Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1,000,000 kind acts

1 Million Kind Acts - Let's change the world!

There are all sorts of kind acts that we can do for each other. Our newest project is to complete 1,000,000 kind acts throughout the remainder of the year. Please email your stories (and photos, if you have them) of nice things being done for those who need it. We can all make this world a better place if we just give a little of ourselves. Each and every one of us has the opportunity to make someone’s life better. Let’s take that opportunity and make the most of it.

For instance, you can:

1. Help a neighbor carry in their groceries from the car
2. Lend a neighbor a hand with a project (such as fencing or roofing)
3. Smile at a stranger
4. Stop to see if someone needs help if they are broken down by the side of the road
5. Bring you neighbor (whom you know or don’t know) a pie or cake
6. Mow your neighbor’s lawn
7. Help your neighbor push their car out of the snow
8. Let someone stay with you while they get their finances in order
9. Help someone with their homework
10. Compliment someone on their dress or suit
11. Make, and hand out, some sandwiches (peanut butter or baloney) to homeless people in your area
12. Offer your professional services for free to someone who needs it
13. Pay for the groceries for the person in front of you
14. Pay for the coffee for the person in line behind you
15. Free your neighborhood of garbage by doing a (group?) trash pick up
16. Combine you and your neighbor’s resources and do something for another neighbor in need
17. Greet every new neighbor that moves onto your block with a smile and a handshake
18. Volunteer your time to help anyone in need
19. Understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes
20. Let a car cut in front of you without getting upset

These are just 20 of the examples we thought of. Please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and tell us your stories. We will post every story on our website so that we can give new ideas to people and, maybe, just maybe, make this world a better place. We would love 1 million stories by the end of the year. Do you think it can be done? Please let us know what you are doing or have done, for your neighbors, friends and family. Take care.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Busy week starting tomorrow 4/28!

Good morning to all!

This is going to be a really busy week and we could sure use some help. We have quite a few projects going on and we would love to get them all completed! We still need some neighbors to sign up for these projects and can't do all of this alone.

The first project we have going on is Project #24 that involves sheet rocking, mudding and taping and painting a small bedroom and bathroom This project is scheduled to happen on Wednesday the 29th. The next is Project #27 that is basically patching a few small holes and painting an office and hallway for a battered women's and children's shelter We are scheduled to be there on Thursday the 30th. The next on the list is to finish is Project #19. We still need to rototill, build a garden, lay a brick pathway, haul some debris away and to build an arbor. We are looking at going out all day Friday the 1st of May. Also on tap for this week is just the moving of some large potted plants, from inner SE to N Portland. Anyone with a truck or small pickup could get this one done.

If you can lend a hand with any of these projects, please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and let us know which project(s) you are going to help with. Thank you!

We also have a lot of other projects coming up and we need more help! If anyone has some time to give to your neighbors in need, we would really love to hear from you. Thank you all for everything that you have been doing for our communities and keep up the great work!!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We've Got Time to Help is asking for help

It's ironic, I suppose, that Michelle and I (Seth) have been avoiding, at all costs, asking directly for help for us. We tell people to call or write us if they need help. We extoll the virtues of asking for help and counting on us and all of our neighbors to help meet your needs. We firmly believe that everyone should feel comfortable in asking for help from neighbors, both known and unknown. And yet, we put it off asking for help for a million reasons. Fear. Doubt. Frustration. I guess it's time that we practice what we preach. We have a link of the sidebar that says that if you would like to donate items, please contact us, but we haven't ever created a post about it.

Please understand and believe us when we say any donations we get will go directly to We've Got Time to Help projects and we are not asking for personal gain. That is not who we are or what we are about.

So, here's the deal. We need lots of tools, equipment and other various items, so that we can continue to help everyone that asks. We were hoping not to do this but the times we are living in make it necessary. Michelle and I (Seth) are asking for donations of any kind and we have put up a "wish list" for our community organization.

Everyday, we are getting more and more requests for help, and we find ourselves in need of items that Michelle and I can no longer afford to purchase or rent on our own.

Some of the items on our wish list are big items. We understand. But, it can't hurt to ask. Maybe someone doesn't have a need for it anymore and wants for the item to go to good use. We have been able to do so much good already, and we will continue to do so even if we don't get a single donation. We will always do whatever we can to help others in need.

Also, please know that we have done (and will continue to do) everything we can to raise money. Odd jobs, sold personal items on craigslist, selling homemade bird food, and we use any extra income (from Michelle's job) for We've Got Time to Help. We are trying our very best.

Here is our wish list:

Painting supplies - Paint Brushes, Rollers, scrapers, tape, etc.
Yard/Garden tools - Gloves, shovels, rakes, hoes, trowels, pruners/loppers, etc.
Drywall tools - Mesh tape dispensers, joint knives, taping knives, trowels, etc.
Plumbing tools -Wrenches, auger/snake, pipe cutter, etc.
General/Power tools- drills, hand saws, hammers, sockets and wrenches, clamps, tool box, etc.
UPDATE 5/26: We had a wonderful woman donate some garden tools and a 16' aluminum ladder! Tall (16 or more foot) ladders

Supplies/materials that we could use:

Lumber - 1x4, 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, etc. - We could also use fencing material and hardware
Roofing - we have a couple of smaller roofing jobs, but we cannot afford to purchase the materials
Ready-mix concrete and mortar
Hardware - All types of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, etc.
Joint compounds (mud) and tape, caulking, etc.

Here come the really big items:

Pickup Truck - When we started this, we didn't know that we would have a need for one so quickly. We thought that we could wait for a year or two, but we underestimated how many people were hurting out there.

(UPDATE) 5/26: We now have the rights for wevegottimetohelp.com and .org. We will be working on it for a few weeks and hopefully have it up and running sometime in June.
Website - A website would be so much more user friendly than the blog. We could put so much more information on it and be able to help that many more people.

Laptop - When we are out on projects, we are not near our home computer and there have been too many times that we have missed an emergency email or we need to find information for a project or we need to post a quick call for help.

Major tools - Lawn mowers, weed eaters, chainsaw, edgers, trimmers, air compressor, nail guns, power saws, etc.

If we could get some of these items, we would be in such better shape. We don't want anyone to feel obligated to donate items. We just thought that maybe there were some unused items out there that could be put to some great use. Basically, we need just about anything you can think of as our project list is extremely varied (and continues to grow).

Thank you so much to those who have already donated items and money. You are truly wonderful and giving. Normally, we would go without rather than to ask for such grand items. But in this case, if we can get the items we need, we could literally help hundreds and (and eventually) thousands more. If you can donate, please contact us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and let us know!

Thank you again to everyone who has donated time, energy and goods to help those in need.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Extended Neighbor Network

From dictionary.com the definition of Neighbor:

1. a person who lives near another.
2. a person or thing that is near another.
3. one's fellow human being: to be generous toward one's less fortunate neighbors.
4. a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.

From the first days of We've Got Time to Help Michelle and I have said, as loud and as clear as possible, that we will gather volunteers from all the different communities in Portland to help those in need. No matter what the need, if we gather enough volunteers, we can accomplish anything.

Great concept, wrong wording.

To get "volunteers" to help others is an antiquated way of thinking. Gathering "volunteers" was the old way of doing business. We were caught up in old habits. We now see the error of our ways.

Instead, (see numbers 3 and 4 above) we are all, and always have been, neighbors. It doesn't get any more clear or all-encompassing than "one's fellow human being". We feel ashamed for not seeing it before.

So, from now on, We've Got time to Help does not have "volunteers" that will help others in need. We have neighbors that are willing to cross the street or cross the river to help a fellow human being in need. We are all neighbors on this big, round rock and if we could all start to look at it that way, we think it might be just a little bit easier to help one another out in times of need.

We will now call We've Got Time to Help's group of "volunteers" (including ourselves) neighbors in the Extended Neighbor Network. How cool does that sound? We think that, if we can all look at it like we are just neighbors helping neighbors, not only will this be easier for people to offer assistance, but it might make it easier for one of our neighbors in need to reach out for help.

We're not helping a complete stranger, we're just helping a neighbor out that we haven't had the pleasure to meet yet. We're not volunteering, we are just giving a neighbor a hand.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Extreme Yard Makeover update

Well, yesterday was PHENOMENAL! We had over a dozen volunteers show up and take time to help someone they don't even know. It literally gave us chills. Things are changing. There is a new type of thinking and a new type of community emerging from these dark times. It is tremendous to see that change and lucky enough to be a part of it.

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers yesterday: Aaron, Mel, Meri, Mary, Brooke (and Captain Jack), Kelli, Abby, Julie, Dwane, Cindi, Lucas, Ryan, Louanne and Seth. Absolutely incredible!

It was a great day and we got so much work done. There is still more work to do and, hopefully, we can get some more people out there within the next week or so. We still need to rototill, lay bricks down around the flower beds and build an arbor for the large grapevine in the back. If there is anyone that would like to volunteer to build the arbor, that would be great!

Seth and Trevor are going over to the project this afternoon with a truck and a trailer to haul all of the debris away to the dump. Let's get another group together next week and finish this project up! Who's coming with us?

Here are some photos from yesterday. We will be taking more and posting them soon. Thanks again to everyone yesterday. You are all tremendous human beings!

4 trees had to come out along the back fence.

Cleanup after the trees came down.

Weeding, weeding, weeding!

This area of the yard...before


Digging out a new herb garden!

Overgrown rose bush...before
Some of the 12,000,000 bricks that needed to be separated into various piles.

Just a couple of the yard debris piles.
We can't thank you enough for all of your hard work!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Got Time to Change a Life?

We've Got Time to Help. We've Got Time to Help strengthen communities. We've Got Time to Help each other. We've Got Time to Help pay it forward. We've Got Time to Help others stand strong when they are at their weakest. We've Got Time to Help shine light even on the darkest of days. We've Got Time to Help total strangers. We've Got Time to Help change the way communities think. We've Got Time to Help promote social responsibility. We've Got Time to Help show our neighbors that we care. We've Got Time to Help change the world.

These are just a few of the phrases that we have used over the last couple of months. They are but a few of the reasons why we started We've Got Time to Help.

This is the first major call that we have made for volunteers. We have many, many projects and we could use some more volunteers to help us get them done. We get calls for help almost every day and only a portion of the projects actually make it to the blog. A lot of them are taken care of almost immediately.

Our next big project is, what we affectionately call, The Extreme Yard Makeover. We could definitely use some more people on this one. This is a great chance for everyone to get out and help a deserving family while meeting others in your community who are as committed as you are to Paying it Forward. Please give us a call at 503-953-6018 or email wevegottimetohelp@q.com to find out more details.

You don't need any specific skills, just a willingness to get your hands dirty. Even if you can only spare an hour or two, it would be such a big help. It will be a lot of work but it will also be a lot of fun, and even more importantly...it will be worth it.

Believe me, we understand that it's hard. It's hard to volunteer to help someone with their yard when you don't have time to tend to your own. It's hard to help a total stranger when you have a world of troubles on your mind. It's hard to step out of your comfort zone and meet with a group of strangers. Please know that we completely understand.

We come home almost every day tired, sore and wondering if we are in over our heads. Then, we get up the next day and do it all again. If it wasn't worth it, we wouldn't do it. But we get up every day, with smiles on our faces (and Ibuprofen in hand), with a strong feeling of community, and the knowledge that we have, even in some small way, made a difference in someone's life.

Let me tell you, my friends, it doesn't get any better than that.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

OPB and Community Involvement

We were contacted last week by Sarah Rothenfluch from Oregon Public Broadcasting's show, Think Out Loud. This is such a great opportunity for us to get the word out about what we do and how we can help people. The show will run from 9am-10am on Monday. Please, spread the word and let anyone in your community know that we are here to help them in any way we can. Sarah's approach to this story is fitting the pieces of our community into a larger social puzzle.

She will also be interviewing a prior customer of Modern Color (the small business that we helped close their doors) and how he had to reduce his advertising budget which directly affected Modern Color; how Desi Miller and crew turned Modern Color into Moso Graphics; how Michelle and I (Seth) turned unemployment into a positive experience and how a laid-off heavy equipment operator used F.I.D.O. (Friends Involved in Dog Outreach) to help him provide food for his animal allowing him to keep his pets instead of having to turn them over to a shelter. If you have time please listen to this informative community driven program.

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Springboard Social Innovation Forum

On Wednesday, Michelle and I (Seth) attended the Springboard Social Innovation Forum that is held monthly at the Urban Grind Coffee House It was a tremendous gathering of groups and individuals that are doing what they can to make all of our communities better places to live, work and play. A Springboard's website motto: "Get enraged. Get engaged. Get busy." How cool of a motto is that?!?!?

From the Springboard website:
"The Springboard Social Innovation Forum offers a monthly event designed to support those interested in creating a better future. Our focus is to help practitioners or potential pratictioners of social projects push beyond discussion and debate into action. Each Forum will inspire and teach with ideas, powerful role models, and stories. Speakers, content experts, panels, and workshops will help you improve your strategies for planning and launching effective social ventures. The Forum will create a context to connect, learn, and take action around ideas that lead to tangible change—all in a venue designed for building community."

The speakers that night were Randy White from Bright Neighbor; Samantha Mafchir from MicroMentor; Skip Newberry from Portland Is Better Together and Amy Pearl from The ChangeXchange.

The first speaker was Randy White from Bright Neighbor. He was intelligent, energetic, and informative. When you go to the Portland Bright Neighbor site, you will need to creat a log-in, but please believe us when we tell you...it's worth it!

From Bright Neighbor's Portland website:
"Bright Neighbor is a Portland community system that helps Portlanders discover our neighbors, coordinate community projects and groups, share stuff, lend and track things, sell and barter stuff, network better, save money, learn new things like growing and preserving food, finding people that live near you with similar interests, ride-share, and much more."

We consider ourselves very like-minded with Bright Neighbor. We aspire to be a lot like Bright Neighbor when we grow up. The are a tremendous group of people and Randy White is a great community leader. Please check them out!

There were so many great ideas and people that there isn't enough space to write about it all here. Please check out the different links and find your path! We will add more about the other groups that spoke at this event and other groups that we learned about while attending the forum, in the near future so check back often!!

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Bark Dust, Weeds and Stones- Oh My!!

This should have been posted about a week ago. Jen and Aric are tremendously generous people.

We received a call a couple of weeks ago from a woman who needed help. She indicated she had Multiple Sclerosis and had recently fallen. She had purchased some bark dust and was now unable to spread the bark dust around her flower beds. We sent out an email to our volunteers.

Jen and Aric responded with what seemed to be the speed of light. We had not even had a chance to post about it yet and they had already been out and taken care of this woman. Besides helping spread the bark dust they ended up pulling weeds, raking, and putting in a stone walkway so she could use her walker between rows of plants.

Thanks to both of you, Jen and Aric, for always offering to go above and beyond what is asked or expected!!

Below are some photos showing what a great job they did!!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Moving last Saturday

Well, our moving project went off really well on Saturday the 4th. We moved a wonderful woman from inner SE Portland out to Gresham. We had 5 volunteers for the move. Thank you so much to Igor, Mel, Trevor, Michelle and Seth.

So, even though we had 4 cars and 1 truck to pack up, we ended up making 2 trips. It went smoothly, though. This lovely woman was very thankful and we couldn't be happier to have helped!

Thank you again to everyone. You are changing people's lives and giving them renewed hope in humanity!

Here are a few photos of the move and we wish you all the best.

Here is Igor's vehicle, crammed to the hilt with boxes and bags.

Mel, helping load up the vehicles.

Trevor, Igor (in the background) and Seth getting the door for Trevor.

Another one of the cars getting stuffed with items.

Igor (left) and Seth (right) finishing up with the first load.
And because Michelle was doing all the picture taking, as well as helping move, and I wasn't thoughtful enough to snap some of her, I am posting a photo of her from December of last year. Yes, she is wearing antlers.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

The Portland Upside

We had a wonderful conversation today with Rob and Sara, the creators of The Portland Upside. They came over to our home and we had a great talk about their new newspaper. They are a couple who was tired of all the negative news stories from the local and national media. So, instead of sitting by and watching the news, they decided to change it.

Instead of reporting on murder, rape, the economy, etc. etc., they chose to start a new (free) newspaper that reports on the Upside of life in the Portland area. They will be highlighting a lot of local, community based organizations and individuals in their monthly issue.

People or organizations that are choosing to unite communities, instead of divide them, will be discussed. They need all the support that you can give them.

This is truly a wonderful, and long overdue, venture. They are funding this out of their own pocket because they believe in this so much. We have highlighted their website on the left hand side of this blog.

Please check them out and support them any way that you can. They need all sorts of volunteers to help spread the word. They need volunteer writers, web designers, reporters, photographers and editors.

Or maybe, you know a local store or business that would be willing to offer The Portland Upside, free, to their customers; or perhaps a local coffee shop that you frequent would be happy to spread the positive news. No matter what the outlet, we could all use some good new these days.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Business Fair - April 3rd,4th and 5th

As you may or may not know, We've Got Time to Help is going to be at the New Chances Vendor Fair at Jantzen Beach this Friday 5pm-9pm, Saturday from 9am-9pm and on Sunday from 9am-6pm.

We thought this might give us a chance, not only to meet some new volunteers, but to get the word out about our group and what we do. The more people that know about us, the more people we can help. This is a chance for us to not only tell people about what we do, but to try to explain why this world would be a lot better place if we all lived by "Pay It Forward".

Anyway, so if you like, come down and talk to us. We would love to meet some new friends!

See you there!

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