- 13 March 2013
- by Rudy Sanchez
When we think of performing a service project, what comes to mind is participating in a local tree planting or volunteering in community clean ups; our ideas are usually regional. Ask Mark and Ismini Svensson about where they would like to do service project and they will reply all 50 states in the USA. Mark and Ismini are a recently married couple with a child on the way, and they have set their eyes on performing a service project in every state in the United States, a 50 state initiative under the banner ’50 Acts of Giving Back.’
The idea of ‘50 Acts of Giving Back,’ was a result of their love for charity and helping those in greatest need. In Maryland, they organized a donation drive to help bring awareness and support individuals struggling with substance abuse. They donated a large amount of goods to the Salvation Army Family Store in Prince Georges County that supports the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC).
They both wanted to make projects bigger, better, and engage with people from all different backgrounds. They came to the idea of establishing StayUNITED, a non-profit organization with the mission to improve the quality of life in local communities and empower individuals. Through StayUNITED, Mark and Ismini have created a unique platform where everyone can engage through the social media to shape StayUNITED’s future projects.
Mark and Ismini have started a national conversation on issues affecting communities. You can send them your ideas and suggestions about issues affecting your community and projects you would like to see them perform through Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #50Acts. Georgetown University is supporting their efforts and is starting a Twitter campaign for StayUNITED starting February 25th.
After Maryland, Ismini and Mark traveled to Los Angeles, California. One of the issues they identified with Los Angeles was the large homeless population. Los Angeles is regarded as the homeless capital of the U.S. There they have provided meals to the homeless, helped furnish houses for former homeless individuals, and partnered with the Illumination Foundation, in order to address the issue more effectively.
Mark and Ismini plans for 2013 is to continue with their initiative, meeting new community members, and seeing where they can make a positive impact. They are now in Nevada, and with the state’s Reading Week beginning Feb. 27 - Mar. 1 they are addressing illiteracy in Clark County. StayUNITED is hosting a book drive to provide books to low-income families, school, and libraries. They are also organizing volunteer networks to pair illiterate adults and families from low-income backgrounds with mentors who can provide them the training needed to improve their literacy skills.
The Svenssons hope that through StayUNITED they can make a positive impact in the lives of others and encourage more people to participate and get involved in their community.