2021 Seats & Feets Campaign Thrives in Texas

2021 Seats & Feets Campaign Thrives in Texas

The Business Voices Teams in Austin and Houston, Texas have just completed their “Seats and Feet” campaign that collected socks and underwear to donate to local shelters and schools in the area. This amazing team of volunteers was successful in collecting over 28,975 items for their community!  

With over 26 Texas BNI Chapters participating in the fundraiser, these amazing Business Voices Teams could provide socks and underwear items to six organizations in the Austin, Houston, and Montgomery County areas. The group received donations from chapter members, through Amazon Smile donations, a partnership with Target (yes, that Target!), and from the generous donations of community members. 

With all of their hard work, it is no surprise that the Austin Team has done this before! This was the Austin Team’s 4th Annual Sock Drive and after hearing their community’s needs, they added underwear donations to the list too. Their happy hour donation drives proved to be a huge success and they even had help from Dr. Ivan Misner and BV rockstar, Becky Isbell.  

The Importance of the Seats & Feets Campaign:

  • More than one third of American parents say they worry about their child having enough socks and underwear.
  • Of the parents that reported sending their children to school without socks or underwear, 51% shared they did so because they could not afford to provide their child with enough pairs of socks or underwear to make it through the week.
  • 55% of children who did not have underwear and socks to wear wanted to skip school or refused to go to school because he or she was embarrassed by not having any socks or underwear to wear.
  • Sending children to school without socks or underwear not only affects the child, but it also has a profound emotional impact on the parents. Parents reported feeling worried, stressed, sad, disappointed and insecure as result of having to send their children to school without socks or underwear: 41% worried; 39% stressed; 39% sad; 34% disappointed; 28% insecure.
Source:
America’s Youth: The Need for Basic Necessities. A National Survey
Conducted for JCPenney and The Y by M

 

About the Organizations:

DePelchin Children’s Center: DePelchin Children’s Center believes that every child deserves to be safe and healthy. An accredited foster care and adoption agency, DePelchin serves the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and works to break the cycles of abuse and neglect.

Yes to Youth: YES to YOUTH – Montgomery County Youth Services strengthens the emotional and mental health development of youth and families by providing crisis intervention, counseling, and suicide prevention services. They provide a safe and nurturing home where abused, battered, sex-trafficked, homeless, and at-risk youth begin healing from the past and become empowered for the future.

Montgomery County Women’s Center: The Montgomery County Women’s Center has been committed for many years to providing a 24-hour hotline, safe shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy and legal services to survivors of family violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Texas Baptist Children’s Home: Texas Baptist Children’s Home’s residential program provides a safe home and a stable family environment where they can learn, grow, and ultimately experience a happy, healthy future. 

Central Texas Table of Grace: Their mission is to create a loving, nurturing, homelike environment for displaced youth, providing shelter and healthy food as well as teaching healthy habits and life skills to the youth in our care. 

Assistance League of Austin: The Assistance League of Austin’s “Operation School Bell” provide

s school-age children in need with a wardrobe of new school clothing, shoes, and toiletries. 

 

Key Austin BNI Chapters: 

  • BNI Profit Powerhouse 
  • BNI FPC 
  • BNI Circle of Trust 
  • BNI Rock Your Biz  
  • BNI CIA 
    BNI Live Oak  
  • BNI 360  
  • BNI Capital Connectors  
  • BNI Patriots of Profit

National Volunteer Week

In his proclamation, President Biden said volunteers provide “Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.” This week is National Volunteer Week, established by Presidential Proclamation in 1974 to recognize the impact of volunteers and to highlight the various opportunities available for those interested in volunteering.

Volunteers lend their time and talents to keep benevolent and essential organizations operating, face some of our greatest challenges and help provide services that may otherwise not be available to those who need them. They make our communities stronger and can sometimes produce transformative effects. This week we shine a light on the efforts of volunteers and consider ways we can make a difference.

Since its establishment, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially and today leads to thousands of projects and special events being organized around the country. All kinds of volunteering opportunities are available online, at places of work and in communities.

BNI member have an exclusive volunteering opportunity. The BNI Foundation was founded more than 20 years ago to improve tomorrow’s business through education today. The Business Voices Initiative helps BNI chapter members, as well as other business leaders and organizations, team up with and help schools and educational organizations in their communities. Visit our website for more information.

Take some time this week to consider the essential work of volunteers now and throughout history. You are sure to find inspiration to volunteer yourself.

Business Voices in Abruzzo Italy

Business Voices Redevelops Classrooms in Abruzzo Italy

Business Voices Ambassador, Samya Ilaria Di Donato, visited with 200 children from a primary school set to receive classroom redevelopments and new educational activities. The event was hosted by the Comprehensive Municipal Institute to support the redevelopment of classrooms and new educational activities for 900 students.

Samya Ilaria Di Donato, entrepreneur, mentor and author of Colours, was joined by members from the “Flaiano” Pescara BNI Chapter. Fifty entrepreneurs from Pescara have committed to serving the school in Spoltore which enrolls 900 students up to middle school age. Also present were vice-principal Rosaria Pignetti and teacher Roberta Rullo who is head of the continuity function and councilor for public education, youth policies and culture of the Municipality of Spoltore, The chapter members presented the students with hundreds of colored paper hands inspired by the Business Voices logo and meant as an inspiration to the children who will create Christmas greeting cards with proceeds of their sale going to finance school initiatives.

Di Donato illustrated how the project reflects the Business Voices and BNI Foundation ethos and its decades long mission to mobilize business in support of children and education around the world. “Business Voices is not a non-profit organization but a free return movement to the territory that aims to support schools with the awareness that the local business community can and should play a social role to inspire children and young people who will be professionals and entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” explained Di Donato. “We marry initiatives not through the collection of money but through the availability and generosity of our entrepreneurs and professionals.”

Aside from the chromatic redevelopment painting of the classrooms, an abandoned school bus will be transformed into a science laboratory and new trees will be planted in the garden.

Mentoring

Mentoring Benefits Children from all Backgrounds

The benefits of mentoring young people have been widely documented. Increased confidence, improved attitudes about school and learning, strengthened interpersonal relationships, reduced risk of drug use;  these are all likely outcomes when a caring and devoted adult takes on a guiding role in a child’s life. Mentoring can have a strong positive impact on development and has the potential to change a life for the better.

Mentoring has been shown to be particularly beneficial to disadvantaged children. A 2014 study by the National Mentoring Partnership found that an at-risk child who is mentored is:

  • 130% more likely to become a leader at their school
  • 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities
  • 78% more likely to volunteer in their community
  • 55% more likely to go to college

However, regardless of income level or available opportunities, the mentor/mentee relationship has been shown to foster intellectual, emotional and interpersonal growth.

What Makes a Good Mentor?

Being an effective mentor requires more than knowledge and experience. A mentor of children also needs patience and a fair amount of generosity. Here are some other traits that children respond to in a mentor.

Supportive – One of a mentor’s most important roles is being supportive and encouraging when the mentee is experiencing problems and obstacles in their life by listening to their concerns and reinforcing their belief in their own abilities.

Good Listener – Young children and teens often feel that adults do not listen to them in a meaningful way. A good mentor validates their mentee’s ideas and concerns with thoughtful listening.

Encouraging – Although children do not always respond well to pressure, they do respond to having high expectations set for them. Mentors should push mentees outside of their comfort zone and help them achieve goals they may have imagined were out of their reach by helping them trust their own instincts and abilities.

Business Voices and Mentoring

The BNI Foundation’s Business Voices initiative provides opportunities for mentoring school aged children to business professionals that would like to share their knowledge and experience and help children reach their potential. The Business Voices toolkit includes everything one needs to get started helping students and schools in their community including instructions on running a speed mentoring session at a local school. Speed mentoring is a group activity gives students and business leaders a taste of the mentoring relationship. Take a look at the toolkit for even more ways to become involved and make a positive impact in a student’s life.

Kids Need Us to Be in Their Stories

We were recently interviewing a school principal to learn more about how our local Austin Business Voices Team could help with the students’ and the school’s needs when she shared something that really jumped right out at me. She said, “While we have a lot of physical needs here, such as technology components, and science lab upgrades, what we need most are mentors for some of our most challenged youth.” She went on to share that for the population of students who come from challenging home environments, having interaction with successful business people like our BNI members could make a world of difference.

This is the heart of our Business Voices movement. We realize that where there are young people, there are needs that we can help with. I heard from a BNI director in another country, where education is managed differently than here in the US, who said that they don’t need to do school supply drives for their schools. Their governments provide thoroughly for the needs of the schools. And yet, I can’t help but think about the challenges of navigating through the teen-aged years, the emotional needs all developing young adults have, and how much caring and concerned members of their own communities could help them in any number of creative ways.

And so we have our call to action: who’s story are you in? What young person is going to look back on their life and remember YOU as the caring business owner he or she had interaction with that influenced their path in a positive way?

We invite you to learn more about our Business Voices Teams by exploring our website, joining us at Facebook on the BNI Foundation page, or signing up for one of our Launchpad Zoom Web Calls on the 4th Monday of the month.

The young people in our world are only 20% of our total population, but they are 100% of our future! How will you join us to be a positive contributor to their story?

Who Inspires You?

By Beth Misner, BNI Foundation President: Most of us can identify someone in our lives who has inspired us to do something more than we thought was possible to accomplish. There have been many people who have inspired me personally. My husband, Ivan, BNI Founder and my Co-Founder in the BNI Foundation, inspires me every day, and I know he has inspired a fair number of you, too. His heart beats to Givers Gain – it truly does inform his life and his teaching.

And Sir Richard Branson is someone who has inspired both me and my husband. His thoughts on Business being a part of solutions needed around the globe to the various challenges we face today inspired us on many levels, most of all within the BNI Foundation. He inspired us to reach deeper in the communities all around us to do more than simply find deserving teachers to whom to send our Givers Gain® Grants.

I have kept Sir Richard updated as YOU have embraced our Business Voices initiative – creating a conduit between Business and Education for children’s education. I shared just a few of the many amazing stories with him, all of which come as a result of his vision for Business getting our hands on challenges like the ones faced in Education. Those of you who are part of a Business Voices Team are inspiring us all.

It is overwhelming to have a concept and to watch people gather around it and move with me into the unknown – to watch Business Voices unfold in real time. It is amazing to me to think about how many children are going to have different, more positive experiences because you hear this call to reach into their lives and help where it is needed.

So, although addressed to me, I extend Sir Richard’s praise on where we are today with our movement to you, because you truly deserve the majority of the gratitude. You are the ones out there in the world constructing the conduit I could only envision. To you we say:

Business Has A Voice in Education

BNI Foundation Co-Founder and President, Beth Misner, had a chance meeting at a local, Austin restaurant with a family from Houston. Michael was here to attend a rally to ask our state government not to cut funding for programs that help medically fragile children with their needs, including learning and keeping up with their counterparts as they undergo necessary medical care.

You’ll love meeting Charlotte, Michael’s young daughter, as Beth interviewed her daddy about their efforts. Remember, Business Voices is an initiative of the BNI Foundation. Our Business Voices teams say: “Bureaucracy Not Involved.” How can we help education and kids? That’s our #1 question.

We are improving tomorrow’s business through education today. Our mission is to create a conduit between Business and Education for children’s educational needs. Charlotte is just one of the reasons why we do this!

Please leave a comment below if you want to join Beth in the BNI Foundation and help us help kids with our unique and powerful movement.

Business Voices – Powered by BNI

Austin, TX by Beth Misner:  Not long ago, I was incredibly fortunate to have three minutes to share the mission of Business Voices with a media and marketing expert, Joel Roberts. Joel is a former, prime-time, KABC radio talk show host in the #1 radio market in the world – Los Angeles. Today he is President of his own media and communications consulting firm based in LA and New York. His clients range from major publishers and best-selling authors to Fortune 500 corporations such as Lockheed-Martin, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, Wal-Mart and Target. He also coaches many prominent politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs like Kinkos founder, Paul Orfalae, and celebrities, including rock star Kenny Loggins.

And for just a few minutes, I was blessed that he was MY impromptu coach while I explained what I am bringing into the world through my vision for Business Voices. As I gave Joel my 60-second presentation about Business Voices, I could see him growing more excited. I told him that I can see entrepreneurs have a unique way of viewing challenges and addressing problems, and when business owners find out more about what the needs of local schools and educational organizations are, they are able to provide creative and effective solutions that are not wrapped in a lot of red tape.

Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 4.21.56 PMAt this point, he nearly leapt up off his chair. “BNI, BNI,” he said, “You say it stands for Business Network International, but with your Business Voices initiative, you could also say it stands for Bureaucracy Not Involved!

He nailed it . . . his perception of why this movement is catching hold so easily and quickly was insightful and exciting. That’s exactly it — We as business owners are not held back by the bureaucracy that is creating such paralyzing difficulties for educators to teach well, impeding their access to the resources they need to keep kids engaged and interested, and causing many other challenges they face.

I was first struck by this realization after having a long conversation with Richard Branson about his B Team concept. If you follow my social media, you will have no doubt seen the photo of Ivan and Richard that I pulled out of an iPhone video I made of the two of them talking about the B Team and how business could make huge, positive differences in the world. He is exactly right!

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 11.03.36 PMAnd where better to start unleashing this vision for creating a conduit between Business and Education than within BNI, an organization filled with entrepreneurs who live by a Givers Gain philosophy and are able to embrace a movement whose rallying cry is Bureaucracy Not Involved?

The support of the business community is like a giant pair scissors that slashes right through the red tape that keeps teachers tied up. As a global citizen, I personally am tired of watching our teachers and schools struggle to operate in such a highly dysfunctional system.

Business Voices is an idea whose time has come — Bureaucracy Not Involved — and we need you to help us get on top of this huge area of concern. Will you help us?

Learn more about our movement.

Stephanie Star newest BNI board member

BNI Foundation Welcomes Starr Director to the Team

Charlotte, NC – January 10, 2017: “The BNI Foundation is poised for a watershed year due to  the support of our newest team member,” says Board Chair, Jeff Stay of Miami, FL.

With a focus on children and education, the BNI Foundation received it’s non-profit status earlier this year.  “We are thrilled to announce that Stephanie Starr has joined our Charlotte, NC-based team as our Executive Director,” Stay continues.

Stephanie graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS degree in Psychology and Hunter College School of Social Work with a MSW. She obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate in August 2016 and has been a LCSW, licensed clinical social worker since April 1997.

“Stephanie’s 14+ years of leadership and management experience in both for-profit and non-profit agencies will benefit the BNI Foundation’s operations,” according to Stay.

Starr’s former roles included directing complex strategic business initiatives in the areas of process improvement, organizational transformation, organizational restructuring, and human capital management. Some of her accomplishments in her last position at a non-profit agency include increasing the agency budget by 67%, increasing annual campaign gifts by 41%, implementing a comprehensive and integrated client and donor software system, rebranding the agency (including logo), updating the agency website, developing a donor stewardship and legacy program, and revamping and overhauling all workflows and operations.

“We are very excited to bring Stephanie into the BNI Foundation to help us achieve our ambitious organizational goals,” maintains Stay.

Stephanie has lived in Charlotte for almost 21 years with her husband, Steve and their three children. “I am very excited to use my skills and expertise to benefit a non-profit with such a great focus and opportunities as the BNI Foundation,” Starr shares.

With BNI Foundation affiliates in five countries, Starr now has the opportunity to expand her horizons beyond the confines of Charlotte.

To learn more about the BNI Foundation, go to www.BNIFoundation.org.

 

Peck Elementary's NBA Never Been Absent program

Peck Elementary’s “NBA” Program

We’re always looking for ways to make success easier for kids, either by removing barriers or providing incentives for focusing on studies. Peck Elementary of Greensboro, NC has worked extensively alongside Business Voices members to great benefit. Most recently, this came in the form of a new program to reward good attendance.

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