Human Services and Boardsmanship Day – June 2014


By Chuck Hutson, LGS ’14 Design Team Member

Is that the “Mission Impossible theme song I hear?  No, its Mission POSSIBLE!

2014 Human Services and Boardsmanship Day launched on schedule with a Mission Possible theme at the Rescue Mission at 0800 on 11 June 2014.

We started with “Leading to Changing Lives” with an eye-opening video produced by Rescue Mission New York City, which effectively demonstrated how easy it is to overlook the homeless.  The video featured normal people who walking down the street did not notice their very own family members who were co-opted to pose as homeless people.  It was a real attention-getter as to how society tends to marginalize and depersonalize the homeless.  Mr. Alan Thornton, Chief Executive Officer of the Rescue Mission went on to demonstrate the many innovative ways the Rescue Mission is responding to real-world, emerging needs of the homeless, here in Syracuse, Binghamton, Ithaca, and Auburn.  The class was awed by both the compassion and innovative methods of the Rescue Mission!

The class then launched the Mission Possible signature event where we split up into 10-12 person rescue squads to donate volunteer services to the Rescue Mission.  Mission Results show we contributed over 70 volunteer hours, by stuffing over 4,500 envelopes, sorting 26 large bags of donated clothing, prepping food for the Rescue Mission’s lunch and dinner, and supporting clothing outreach in the store which served over 50 constituents that day.  Did you know the Rescue Mission in Syracuse serves 750 meals per day on average??

Then we were blessed to hear from Mr. Frank Lazarski, President of United Way of Central York, who gave a lively and educational presentation about the Basics of Boardsmanship.  Mr. Lazarski’s presentation culminated in his challenge to the Class of 2014 to seriously evaluate where it will be and what impact it will have by 11 June 2015!

Rescue Mission “Reconnaissance and Provisioning” was up next.  The class toured the Rescue Mission facilities and enjoyed lunch in the Rescue Mission dining facility.  Did you know the rescue mission campus is 8 acres and 5 buildings right in the heart of the City of Syracuse?  Who knew?

Guest Speaker Philip Zaccheo, Esq., Attorney from Bond, Schoeneck, and King, then delivered a very informative session regarding the Legal Obligations of Not-for-Profit Board Members.  Did you know that the State of New York passed the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013, the provisions of which are effective 1 July 2014?  We do!

The highlight of the day was an awesome panel discussion moderated by the Mr. Ron Lombard, News Director of Time Warner Cable News (LGS ‘06).  Ron facilitated discussion and fielded class questions for a panel of five guest speakers representing lesser known not-for-profit human services organizations.

Erin Bortel, Director of Prevention Services from ACR Health (LGS ’12)

Heather Rodriguez, Board of Managers of GiGi’s Playhouse

Mary Ellen Clausen, Founder of Ophelia’s Place

Peter Sarver, Director of Welch Terrace

And our very own Mary Nelson, Founder of The Mary Nelson Youth Center (LGS ’14)

We closed Human Services of Boardsmanship Day by a mission debrief and comedy parody focusing on Service Before Self….that is putting the needs of a greater cause above that of our own.

LGS ‘14 again wants to thank all of its guest speakers and hosts for making this day possible, especially the Rescue Mission not only for hosting, feeding, and coordinating our event, but above all, working boots-on-the-ground to deliver the everyday human services our community needs.

In summary, LGS ‘14, learned the business behind humanitarian services and is poised, ready, and able to launch Mission Possible—getting involved to make our community a better place!