Service Unites at the Points of Light Conference, Washington, DC


DAY 1:  Volunteerism unites!  That’s the “word” coming from the sessions at the Points of Light Conference in Washington, DC.  Backpackers (Daniel, Hannah and Jessica)

Backpackers - Jessica, Daniel & Hannah
Backpackers – Jessica, Daniel & Hannah

covered the exhibit floor first and stopped off to meet and speak with company representatives and the volunteers from all over America!

Our goal was to gather the stories, and to share them via our Sound Cloud/Facebook.


Each of these companies provides support for the non-profits and volunteer organizations attending the conference.   The booths were filled with products, services and support for the volunteer!  We spoke with software designers who designed a website and system to help connect the needs in the communities with the individual looking to volunteer.  A group of young women came together to form an organization to help reach “millennials” in their own communities.  Why?  To provide a connection between the need and the young person often needing a challenge!  And, we closed out our day by spending time with a couple from IOWA who helped develop a food packaging service that helps to feed starving populations around the world as they watched the volunteers pack food packs for 100,000 in need!

As we worked the exhibition hall, we learned quickly that when we asked “why” they volunteered, often the answer was, “why not!”  We heard a lot about giving back and the importance of being there for those in need.  Passion for a cause was at the foundation of each effort.  And, the “feel good” came from giving and not receiving!

By the close of the afternoon we had over 25 recorded short interviews and hundreds of photos  Day 1, and then another 19 on Day 2, plus we attended many of the workshops!  ( more reflections on this in next article).

An observation:  Daniel, Hannah and Jessica each are teens with a purpose and talents. They each volunteer and give of themselves in their own communities and are a major part of the A Backpack Journalist program and family.  When we travel and work together, there are special moments that cannot be captured in words.  When our Cover the Assignments come to a close, it’s always a hug goodbye and a job well done.

There is something about watching creativity blossom within a young person that is indescribable, and joyful!  As each grow into adulthood, stand back world!

Listed below is an index of the interviews.  Please follow this link to listen:

Hannah – June 19, 2013

  1.  Repair the World- Aria Auerbach
  2. Blue Star Families- Sheri Lapan
  3. Fifty Forward RSVP- Liane Proctor VOLUNTEER
  4. KidsCare – Outreach – Rick McNary

Jessica – June 19, 2013

  1. Student Conservation Association-  Alvi Seda (Southeastern Recruiting Coordinator and Director of the Diversity Initiative)
  2. One America- Dewey Thompson (August Jackson) Chase (Makes commercial for POL ending ceremony “future of service and how it unites.”
  3. Bristol County Office of District Attorney- Cecelia Porche
  4. Volunteer Matt Wallace and Laura Ellis
  5. First Brian McClimans
  6. National Service Works for America:  Americorps and Seniorcorps (no interview)
  7. The Presidents Volunteer Service Award- Melanie Stevenson
  8. Pearls with a Purpose- Wendy Bird  (has backpack charm)
  9. Truist- Denis Brennan and Matt Comanda
  10. Innovations for Learning/Tutor Mate- Tiara Tess
  11. Marymount University- Maureen Dour and Alison Malloy
  12. Grameen Foundation/Bankers without Borders- Sarah Dickson
  13. Peace Corps- Allyson Snell
  14. Disaster Distress Helpline- Joe Samalin
  15. Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration- Bethany Pope (Dir. Of Graduate Studies)(Grad Student),(Public Relations)
  16. KidsCare Outreach Program- Rick McNary and Jackie Matt
  17. America Learns- Gary Kosman (Americorps Compliance Specialists)
  18. DC (The Fund for American Studies)- Kristen Wright
  19. ITT/Exelis- Leah Lackey and Sylvester Placid (Lead Sponsors of POL- Lunch)
  20. Outreach, INC.- Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer (Food Packaging Event in the evening)
  21. Bank of America-  Kerry Sullivan

Jessica –  June 20

  1.  Good and Ready- Adriana Ogaz (VOLUNTEER with Denver Public Schools)
  2. Samaritan Technologies- Todd McMullen
  3. Booker Promotions- Neil Kalnitz
  4. V-SysOne (Volunteer Management Software)- Jill Renwick
  5. Commercial Investigations LLC- Dale Smith
  6. Hostelling International USA- Amanda Dwyer
  7. GiveGab (Social Network for Volunteers)- Dominic Finney
  8. Eastern University- Sharlene Joseph Brown
  9. Good Influence- Dan Lynn
  10. For Goods- Chelsea Lambert
  11. Hands on Connect (Volunteer Management POL)- Alison Lebreton
  12. 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance “I Will” – Colleen Farrell (My Good Deed)
  13. The Mission Continues- Oliver Gould (Partners with 9/11/”I Will”)
  14. Mileage- Mike    and Jeff Aguero
  15. Adler School of Professional Psychology- Lenny Asuncion
  16. National Park Service- Ann Marie Emmet
  17. 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance “I Will” – David Paine (Had a colleague, Jay Winuk, who lost his brother, Glen, in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center)
  18. 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance “I Will”- Pedro Guardado (veteran with The Mission Continues)
  19. USA Good – Guadia Ray Sarna