As many of you know, southern Rhode Island, particularly Westerly and Narragansett, was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy. As the volunteer center of RI, we as an organization have mobilized hundreds upon hundred of volunteers to help with damage assessment and debris clean up. We have worked in the office as well as on the ground to try and help our neighbors in overcoming this unfortunate disaster. Some duties include: physically getting involved and helping clean up debris on the property that’s been damaged, recruiting volunteers to help out with United Way’s 2-1-1 call service, as well as some of the more mundane work like data entry. It’s been an exciting–and at times, stressful– experience, but it is one that we put all of our efforts into to better the lives of our fellow Rhode Islanders.
When we’re not on disaster duty, our team of 4 VISTAs functions as well-oiled cogs in the machine that is Serve Rhode Island. Monica Gambino and Corey Plante are the in-house Volunteer Recruitment Specialists. They organize corporate service projects, manage relationships with our member agencies, and even do outreach to businesses to increase volunteerism in the state. Kerri Thornsbury and myself, Leah Glass, are the School Volunteer Program Coordinators; Kerri in Slater Junior High School in Pawtucket and Leah in Roger Williams Middle School in Providence. They try and find the support needs of teachers and staff members in the schools and then recruit, train, and match volunteers to provide that support.
As a VISTA team we help support Serve Rhode Island in all of it’s projects and endeavors. We’ve helped with huge projects such as 9/11 day of service through AmeriCorps, Fidelity Transformation Day at Roger Williams Middle School and Koch Eye Cares Day 2012.
Were all at very different places in our years of service, but we’re all still excited to help our community and continue to build capacity.