Human Services & Boardsmanship – The Power of One

by Sarah Moses and Rebecca Hoda-Kearse, Class of 2015 design team members

The theme of the Human Services & Boardsmanship Day was Discover the Power of One. The day kicked off with the design team sharing stories of how they discovered their power of one. The stories were captured in a 10-minute video that was used to launch the day.

The chief executive officer of the Rescue Mission was the first guest of the day. Alan Thornton welcomed everyone to the Rescue Mission. He told the group about what the Rescue Mission does and how they try to provide hope to those they feed, clothe and provide shelter to.

The group was next off to get a hands-on experience of the Rescue Mission.  The groups painted, worked in the Thrifty Shopper and volunteered in the mailroom and food pantry.

Following the volunteer experience, Ann Rooney, the Onondaga County deputy county executive for human services, introduced the group to the county-run human service programs. Ann also discussed human services issues that affect Central New York.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with a tour of the Rescue Mission campus. LGSers broke up in our groups for the day and were able to experience everything the Rescue Mission has to offer including the soup kitchen, the Thrifty Shopper store, the shelter, the day room and the new building, which is currently under construction. LGSers frequently commented on how they were surprised to learn how big the Rescue Mission campus is and how many services they offer.  Most of the LGSers had never seen the shelter and that was a particularly special part of the tour.

After the tour, LGSers were treated to lunch at the Rescue Mission in the soup kitchen. The meal gave LGSers a chance to experience a typical lunch at the Mission. 

Frank Lazarski, president of the United Way of Central New York, spoke to the group to kick off the afternoon sessions.  Frank explained the basics of serving on a board of directors and how many opportunities exist through leadership.

Frank explained the purpose of truly understanding an organization before you join the board.  He suggests that board members check out or to see financial documents and other information about an organization before you join.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Frank told the group.

Christine Woodcok Dettor, a lawyer for Bousquet Holstein and LGS class of 2003 graduate, talked about the legal responsibility a member of the community takes on when he or she decides to join a board of directors.  She explained to the group that board members are unpaid volunteers with a lot of responsibilities, including legal responsibilities.

Next it was time for LGSers to truly discover the power of one. Groups split up for an activity that got the class standing and talking, something that we all love to do. The Engaging your Engagement was facilitated by class members Rebecca Hoda-Kearse and Natalia Cagide Elmer. LGSers mulled over three questions that would help the class come up with an action item – something that they can do in the next six months to discover the power of one. The group had several ideas:

  • Get family involved in charity work.
  • Start volunteering at Vera House.
  • Be a mentor to new board members at various organizations.

We are also very hopeful that some LGSers will continue to discover the power of one at the Rescue Mission.

The class wrapped up with an inspirational guest speaker Sam Rowser. He shared his emotional life story with the group. A tale that is best heard straight from Sam’s mouth about how he battled addiction, homelessness and prison to become the deputy director of On Point for College. Sam embodies the true meaning of the power of one.