Unending Ripples Of ServiceSpace

Posted by Ruth Schwartz on Dec 11, 2011
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ServiceSpace ecosystem has moved me beyond what words can describe. Formany years, my husband Curt and I have operated from a fundamental belief that there is enough for everyone -- abundance.  One of the projects we started,Respecting Our Elders, redistributes donated food to seniors and other in our own county who could use some extra food, and its been a privilege to gift about $4M worth of food every year, that otherwise would've been wasted. Ilonka is one of the people we've gifted to over time. She ended up writing a story about us in her Positive News paper.  DailyGood ended up featuring that story -- and I got SO many emails that day that I still haven't been able to respond to all of them yet.   Bit by bit, we learned about more of the ServiceSpace projects and I was most intrigued about Karma Kitchen. So today I took my restaurant owner friend, Sam, to visit and he is now very open to starting Karma Kitchen in Marin! On top of that, every other week, we go to Ilonka's house where she hosts her Easeful Feasts (Wednesdays on Tuesdays) in Bolinas. Not only that, the Dec 12th issue of Woman's World magazine (which reaches over 1 million readers in the US and Canada) featured our work and when I originally asked them where they heard of us, they said: "DailyGood!  We are avid readers of DailyGood, to find stories we can feature." Thank you for all that all of you do to create new possibilities in the world.

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Comments (17)

  • Jen wrote ...

    Hi all, Thanks for yet another great meeting yesterday. Since 'helpers' didn't make it on the agenda yesterday, I wanted to share some quick feedback: As a member of 'helpers' (the first round of attack for emails from the website), I constantly hear the gratitude and joy in emails sent to us thanking us for all the good we are doing. It's really inspiring to see that people all over the world, often people who don't speak English well, want to show their appreciation. I also get the privilege to be connected to all the different facets of CF. Sometimes people get zoned in on their particular area and don't get to see all that CF does. Through helpers and all the zillions of questions I get, it forces me to constantly be thinking about what the best fit is for each question. [...] See full comment.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for yet another great meeting yesterday. Since 'helpers' didn't make it on the agenda yesterday, I wanted to share some quick feedback:

    As a member of 'helpers' (the first round of attack for emails from the website), I constantly hear the gratitude and joy in emails sent to us thanking us for all the good we are doing. It's really inspiring to see that people all over the world, often people who don't speak English well, want to show their appreciation.

    I also get the privilege to be connected to all the different facets of CF. Sometimes people get zoned in on their particular area and don't get to see all that CF does. Through helpers and all the zillions of questions I get, it forces me to constantly be thinking about what the best fit is for each question.

    Given that we get dozens of emails everyday (many spam, that our tech team is now filtering out), I do have some requests: (a) since our site is so big, it would be really helpful to know which page the inquiries are coming from; (b) since we have an ever growing list of team, it would be great to have a contact list so I know exactly who to go to PledgePage, cShops, Service Exchange, international relations etc.; (c) I don't know how exactly to do this but we need to emphasize that CharityFocus does NOT provide financial assistance; if there's one thing I dread about this role, it is turning away people who are doing good work and asking for financial aid.

    Thanks again! CharityFocus never ceases to amaze me. :)

    Jen Hide full comment.

  • Ray Yeh wrote ...

    It's truly a great pleasure to be with a bunch of cool people. I am very impressed with your excitment and dedication to service. The energy you generated is wonderful.

    Thanks to all for having me there to learn from you -- an organic way to build an organization as it should be. As I was witnessing the evolution of a new kind of "horizontally-organized", "project-centric" organization, I sense some challenges ahead of you, namely;

    1. Strategic coordination -- you guys are doing a great job now.As more projects are added, it may be more difficult, and getting more discipline in project management-single or multiple projects- perhaps will help in the long run;
    2. The need for conciously organize horizontal processes to support different projects(e.g. recruiting/training of volunteers which you more or less have now), and an overall IT architecture that will allow the ease of management of each project such as to leverage easily off others.
    3. I also have a question: how do you measure success? Is the number of volunteers a good measure?

    Thanks again to all of you, it was indeed a privilege to be among you.

    Peace,
    Ray

  • viral wrote ...

    Great meeting all, and Ray, thank *you* for bringing your presence to the meeting! The questions you pose are great; to answer the one on measuring success, I'll tweak a Dean Witter tagline: "CharityFocus. We measure success one volunteer experience at a time." On a side note, below is a psychological explanation of creativity and when creativity is most likely to occur in a group context. Perhaps this explains why CF has been so creative! (From a Psychology Today article) "Research suggests that creative people make more mistakes than their less imaginative peers. They are less proficient-it's just that they make more attempts than most others. They spin out more ideas, come up with more possibilities, generate more schemes. They win some; they lose some." [...] This is why in br [...] See full comment.

    Great meeting all, and Ray, thank *you* for bringing your presence to the meeting! The questions you pose are great; to answer the one on measuring success, I'll tweak a Dean Witter tagline: "CharityFocus. We measure success one volunteer experience at a time."

    On a side note, below is a psychological explanation of creativity and when creativity is most likely to occur in a group context. Perhaps this explains why CF has been so creative! (From a Psychology Today article)

    "Research suggests that creative people make more mistakes than their less imaginative peers. They are less proficient-it's just that they make more attempts than most others. They spin out more ideas, come up with more possibilities, generate more schemes. They win some; they lose some." [...] This is why in brainstorming sessions the operative rule is that anything goes and no one is allowed to dismiss an idea as too absurd. People are free to generate as many ideas as they can manage to think of, no matter how wild they seem. In one of those ideas, there is often the seed that can eventually grow into an innovative solution." [...]

    "When creativity is in full fire, people can experience what athletes and performers call the "white moment." Everything clicks. Your skills are so perfectly suited to the challenge that you seem to blend with it. Everything feels harmonious, unified, and effortless. That white moment is what psychologists call "flow." In flow, people are at their peak. Flow can happen in any domain of activity. The one requirement is that your skills so perfectly match the demands of the moment that all self-consciousness disappears." Hide full comment.

  • Harshida wrote ...

    Thanks for having me at The Tigers' meeting(althogh I am NOT a Tiger huh, just two Tigers' ,make it three tigers' mom !!!). I am still under the trance. The presentation by each project coordinator was amazingly inspiring and the numbers were mind boggling . And although the scope of expansion of these projects is vast , the enthusiam and skillsets at the meeting would outweight any obstacles. With such a strong spirit of service displayed at the meeting, I can only say "KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU".

  • guri wrote ...

    Almost forgot to post it ... the photos!

  • Pancho wrote ...

    :-) Dear beloved sister Ruth, your post exploded in my heart like a bomb of love. Now, I will _have to_ pay it forward. Today, we'll be hosting a meditation at the Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, and I will bring all these vibrations of love with me. Thank you for nourishing our ecosystem. What a post! :-) In radical love, Pancho

  • Pancho wrote ...

    :-) Dear beloved sister Ruth, your post exploded in my heart like a bomb of love. Now, I will _have to_ pay it forward. Today, we'll be hosting a meditation at the Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, and I will bring all these vibrations of love with me. Thank you for nourishing our ecosystem. What a post! :-) In radical love, Pancho

  • Pancho wrote ...

    PS: Receptive silence at 2pm before the march to the Oakland port...

  • Pancho wrote ...

    PS: Receptive silence at 2pm before the march to the Oakland port...

  • Ruth wrote ...

    One more strand: on last week's Forest Call, after I introduced myself on the call, a woman says, "Oh, Ruth! We were just about to send you a small grant to support your work." That was a woman named Marianna, who runs Bread for the Journey in Marin. And it ended up that she was volunteering at Karma Kitchen the next day, when I visited! The tax-structure of BFJ is something we're looking to replicate, so Curt and I are meeting Marianna and Greg for dinner! To be continued, I'm sure. :)

  • Ruth wrote ...

    One more strand: on last week's Forest Call, after I introduced myself on the call, a woman says, "Oh, Ruth! We were just about to send you a small grant to support your work." That was a woman named Marianna, who runs Bread for the Journey in Marin. And it ended up that she was volunteering at Karma Kitchen the next day, when I visited! The tax-structure of BFJ is something we're looking to replicate, so Curt and I are meeting Marianna and Greg for dinner! To be continued, I'm sure. :)

  • Yoo-Mi wrote ...

    Wow, Ruth! Thank you so much for sharing all these stories of connected dots and ripples sent out into the ecosystem! Can't wait to hear future stories of connection. Thank you for what you do!

  • Yoo-Mi wrote ...

    Wow, Ruth! Thank you so much for sharing all these stories of connected dots and ripples sent out into the ecosystem! Can't wait to hear future stories of connection. Thank you for what you do!

  • Ruth Schwartz wrote ...

    Just got back from having lunch with Marianna and her partner Greg. Marianna is the Executive Director of Bread for the Journey International (http://www.breadforthejourney.org) and is also running the Marin chapter of that organization. My husband, and co-founder of Respecting Our Elders, and I had a delightful afternoon with them, talking about our food program, Marianna's work, and as a surprise about Whole Foods Mill Valley, who is one of our longtime food donors. Greg used to work there! When I asked Marianna how she knew about us, it was initially through two of our volunteers, Carol Freedman and Larry Tackett. What a small world! We went home filled with gratitude, with a check that will cover our van expenses for the next month, as well as some great information and tips about how to expand Respecting Our Elders on a national basis. BTW, the four of us met for lunch at Sam's Place in Novato [View Link] , where we are planning on setting up Karma Kitchen Marin. Sam is very excited about the possibilities. Me too!

  • Ruth Schwartz wrote ...

    Just got back from having lunch with Marianna and her partner Greg. Marianna is the Executive Director of Bread for the Journey International (http://www.breadforthejourney.org) and is also running the Marin chapter of that organization. My husband, and co-founder of Respecting Our Elders, and I had a delightful afternoon with them, talking about our food program, Marianna's work, and as a surprise about Whole Foods Mill Valley, who is one of our longtime food donors. Greg used to work there! When I asked Marianna how she knew about us, it was initially through two of our volunteers, Carol Freedman and Larry Tackett. What a small world! We went home filled with gratitude, with a check that will cover our van expenses for the next month, as well as some great information and tips about how to expand Respecting Our Elders on a national basis. BTW, the four of us met for lunch at Sam's Place in Novato [View Link] , where we are planning on setting up Karma Kitchen Marin. Sam is very excited about the possibilities. Me too!

  • Yoo-Mi wrote ...

    A Karma Kitchen Marin - that's fantastic!

  • Yoo-Mi wrote ...

    A Karma Kitchen Marin - that's fantastic!