In difficult times, we often look to humanitarian groups to support those in need. Since the onset of the refugee crisis, this has certainly been the case in Brazil – where the number of refugees has doubled each year since 2011. Atados, the winner of Points of Light’s 2017 George W. Romney Award, adapted its successful volunteer engagement model to respond to the global refugee crisis and provide aid to the people taking refuge in Brazil.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, thousands of Syrian citizens have arrived on the shores of Greece in search of refuge. Today, more than 62,000 refugees still reside in Greece and roughly half of them are women and children, according to the International Rescue Committee. Volunteers from around the world are providing assistance – helping refugees arriving by boat make it safely to land, providing support at refugee camps and packing care packages with essential supplies.
As program manager for corporate employee volunteerism with Points of Light’s HandsOn Network, Chatoya Hayes connects corporate clients with local HandsOn Network affiliates and other nonprofits – helping them find opportunities to serve their communities through projects that align with the company’s and employees’ interests and skills. In her spare time, however, Chatoya gives back to her own community through opportunities that match her own passion – youth mentorship.
During the annual Conference on Volunteering and Service, thousands of nonprofit, government, business and civic leaders gather to discuss the future of volunteerism, and to showcase the true power and impact of putting people at the center of change. And each year, Points of Light organizes a service project that supports the local community and addresses a pressing need. In 2017, the Conference will take place in Seattle – a unique city for Points of Light, with two HandsOn Network affiliates, Seattle Works and United Way of King County.