Welcome to the STC's Caring News
In lieu of our usual STC Newsletter, I thought it might be an interesting change of pace to share my recent “Points Of Light” conference experience. 
Sheila's Points of Light Certificate
I received an invitation from L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth/Points of Light to attend and they graciously covered my conference fee. This came about because, back in 2011, I was recognized as a Woman of Worth Honoree and was a recipient of a 2013 “Daily Point of Light Award” (#4930).

~ Sheila
Services Unites
Attending the Service Unites: Points of Light Conference was like a “booster shot” to keep the importance of the STC model and all the efforts of STC groups top of mind. It’s easy to dismiss all the little and big things we do to help others as nothing. I’m here to remind you that they are critical and in case you haven’t heard these words in a while…THANK YOU!!!!
Service Unites was held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Part of the hotel is now the CNN Center.  The Omni is a great hotel for a conference as it was super easy to get around and find the individual sessions as they were all contained in one section of the building across four levels. Just outside of the hotel was beautiful park so I took a walk around to check out the ferris wheel and a water park for kids and I began to immerse myself in the gentler pace of the South.

Atlanta Park
CNN Atlanta tour 1
Monday, June 18
The Conference Begins
Points of Light - Conference Materials
The Service Unites: Points of Light Conference drew 2,500 individual volunteers working with programs, non-profits, government, business and civic organizations who traveled to join in sharing, connecting and working toward global change through volunteerism.
What is Points of Light?

Points of Light is the largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.
They mobilize people to take action on causes they care about through 
innovative programs, events and campaigns. They are helping volunteers 
everywhere change the world.

The Points of Light Tribute Awards is an annual event that celebrates one of President George H. Bush’s greatest legacies. 25 years ago he created Points of Light out of his belief than “any definition of a successful life must include serving others.”

The Opening Plenary

 Everyone was bused to the Opening Plenary at the Fox Theatre. It dates b ack to 1929, a time when movie  theaters were pretty spectacular. Few massive theatre’s like this are still in existence.

Fox Theatre
We poured into the theatre to the sounds of drums and dancing. The energy just kept building as we found our seats for the three-hour event to begin. 
As the event unfurled there were three areas identified as the bedrock to our future:

  • Water – most vital resource 
  • Women – most under utilized resource
  • Youth – mobilizing youth for our future
It was a star-studded event with music, passionate and inspirational speakers including: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Neil Bush, Chairman, Board of Directors Points of Light, Olympic Skater Adam Rippon; Student Leaders from Parkland, Florida, Jaclyn Corin, Emma Gonzaalez and Alex Wind; Natalye Pacquin, Esq, Points of Light President & CEO; Brooke Shields; Jessie Williams and so many more.

I was particularly taken by Storytelling Youth Activist, Spoken Word Poet Amal Kassirmas she recited her piece “At The Table.” A very powerful presence. She blew it out of the water!

Neil Bush at Fox Theatre
Parkland FL Students
To view videos of all of the speakers

Needless to say the audience was totally energized by this amazing kick off!!!!

Conference Sessions
This was a huge conference with more than 100 workshops built around: Building Resilient Communities; Business; Disaster Preparedness and Response; Faith; Global; Higher Education; Military and Veterans; National Service; Nonprofit Capacity Building; Nonprofit Volunteer Engagement / Service Enterprise; Tech in Volunteerism; Youth Engagement

In addition to the Opening and Closing Plenary I attended the following 90-minute Workshops: 

  • Encouraging Volunteering within the Military Community
  • Corporate Partnerships: Building Relationships Not Transactions
  • Rapidly Scaling Global Initiatives: What is the Secret Sauce to to Effectively and Quickly Launch a Global Initiative?
  • Create and Manage Cross-Sector Partnerships That Work!    
  • Can 30 Minutes of Virtual Volunteering a Week Change the World
  • Military Families: An Untapped Volunteer Resource

I was able to network with quite a number of folks from: Colorado; Georgia; California; New York; Chicago and Connecticut. I have already connected with a few of them on LinkedIn and plan to follow up with several who are involved in programs that include caregiving.

Below are brief outlines of two sessions about the Military and one on Global Initiatives.

In the below Session Outlines, Sheila's observations are in italics.
Military Session Presentation
Encouraging Volunteerism within the Military Community
Tephanie Hopper
Manager, Fort Bliss Army Volunteer Corps Program
Volunteers are critical for Army programs and have the ability to extend the Army's budget by millions of dollars annually. However, recruiting, training and tracking volunteers can be a challenge. This workshop explained the five W’s for military volunteers (who, why, when, where and what) and how to recruit, train, sustain and track volunteers in military communities.
Those of you reading this are probably are not aware that I grew up in Europe (Germany, Italy) back in the day when there were military bases all over the world with large populations of Military and families. My dad was a Department of the Army Civilian for the American School Systems (teacher, principal, Superintendent of Schools) so just like the military we moved many times. I was essentially an “army brat” as we were/are called. It was a very unique upbringing and unless you’ve experienced it, you don’t quite “get it”. I can say that I have soft spot in my heart for the military and their families (then and now) who give up so much to keep our country safe.
I remembered how critical it is for military families to continually seek ways to integrate into new communities wherever they are stationed. One of the best ways they do it is through volunteerism.
I made an effort to introduce the people at my table to the STC group model of volunteering for a friend or neighbor and why it is a valuable resource. I had an opportunity, chosen by my table, to speak about STC to the rest of the people in the session. 
Military Families as Volunteers
Military Families:
An Untapped Volunteer Resource
Community Engagement & Training Manager, Blue Star Families
Chapter Engagement and Opportunity Manager, Blue Star Families
Description :
A recent survey conducted by Blue Star Families found that military family respondents reported volunteering at rates three times higher than the general US population, and 93% of military and veteran families feel that working with others to improve conditions in their community is an important civic responsibility.  
Blue Star Families is a terrific program for Military families. One of their key programs is “Caregivers Empowering Caregivers” that targets military family members caring for their veteran or service member. They have workshops, coaching and digital resources. 
I was excited to introduce Leah and Kate to our STC materials and I plan to follow up with them.
Points of Light - Global Impact Side
Rapidly Scaling Global Initiatives: What is the Secret Sauce to Effectively and Quickly Launch a Global Initiative?
(Moderator) Hannah Wojno Director, International
Good Deeds Day
Founder and CEO, The Women’s Information Network
Data System Manager
Days for Girls
Description : Scaling Impact internationally can be extremely complex. Usually there are several actors, variables, and barriers that make the scaling process difficult to navigate. In this workshop you will learn how to plan, develop, and execute a global Initiative quickly, effectively, and sustainably. (I was interested in this subject as STC is in 13 other countries that we know of.)
The Good Deeds Day” program was started in Israel and runs entirely online.  Today, GDD is connected to 20,000 projects in 100 countries. Their website is available in 12 languages. They focus on making people aware of the benefits derived from volunteering (for the volunteer and those they help). This program is a kind of connector that helps build awareness. The speaker emphasized that time and patience is needed to work with many global partners as everyone works/thinks differently and requires patience and persistent to get attract groups or ngo’s (non government organizations). I left with a dream of our STC website and book in Spanish and French.
Dr. Paula Fellingham is Founder and CEO of the Women’s Information Network an educational and social network for women and the global community.  Dr. Fellingham and her team work with Peace Ambassadors worldwide to fulfill their mission “to increase the level of love, prosperity, and peace on Earth.” Dr. Fellingham was a wonderful speaker and made a point to the attendees about the importance of creating a powerful video about the work we do for our organization and make sure it is top quality.
Melissa Moody, Days for Girls, spoke about technology designed to keep huge numbers of volunteers and team members connected across many countries. However I found the story of what her organization does most compelling. Days for Girls designs and creates washable sanitary products for women and girls in Africa, India and other countries where none are available. You would be amazed at the number of prototypes they went through to achieve the best solution. Typically during the menstrual cycle, women and girls are confined to a hut until their period is over resulting in them missing school and falling behind in their education. Days for Girls products have totally changed that scenario.

The Last Day
Sheila and Shandra in Atlanta
I met up with Jia Gayles, our Points of Light/Women of Worth contact person and she introduced me to the 2017 Women of Worth Honoree Winner Shandra Woworuntu….an amazing woman who is a Lobbyist, Consultant and Survivor Advocate. She is a victim and survivor of human trafficking and domestic violence herself, and helps other survivors with support and resources including helping them find shelter and employment. Her personal story is especially moving. She is a very brave and compassionate woman. 

After the sessions we took a ride on the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel (compliments of Women of Worth) and had dinner together so we could share our stories and learn about each others work.
Atlanta Ferris Wheel
THANK YOU to everyone who recently made a donation to STC to help cover the travel/hotel/conference costs for attending this and three other important conferences in the fall where I will, in two cases, be a speaker and on a panel for the third.
Thank you L'Oréa l and Bravo Points of Light!
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