Cape Cod Volunteer Center News

September 2005

 

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last updated March 26, 2006

 

 

From Allen Larson: 

 

       The possible relocation of hurricane victims to Camp Edwards has meant that the volunteer center, like every other relief agency on the Cape, has been very busy. This is a quick summary of several things that are in the works relating to the volunteer center. Please contact me with any specific questions you may have that the following general outline of our activities does not address fully. 

 

  1. We're sending inquiries we receive to the Red Cross and other Internet sites as well as passing along phone numbers. We've been directing people as well to the 800 number that the Red Cross and Salvation Army are staffing. At present, that number is itself overloaded.

  2. The range of the types of inquiries and offers we've received has been very broad. We've received offers of volunteer assistance from both individuals and companies, and we've been asked for advice on how best to design a volunteer effort.  CapeAir is one such local company that has put together an interesting program whereby they provide paid leave of 20 hours to their workers and encourage them to assist as they wish. The employees are also able to utilize their flight privileges in the airline industry as well. 

  3. After the storm, we received a request from the national Points of Light (PoL) Foundation to find volunteers who might assist volunteer centers closer to the affected area. We were working on that when the Camp Edwards designation turned things around so that we, ourselves, have now requested assistance from the PoL to provide us experienced support in the event that evacuees do in fact arrive at Camp Edwards. We've asked for people who have a knowledge of technology (and the use of the PoL software) and for volunteers who could assist our school-based programs. Bourne, as you know, will possibly add many students to its public school. And in Nauset, we're hoping we might find someone who could provide us some transitional assistance while we fill the vacancy created with Andria's recent move to New Jersey.

  4. Apart from the PoL resource, we're turning to AmeriCorps*VISTA to seek additional staff. We'd like two others, and we're putting together the application. We're also looking for volunteers that we can find locally to assist, and we are also considering how we might staff Nauset with a part-time person to work with Julie Gammon, the School-to-Careers counselor at Nauset. In conversation with Julie, we've determined that we need a person to be present at the school a minimum of one day a week during the school hours.

  5. All of the school programs are picking up now that schools have reopened. Each of ours has a unique piece missing at present relative to last year. While we retain our VISTA volunteers, Teri and Nora, in Bourne and DY, the Bourne high school has a new principal, and DY school has a new superintendent. We're working to confirm their continued interest and to learn also how they would like us to best supplement their schools' efforts in service learning.  Nauset has a great program already, and our need there is to find a competent staff person to link our efforts with those of the school. Overall, this is very much a restart of the start-up venture launched last school year in each of these high schools.

  6. We have moved from our office in space that the Cape Cod Five had provided us in Hyannis. We are temporarily using space provided to us by the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay. This location works out very well given the Camp Edwards developments. The office space we have utilized in the Yarmouth Industrial Park on Mid-Tech Drive off of  Willow Street is now insufficient. In March, we offered space there to the Cape Cod Technology Council as they worked through a transition period regarding their organization. The space is insufficient for both of us now given our departure from the Hyannis office and our increased need for space to attend to the volunteer interests related to the Katrina situation. 

  7. The volunteer center Web site needs attention, and Julie Brooks of eCape is meeting with me tomorrow to update information found there especially relating to Camp Edwards-related information. We'll also discuss how best to integrate the site with that of the Center for Sustainability. A separate group of staff and students at Cape Cod Community College has been working to update our umbrella Center for Sustainability Web site.

 

       In concluding, the Camp Edwards situation has prompted area nonprofits, the newspaper, county and town officials, and other entities to discuss how to effectively integrate their efforts and how best to develop a communication system that connects many organizations. That's exactly the purpose underlying the efforts to establish a volunteer center. And establishing such a center would be the most effective way to work to sustain Cape Cod. Perhaps the current ad hoc situation will lead to these ends.   (Allen Larson is the president of the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, the parent organization of the Cape Cod Volunteer Center.)