South County Democratic Club
The Michigan Democratic Party "Blue Tiger" project is a mission of public service coordinated through local Democratic organizations, like SCDC. It is dedicated to civic engagement and community service by Democrats to reach the people who are the backbone of the Party and by doing so, strengthen the organization from the grassroots up to the national level. By demonstrating a commitment to our neighborhoods and the ideals that make our Party great, we believe we can strengthen our organization. Blue Tigers provide year-round volunteer activities that help people, neighborhoods and communities -- it is simply what Democrats do.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our food drive:
Our food drive for the homeless veterans was a success. We estimate that we were able to deliver between 200 to 250 pounds of food stuff to these veterans. In 2010, Volunteers of America Michigan took over the existing homeless veterans program in Niles. This 18-bed program replicates the Veterans Housing Program in Lansing; offering complete clinical services including health care, housing, and recreational opportunities in a therapeutic community setting. They are at capacity.
The program structure at the Niles facility is designed to help veterans strengthen their employment skills, establish networks of contacts, and develop employment assets. A resident said that these guys really do need these services as some still suffer their "demons" even after forty-some years following their combat duty.
Below, SCDC members John Bays and Jess stand by in front of the apartment building used by the homeless vets with some of the boxes of goods. There were enough boxes to fill a regular pick-up truck.
Below Don Bishop (extreme left), Administrator for the homeless vets, stands with some of the veterans and Jess on the right.
From Jess: A big THANK YOU to the members of the SCDC that remembered the homeless vets in Niles last night (Monday night) at the meeting. Today Mike Walker, Jerry Slocum, John Bays and myself delivered a truck load of food, clothing and treats to the 22 vets in the shelter. The smiles were very big on the vets faces when they saw the items and they went to work as soon as the things were inside to make sure they were divided evenly for all to enjoy. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL THAT DONATED.
Wanted: crayons, color pencils, children scissors
South County's current "Blue Tiger project" is to collect school supplies -- especially art supplies like crayons, color pencils, children scissors, etc. -- that will be donated to children in public schools in Berrien County where there seems to be a need.
Please bring your donations to one of our meetings.
Michigan Democratic Party Embraces the Blue Tiger Project
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer announces that Michigan will become the first in the nation to adopt the Blue Tiger Democrats program as a part of its permanent mission.
Jackson Hole, Wyo. — Determining that the Democratic Party must embrace civic engagement in order to further restore credibility and respect among citizens, Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party and Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, announced today that Michigan will become the first state in the nation to adopt the principles of the Blue Tiger Democrats organization and make it a permanent part of their state organizational structure.
Brewer made the announcement before the post-election meeting of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, of which he is the President, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
At the meeting, Brewer and Bill Samuels, founder of Blue Tiger Democrats (www.bluetigerdems.com), made a presentation to the state chairs reviewing the organization’s 2006 programs and plans to implement the next phase of civic engagement.
Frank Houston, who spearheaded the initial Blue Tiger Michigan pilot project, was named as the Civic Engagement Organizer (CEO) for the MDP’s Blue Tiger Democrats activities in Michigan.
Brewer also announced that he would form a Blue Tiger advisory board that includes Democratic state chairs, vice-chairs, executive directors and elected officials to provide input on Michigan’s new program. To start, Brewer named the following officials to the advisory board:
Terry Lierman, Chairman, Maryland Democratic Party; David Waid, Chairman, Arizona Democratic Party; and David Paterson, New York State Senator and Lt. Governor-elect “Despite the gains the Democratic Party made in the midterm elections, many people still do not believe either party cares much about them. Our goal is to regain respect for the Democratic Party and for the political process.” Brewer said. “The Michigan Democratic Party is committed to making civic engagement an integral part of our state organization. By giving Democrats things to do between elections and providing meaningful services we Democrats can show citizens that parties want to engage them more than just on election day.”
The Michigan Democratic Party and Blue Tiger Democrats perceive the lack of respect and credibility for politicians and political parties to be a paramount problem. Consider this:
From 2000 to 2004, there has been a 21% increase in the number of self-identified independents;
Membership in state and local political organizations has been cut in half over the past forty years while financial contributions have increasingly replaced time commitment; 70% of all funds raised go to television advertisements that generally hurt the credibility of political parties; and $1.6 billion in 2004 campaign contributions went to political advertisements while nearly nothing went to local civic engagement. Collectively these facts have led to a trend where citizens’ alienation from the political parties and elected officials is at a high water mark.
Samuels, founder of Blue Tiger, said, “We are excited that Michigan has agreed to be first in the nation to become a full-fledged Blue Tiger state. In addition to civic engagement helping to regain trust for the party in communities, we believe that community projects will provide young, idealistic people enormous opportunities to enter the world of public service. Mark Brewer recognizes that and is why he is such a visionary.”
“Blue Tiger’s approach of civic engagement, campaign finance reform and greater accountability and transparency in government can go a long way to helping address the respect gap between people and party. It’s time to put the self back in self-government.”
About the Michigan Democratic Party
The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) is chaired by Mark Brewer. Active in the Party for 25 years, Brewer has an extensive record of successful grassroots activity. A 1973 graduate of Mount Clemens High School, Brewer obtained his A.B. with Honors from Harvard College in 1977 and his law degree from Stanford University Law School in 1981. After working for two years for federal and state courts, he joined Sachs, Waldman, O’Hare, Helveston, Hodges and Barnes, PC in 1983, becoming a shareholder in 1989. He resigned from the firm upon becoming Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party.
In 2006, MDP ran a Blue Tiger pilot project, designed to help low-income families to become more energy efficient and show them ways to lower the cost of their utility bills. The program reached over 28,000 people helped to save many working families over $1,000 each.
About Blue Tiger Democrats
Blue Tiger Democrats is a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to energize Democrats and Progressives through the promotion of community based initiatives. Blue Tiger was founded in 2005 by Bill Samuels a longtime activist in Democratic and Progressive causes.
Besides from the program in Michigan, Blue Tiger is currently promoting activities such as: running veterans benefits drives to collect “wish list” items for local VA hospitals, holding briefings on emergency preparedness with certified experts and teaching senior citizens to use email, download digital photographs and surf the Internet for the best price on prescription drugs.
Blue Tiger believes that civic engagement must be a priority of local Democratic and Progressive organizations across the country. By performing civic engagement, local party organizations will regain respect in their communities and therefore be able to play a larger role in vetting and grooming new Democratic candidates and workers. Learn more at www.bluetigerdems.com