silent. We will stand up for those whose voices are not heard and are denied human rights or those that are bullied. We will collect pledges for each hour we are silent.
    • We Scare Hunger – we are looking to partner with a local community center that has a food shelf within.
    • Brick by Brick – The BIG plan – the kids set a goal to raise the $10,000 to build a school. We set up a committee which will work on fundraising.  Some of the ideas that have already been discussed include a dance, a food drive and a weekend soccer tournament.

     We meet once a month and are trying to engage via electronic ways due to the schedules of these active kids. We will also be working on local projects in the spring, such as cleaning up local parks and spending the day at Feed My Starving Children.  I also want  to mention the amazing level of support that I have received from the Free the Children organization itself.  They do an outstanding job of supplying marketing and educational materials.  This is a truly wonderful partnership.”

    So, it appears that good things DO come in small packages.  Want to learn more about how DOH did it?  Please call or email Michelle at 651.228.7621 or malberg@degreeofhonor.com

    Got a great partnership opportunity you want to share with other members?  Post a comment here and email me the details at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org.

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