Giving Back to MOI—September Newsletter 2017

Letter from the Executive Director


Dear MOI Community,

One of the best parts of my job here at Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute is the chance to talk with various members of our community about why they contribute to our organization—why they volunteer, why they support us financially, why they share our posts on social media, etc.

During my first few months at MOI, I’ve been trying to do a lot of listening to these contributors. Through this work, I recently heard a wonderful story about one of our After-School Homework Help students. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Kevin.


Kevin is a high school student who came to ASHH to get support with his math homework. Some days he needed extra guidance from a tutor, but most of the time he just wanted a quiet place to work.

In addition to being a frequenter of ASHH, Kevin had also started his own pet-walking business to help save up money for college. And what did he spend his money on? Well, legend has it, one day Kevin came into MOI with a check for almost $400. When asked why he donated his hard-earned money to MOI, Kevin said he wanted to give back to an organization that had given so much to him, so other students could receive the same support.

Kevin was passionate about MOI and what we do, and he’s not alone. Every day, both in our offices and out in the Twin Cities community, I come across passionate individuals who are eager to show up to help MOI continue to offer quality programming to students. Some of them offer monetary support. Others show up to our headquarters, ready and willing to offer their time. All of them have a “why,” a reason they support MOI.

That’s why we’ve made our back-to-school campaign open-ended. We want to know your thoughts. Why do you contribute? What is your vision for Twin Cities students? What are you helping us work toward each time you donate or volunteer? I challenge you to think about your “why,” then share it with us through our #WriteOurTwinCities initiative.


With gratitude,


Porthole Into Programming

MOI is setting sail on our programming voyage for the school year! After-School Homework Help begins Monday, September 25th and will run Monday to Thursday from 3 pm to 6 pm. We will need all hands on deck at our University Ave. W headquarters to support K–12 students with their homework across all subjects, so be sure to register for an upcoming orientation! Orientations for September will be on the 19th at 3 pm, the 20th at 6 pm, the 26th at 1:30 pm, and the 27th at 6 pm. With just 90 minutes a week, you can help Twin Cities students find their sea legs this school year!

We are ter-reef-ically excited to start back up with Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trips for local 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders on Wednesday, October 4th! This program is a volunteer favorite and appeals to crew members interested in improv, illustration, or simply the limitless imaginations of our student authors—each of whom leaves with their own published copy of the story they wrote. Our cantankerous Captain Plankton needs new books every Wednesday and Friday! Direct your dispatches to our Volunteer and Evaluation Coordinator Natalie to sea how to get involved!

High school juniors and seniors will be setting their sights on new horizons soon and MOI is here to help them navigate new waters with our first-ever Personal Statement Day on October 28th. We will be working with students to create the seaworthy personal statements necessary for college applications. Join us to work shoulder-to-shoulder with students working to hone their stories of self!


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Have you seen our “With Boundaries, Without Borders“ video yet? MOI is diving for support for the upcoming school year, and we’d love to have you join us! Your donation of $20 will support an After-School Homework Help session between a tutor and student, or your donation of $500 will fund an in-house Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trip for students.

Ways to Get Involved


Are you a parent or educator? Come to our Open House on Thursday, September 21st from 4 pm to 6 pm for food, fun, and information on our five free programs. Are you interested in volunteering? Attend an orientation September 19th at 3 pm, 20th at 6 pm, 26th at 1:30 pm, or 27th at 6 pm. Email Natalie at for more information or to sign up.

Student Spotlight

I Am Not a Terrorist

Hawi Ali

I am Muslim
Not a terrorist

I’m a Muslim girl
No, I am not a terrorist
So think twice before you judge me, brother
I’m just a human being like you
With different beliefs and culture

I was born and raised in Islam
Believing one God
Who is Allah
I believe Islam means Peace

But social media has warped how people think
With assumed terrorism tearing my family apart
Mom from her son,
Son from his mom
Tearing apart
People trying to make their country a safe place

But all this started because of people who would assume all Muslims are bad
It started with slavery
People taking control of what’s theirs

Showing me the fake side of them
Making me believe
Those smiles are real but all they do is
Go behind my back and
Kill my people

Sorry that I’m a little protective
But I’m not a terrorist
I’m not telling you to love me, brother
Just think twice before you judge me

Love comes later,


Hawi's poem is featured in our #WriteOurTwinCities video.