A-OK! Acts of Kindness Weekend, Syracuse, New YorkSeptember 11-12, 2010<br />A-OK! Acts of Kindness Weekend was an enormous and exhilarating endeavor for members of Women Transcending Boundaries who were involved in the planning. When we began to form our vision, we could not have imagined how totally engrossed each one of us would become in working toward organizing this weekend of civic engagement and volunteerism across the Greater Syracuse Community. Hundreds of volunteers worked on projects at about 30 sites:<br /><ul><li>Armory Square: Volunteers helped out with a large-scale street show by Imagine Syracuse.
Assisi Center: Children’s activities, health information, food, and potted plants were offered.
“Butternut Style”: Neighbors and businesses along Butternut Street worked together to repaint signs, repair porches, clean front yards, and plant flower bulbs.
Eastern Farm Workers Association: Dozens of bags of clothing were collected and transported; racks were built, and storage was set up and organized.
Elmcrest Children’s Center: Students prepared and served a meal for fire and police personnel.
Forman Park: A drumming circle was held, led by Rapha Community.
University United Methodist Church: A community breakfast was held for neighbors; children’s activities included baking cookies and delivering them to volunteers at a firehouse.
Vet Farms in Cicero: Many pounds of vegetables were harvested with the help of new immigrants, who were the recipients of some of the food.
West Side Learning Center: Several classrooms and a hallway were painted.
The Zen Center of Syracuse: Brush was cleared in preparation for placing a sculpture; invasive plant species along Onondaga Creek were removed.</li></ul>WHAT WENT WELL:<br />Community ties were strengthened across the Greater Syracuse area as individuals and organizations worked together to create a more hospitable and compassionate climate.<br />Planning sessions in various parts of the city stimulated new collaborations.<br />Creative and innovative ideas blossomed into projects.<br />There was excellent newspaper coverage as well as interviews on television and radio. The Syracuse International Film Festival filmed planning meetings and activities.<br />Medical staff from area hospitals offered health screenings at several sites.<br />FOLLOW UP:<br /><ul><li>The Butternut Style project has expanded, with additional volunteers and a corporate donor.
The Rahma Clinic received state certification and will be able to offer free health care to the uninsured by volunteer medical professionals.
LeMoyne students returned to plant additional trees at Sunnycrest Park, and some Syracuse University students signed up to tutor at the West Side Learning Center.</li></ul>COMMENTS:<br /><ul><li>“A-OK renewed my faith in all human beings. Unlike the bad news that we see and hear, people are caring and supportive of each other.”
“I am so grateful that you invited me to be a part of such an amazing community project.”</li></ul>“A-OK Weekend provided the impetus to get Labors of Love off the ground…. Without A-OK, I would probably be still just thinking about it.”<br />“Beyond the physical work, we enjoyed singing, dancing and laughing together.”<br />“This is the first year since 2001 that I wasn’t focused on the tragedy of 9/11 but on hope for the future.”<br />Women Transcending Boundaries, PO Box 6847, Syracuse, NY 13217 – www.wtb.org<br />