Posts Tagged ‘Volunteer’

Volunteering for Rebuilding Day

National Rebuilding Day, hosted by Rebuilding Together (previously named Christmas in April), is approaching fast. For the last two months, I have just been helping with calling and translating, but the Rebuilding Day… oh, that’s how my attention was initially caught. Needless to say, I have been looking forward to it.

Finally, yesterday, Prep Day started, and I signed up to helping as soon as I learned. Mostly, our group did a lot of clutter removal. We even have professional organizers! I have read a bit about it when I got a free book from Amazon about organizing houses, but its different to see it in person. One would think it is just all about making things pretty. But like interior designer and architects… Oh no, it’s a professional work. Before she arrived, we were running around trying to see what item the owner wanted to get rid off. There was a reason the garage was in a clutter in the first place – it is painful to get rid things for everyone. But once she arrived and started talking to the owner, things get chucked out at twice the speed we were going at. Some of the volunteers and I went upstairs for a moment (we went up to help the captain to clean out space for painting at the actual Rebuilding Day). By the time we came down, the 1/3 of the garage was emptied out.

It was like magic. *Jaws dropped*

By the later half of the day, I was mostly upstairs helping with moving things (for painting space later on) and sponging with a liquid call TSP. Another magical item, which whips the grease from the kitchen ceiling and wall with ease after some nice scrubbing. According to Amazon, TSP is a: “The all purpose cleaner used by professionals prior to painting exterior surfaces. It removes mold and mildew. Also de glosses surfaces that are oil base painted. Ideal for cleaning garage or basement floors. May be used to restore dried, used paintbrushes. “ Amazing stuff. The captain got it in liquid form, which was green. It smelled quite nice and non-chemical even though it’s a pretty strong cleaner. We had a running joke that it probably taste delicious.

Oh, I got to go on the ladder for a while for ceiling cleaning, which is always fun. Since I am petite, people tends to worry when I do anything that require me to go high above ground, but I actually have a strange love for height and defying gravity movements, a leftover from my gymnastic and ice skating days – plus, I get to feel taller, and that’s a good enough reason.

Through out the day, I got to chat with some of the volunteers, and I soon found out that they were mostly from the same company. There are some exceptions, which was lucky in my case, as one of the volunteers mentioned that one year she was in a group where everyone was in the same company except for her. To my own surprise though, none of the volunteers are in the ACE industry – they are actually mostly from the software industry, and some of them are quite knowledgeable in the home building field. By lunch time, our captain decided to order us some food, and we started talking while eating pizza on upside-down bucket sits. It was a nice sunny day, and while it did tired me out, it was the nice kind where you feel like you really got some good work done in a day. The much cleaner garage and kitchen definitely helped. I am going to be volunteering on Friday again, which I am definitely looking forward to.



Internship and Volunteerism

I have been slowly updating on events I went to or things I observed in San Francisco in this blog for last few weeks. It’s been a very fulfilling few weeks, which unfortunately slowed down my writing quite a bit. The most exciting event of all is… I started an internship! Unpaid, but I am enjoying the learning opportunity.

As of this month, I have officially started as an Advocacy Outreach Intern at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. I have always love architecture history and its effect on community development and cultural changes, which why I eventually decided to pursue the Art History minor and almost got the Anthropology minor (realize I wouldn’t get enough classes in time…). When I got to San Francisco and tried to continue bicycling in SF, I notice how much transportation plays into the role of community planning in the city. For one thing, bicycle commuting in the Bayview district is notoriously dangerous. When I look into tips on how to bicycle in SF, I learned about the Coalition. In the last few months, I have attended several events and had really enjoyed them. At the same time, through those events and my membership at SPUR (the local urban planning organization), I really got into the urban revolution that is going on in the city, which was charaterized by the combination of America Cup and the new campus of UCSF. Living in the Bayview, an area that is also going through rapid re-development, allows me to experience that change even more. So when I learn about the internship… I joined.

Of course, that was one of several things that has been going on. I have also started helping at Rebuilding Together – in term of making calls to Cantonese-speaking clients – and Water Conservation Showcase – in term of prepping materials. I have been looking forward to the National Rebuilding Day in April and the Water Conservation Showcase this coming Tuesday. I attended the Showcase last year, and it had been a blast. This year, they will have GBCI CEU credits to boot! I had fun meeting other people in the sustainability field while prepping materials, so I have a feeling I will have a great time volunteering during the actual event as well. For Rebuilding Together, to my own surprise, translation has taught and intrigued me more than I expected. I found myself enjoying being able to help others. I learned some new words as well. I am looking forward to working with the tools during the National Rebuilding Day though – learn by doing is the saying of my college, after all.

I have been attending events at SPUR and PEC as usual, but I have also started attending a series of free WordPress workshops. One of the most recent tool I learned is Buddypress. I probably wouldn’t be using it now since this is an individual blog, but I can see that it will be a real power tool in an office environment.

I have also been dipping into my own hobbies by volunteering and attending at events like Sunday Street, Orchid Expo, and Green Film Festival. Wouldn’t go into detail about those – I plan to write a blog post about them. Teaser: My volunteer position at Sunday Street was “Route Rabbit” and the Orchid Expo has Golden Gate as theme this year. Photos though, can now be seen in my Flickr account!

Yes, I have also set up my Flickr account and started posting photos on there.

Like I say, its been some busy weeks. I think things are settling again though, so I will start posting updates about the events.

Happily Biking the Weekend Away: P2 – Sunday Street

In the chaos of trying to find a bicycle of the right-fit, by the time I brought my bike and got myself equipped with locks, helmet, and gloves, there was only one Sunday Street left to happen in 2011.

For those who were wondering, my bicycle requirements were: fit 4′-10″ female, geared, somewhat light, preferably with road slicks already, and the hardest part – under $100 but not stolen. Yep, I told you it was chaotic. Actually, most people would say that it is almost impossible. But once again, my perseverance and determination rules over the impossible – that’s a different story for another time.

Let’s fast forward to October 23. The last Sunday Street of the year, held at Mission.

For those who don’t know what’s Sunday Street, it is basically a car-free events that celebrates the local communities and neighborhood. The official website of Sunday Street describes it as such:

Sunday Streets is a series of events put on by the City of San Francisco to encourage health, community and fun, inspired by similar events in cities throughout the world.  A Sunday Streets event creates a large, temporary, public space by closing off stretches of a neighborhood’s streets to automobile traffic, and opening them to pedestrians, bicyclists, and activities for several hours on a predetermined Sunday.

As a morning volunteer, I arrived before Sunday Street start, but there were numerous people there already – residents, store owners, booth owners, volunteers, even police officers. I know that Sunday Street is a big event, but I didn’t realize how big. When I looked at the map earlier, I thought it was going to 10 street block or so straight down Valencia.


Actually, it was 11 long blocks down Valencia starting from 13th street, then the event made a L turn at 24th street into another 13 short blocks.


No wonder they needed so many volunteers, and no wonder they needed the volunteers to wear orange shirts (so they could be seen among the massive crowd with people dressed in all different color and fashion – most memorably, there were a duo of pink bicyclists with a soap bubble gadget attached to the back of their bike. Predictably, several children trailed after them. I almost did the same thing except I remembered I was volunteering).Without bicycles or some sort of wheeled device, I am not sure most people would go through the whole festival. But then, this was a bicycle-focused event, so I guess it made sense. The city and the various organization for this event must spent hours making everything work though. I volunteered as the Intersection Monitor on just one crosswalk, but even that became very eventful.

The crosswalk I was very monitored by me, one other Intersection Monitor, and two uniformed patrol. The job of us monitors was to keep an eye on the pedestrian and bicyclist (or tricyclist, roller-skater, skateboarder, etc), and the patrols’ was to deal with the drivers. Basically, we are similar to those nice ladies holding the stop sign near school (we got our own stop sign too!), except we were not trying to stop cars- we were trying stop any non-automobile individual from running the red light by accident.

Wait a minute, isn’t Sunday Street closed off to traffic?

Not completely. Some of the main crosswalk allow the traffic to cross Valencia (It is 24 blocks in total. Imagine drivers trying to go around that). The problem was that since the event is generally close off to traffic, people forgot to look at the red light after they legally ran over several red light in the past “closed-off” areas. So yes, time to grab a red stop sign, orange shirt, and yellow vest.

The event participants were very friendly toward us; the hardest part of the job goes to the patrols – dealing with the confused and/or angry drivers. Even with the opened crosswalk, the traffic still got jammed. There were also local residents who didn’t realize the event was today. The organizer did reach out through the local communities and tried to let everyone know what’s on though. Overall, while prior notification and routing traffic flow is very important for large events, they are also very difficult elements to control.

A lot of people did know about the event though. In addition to the pink/soap-bubble bicyclists, I saw a bicycle that shaped like a boat, a large group of cute little bicyclist-tricyclist, bicyclist with dogs, a bicycle playing music with boombox, a bicycle completely covered in campaign sign… the list goes on.

But as exciting as it was, by the end of my shift, I was completely worn out from just standing there under the blazing sun. Thankfully, someone came to replace me, but I really gained a new appreciation for the police patrols by the end of the day (They were going to stay the whole day!).

As a volunteer, I enjoyed a free delicious Falafel sandwich and sweet potato chips from Liba. When I first got the food ticket, I thought it was a local restaurant. To my surprise, while it is a restaurant, it’s actually a mobile restaurant! Alright. It wasn’t the first time I seen a mobile food truck, but this one caught attention. The truck was almost completely in green with a elegant, floral curve design. It looked very sharp and clean. When I went up to order food, they even got my order down with a iPad.

Bless the modern-tech age.

Modern style of food, truck, and ordering method – I found it to be a very complete design. Tasty, too!

I continued into the festival. Since I was on my bicycle most of the time, I ended up just enjoying the ride and not really taking any pictures. I did stopped for this really cool hockey match on bicycles:










There were a lot of booths, but I think the local stores caught my attention the most. I definitely visited the bicycle stores, but sadly none of the accessories I wanted was on sale. Every place was packed, so I had to get off my bicycle at some points, but there were so many things to see, I was stopping a lot anyway. After bicycling for a hour or so, I finally started heading home.

On my way to BART, I was interested by the fact that people – what appeared to be locals – biked on Mission Street’s sidewalk as well. I decided to give it a try. The sidewalk was generally wide enough, but it was definitely very rocky. Adding the pedestrians and the occasional food stands, I had to bike very slow and careful. It wasn’t difficult to get to the BART stop though. Other than getting my bicycle wheel stuck in the elevator at one point (note to self: do not attempt to fit bike in elevator 90 degree, even if your bike’s very tiny. ) and missing a bus ride because its bicycle racks were full (Sunday Street domino effect?) , I got home safe and happy. I even met another bicyclist at the bus stop that I thought came from Sunday Street (actually, she was just visiting friends), whom I ended up befriending after I helped her with local bicycle direction.

Learning more Internet Networking from Design Village

As some may know, I am volunteering as a outreach coordinator for Design Village this year. Things are started to run this few weeks. Being a big fan of twitter and Linkedin, I was very happy to set up an account for Design Village. I am also happy to say that I have learnt quite a few things about internet networking programs:

  • Facebook social devises include Facebook Page and Facebook Group. Page is design for viral-style, business networking. The content is public and index-able by google. There seems to be a way to RSS a Page. Design Village has a Group. Group is better for more private, causal (as in less likely-to-be-indexed-and-read-by-random-people) conversation. It can not be RSS, so it can not be use for the LinkedIn group news feed. It also cannot be sync with Twitter. Page is a much better choice if a person wants to sync Facebook with Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • To continue, LinkedIn group have a news feeds feature, which can let your group sync with a blog – or twitter, which was what I ended up doing. Just go to your group, click Manage, look down the left bar for News Feeds.
  • People can tweak their Twitter account so that it don’t send a notification every time someone follow you. Just go to Setting, then Notice.
  • You can shorthand URL by going to The first part of the shortened URL depends on the website. Linkedin URL, for example, get “” for the first half of the URL, then some random numbers and letters.
  • Even better, you can sign up for a account, which let’s you modify the second half of your URL. I managed got the URL for our group’s LinkedIn group. Very neat and looks so much more professional in writing, isn’t it? Also a life-saver in twitter, which only let you have a 140 words message.

Cal Poly Cultural Night Movie – Missed

For weeks, my classmate Simone had wanted me to attend to her club’s movie production. She was part of the movie playing for the Philipino Cultural. The movie is called “Mystery! At the Kasa” They have one on April 24 at 6:30, and another at April 35th at 2:00. The last time I checked, I can still go to the Saturday one.

Today, her group was passing out fliers. I walked by and got distracted by her dog (the one I talked about during the summer studio post? Boy, had he grow! Completely different now!). Then I find out the CM rep, Andre (I think that how you spell it…) for Emerging Green Builder is also part of the group. As always, people for some reason just remember me even if I just sit in the room (Why???). He past me the flyer.

I was just about to pencil the time into my planner, then I freeze.

On April 26, was the large black words of “6-9 Art Center!”.

For a moment my brain went blank, because I clearly remember checking my schedule last time for the movie. I was supposed to be free that day!

Then I realize – the Art Center movie got moved back a week.

*Notice confused look* Oh! Right! I don’t think I wrote about this. This week, the SLO Art Center was supposed to host a movie called “Who Gets to Call it Art?” by Peter Rosen. I volunteered to help out. When it got push back, I told them I can volunteer next week as well.

I sign up weeks ahead to help out, and I really love art and cultural events, so I am not missing the SLOMA movie. I am also working in the library on Sunday, which I generally don’t mind – I like the library. But it is kind of sad, since I told my friend I will come and I am very curious about it… >-<

I am going to miss the Earth Day Festival too because of work. I am beginning to understand why people don’t work in the weekend… But I am not giving up! I have been looking for volunteering oppurtunies for Earth Day outside of Satueday – Volunteering for Earth Day is almost a tradition for me, and I am not planning to miss it this year!

*Fire of determination in the background*


*Look back at the fire*

*Screams and run for the fire extinguisher before the building gets burn down*

First time volunteering in Art Center

So, I have just started volunteering at the Art Center. It’s my first time assisting a real art curator.

Very exciting!

It was rainy, so I can’t bike. With my housing location, it actually takes longer to take the bus downtown (the bus goes around downtown). I took an umbrella and walked to the center. The walk, as always, was nice. I have always like the rain (as long as I am not running or carry anything heavy.

Right now, the Art Center has three exhibtion: “Legends: A juried exhibition of contemporary printmaking in California”, “Nick Spohrer: Stories”, and “Enthusiastic Encaustic”. Since I am helping as a curator assistant, I get to see all the art work up front. It was beautiful!

The printmaking exhibition has a good variation of work. Some of them so dimensional you can’t help but wonder if it is just printmaking. Of course, if you look closer, they are prints – but the effect’s just amazing. I particularly like one of the work that depicts the Greek Goddess, Persephone. It is dark in background, gray in figure. But a little reddish-pink of the pomegranate brings it to life – both in term of overall coloring and the Greek story content itself (Persephone was forced to stay with Hades during winter because of the pomegranate she ate). Besides, Persephone is one of my favorite in the Greek mythology. The exhibtion is also in March – Spring.

Persephone is the Goddess that represents the transition between Fall, Winter, and Spring. During the Greek’s time, festivals are hold in the Spring for Persephone – for her return from underworld to Earth. In Greek, there is the initiation ceremony Eleusinian Mysteries, then in Sicily is the  flower festival called Anthesphoria. Even in modern days, those who follows Hellenistic religion or Polytheistic reconstructionism may comes together at Spring to celebrate her return.

I love mythology, so excuse me for my complete turn of topic. I can’t help it! But umm… back to topic!

Nick Spohrer’s work are very interesting – they are simple, but narrative. His style gives a light-hearted atmosphere. True to his style, some of the works are humorous and sometimes even sarcastic. It can make you laugh thinking what the people in the arts are thinking. At the same time, some can be more sorrow. Since the work is narrative in nature, they are sometimes related to each other. One work can be a directly “next scenery” of each other, making reading the work more interesting.

The Enthusiastic Encaustic is by the Oil, Pastel & Acrylic Group members. It’s amazing to think all those are artist are in the same town and close. I was assigned to help out two of their members, which make the experience even more amazing for me. I had never studied about encaustic, and I was completely at awe at how they were to identify the medias in the work.

For the first two exhibition, I mostly help with unwrapping while watching how the curator and his other assistant works (the other assistant worked in actual galleries before). I help clean the floor a bit before I left for class. From both the curator, the assistants, and the artist volunteers, I got to see how much thought is put into an exhibition. There are a lot of small details that most people wouldn’t think about at first glance – the height of the work (there is an actual calculation – simple math – but an actual calculation. No random putting up work!), order of the work put up, the color contrast of work from sideways and opposite side, the themes, and even if the floor have paint on it!

In the end, it was a wonderful experience. It was great to see all those work and look at them up close. I got to see them go from random piece of work lined up the ground to them hanging up in a carefully designed exhibition! I can’t wait for the next exhibition already!

*Lies on the table in a happy bliss*