Archive for November, 2011

Students Getting Involved

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

11-23-11This day before Thanksgiving, volunteers came out in full force to the San Francisco Food Bank. The surprising fact was that it was primarily younger adults and school age kids. With school being out for the extended Thanksgiving weekend, that meant that these students are here of their own accord. I love this fact!! Lowell High School from the San Francisco area had two groups this morning. Interact, part of International Rotary and BuildOn volunteer clubs from Lowell boxed 32,000 pounds of oranges into manageable sized boxes, helping to reach over 400 food kitchens throughout the region.
This afternoon, nearly 800 assortment boxes for seniors were packed by the all girls Mercy School and the all boys Riordan School. I videoed the assembly line style of packing these boxes and posted it on YouTube on the new, not to be missed, TheBogartChannel.
During the course of the year, over forty-five million pounds of food is shipped from this facility, much of it is repackaged by volunteers such as these students.

Presidential Call to Service

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011


“Ask not, what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Fifty years have passed since newly inaugurated, President John F. Kennedy spoke those words, calling every one of us to do our share of helping one another through service. These words are needed now, more than ever, in our own country, let alone the world. All of us, in our lifetimes, should give more than we take.
Today at the San Francisco Food Bank,  thousands of pounds of rice and pasta needed to be portioned to individual family size. The morning group was primarily Pacific Gas and Electric Customer Care employees and a regular Tuesday morning group, who has been volunteering for a few years. This group has forged lifelong friendships from first meeting at the SFFB and working together for these years. The afternoon group was made up of a couple dozen of individual volunteers and a small contingency from the local Asian community.
On this the 48th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death, make it a point to adopt his words into your everyday life.

San Francisco Food bank

Monday, November 21st, 2011

11-22-11“Farm to Family,” a program used by the SFFB is one of the most efficient and inexpensive method of feeding those in need. Andy Breunig, the Volunteer Coordinator at the SFFB arranged for me to do my annual week-long Thanksgiving week volunteer help at this state-of-the-art Food Bank.  Tons of bulk quantities of produce was broken down into managable quantities by over 100 volunteers and staff. The Center for Student Missions has nearly a dozen students from the San Diego area helping on various projects in central California this week. Brooke, the student advisor of this fun group, enjoyed getting her group involved in today’s program, they even helped make Bogart’s first YouTube video become a reality. Susan, visiting from Derbyshire, England, felt that volunteering while on holiday, would be a helping hand for others.
Vladimir and Virgil who work directly with the volunteers at the SFFB were a joy to talk with while keeping us informed of the importance of our work. The Metropolitan Arts and Tech school had 20 students help out this afternoon. It’s good to see our youth wanting to help others. Bechtel, the construction giant, sent over a very friendly group who were very interested in The Kindness Bus Tour. At day’s end, 21,000 pounds of pears, 9,000 pounds of carrots and 700 pounds of pasta were packaged and readied for shipment to needy organizations in the San Francisco region.

The Bogart Channel

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

This is going to be so much fun!!
Bogart has his own channel on YouTube called, The Bogart Channel. This week we begin creating videos with content that will be entertaining yet impactful. I am going to try to post at least 3 videos per week with Bogart front and center in the thick of the action.
With YouTube featuring one of the One Million Acts Of Kindness videos for one day last weekend and the video now having over 570,000 views, I have finally been inspired to grow this mission with a focus on incorporating more and more social media and networking as time goes by.
By weeks end, you will be able to view some videos on The Bogart Channel on YouTube. You can play a huge part by subscribing to this free channel. I am hoping you will and that you will share this with all of your friends and family.
Thank you,
Bob Votruba and Bogart too!!!

Going Global

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

11-19-11San Francisco offers something for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are from, every culture and nationality is represented in this global melting pot. I love being a part of the global mix. We may not all speak each other’s language or know of the differences in each others cultures or religions but we all have the ability to be kind, each and every one of us. It’s a choice.
Mehdi and Nora from Paris, France who are on holiday and have decided to spend it in San Francisco with their friend Alex who is here for three months growing his IT business, stopped by The Kindness Bus and couldn’t get enough of it’s appeal. They thought France was ready for a Kindness Movement across It’s landscape.
Savio from Singapore and I talked of the Domestic Violence in his country and his initial feelings were that it wasn’t much of a problem in Singapore.   The more we talked the more he thought about it and said, “I never have given it much of a thought but it probably is quite a problem.”
Riding in San Francisco is as good as it gets. With all of the sights and sounds of this city, I have to remember to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me.

Heading to San Francisco

Friday, November 18th, 2011

11-18-11It is time to get some serious view time for The Kindness Bus and Kindness Bicycle. I have had a great stay in San Jose and Sunnyvale, but it is time to head north to San Francisco. Many thanks to my adopted sister, SaraSmiles, for the generosity and hospitality, helping to make my travels quite a bit easier.
I look forward to meeting people from all parts of the world. To me, this is one of the greatest ways to spread a Kindness Movement. People from foreign countries who head back home and tell family and friends about an amazing bus, an amazing dog named Bogart and a guy named Bob who drives the bus and rides a bike across his country. How can they not want to spread kindness in their countries after hearing a story like that.
San Francisco has some incredible people, beautiful architecture and very steep hills, which will be a challenge to the 21 year old Kindness Bus and a slightly older Kindness Bicycle rider named Bob. I am looking forward to the two weeks of spreading kindness I have planned in San Francisco.

Children’s Advocate Roundtable

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

11-17-11Today I was the guest of The Children’s Advocacy Institute, attending their Roundtable in Sacramento, California. The brightest minds from across the State of California gathered together to discuss the needs of children. Two topics of discussion were the main focus.
Chantel Johnson and Janay Swain from the California Youth Connection presented on the welfare of children, with respect to foster care. With so many cuts in funding to foster programs, a constant eye must be kept on pending and newly proposed legislation. Their organization has their finger on the pulse of any and all changes that affect youth across the state.
Dusty Copeland, an advocate for children, gave a passionate presentation on Meeting the Health Needs of California’s Foster Children. She is fighting to protect the rights of medically fragile foster children across her state. Children are being placed in foster care with no medical history forwarded to the foster homes, which on most occasions, have no medical training. Triage Homes are the answer, providing health care professionals, helping in transition into the new home and knowing of all the state services available.