Dean Anderson is a retired Registered Nurse. Because of his training in the medical field, Anderson has chosen to spend his retirement administering to the needs of his community. He serves Central Florida at the Sheperd’s Hope and 211, the official phone number for information and referral services in Central Florida.
Sheperd’s Hope is a free clinic that serves uninsured, low-income individuals. Their clinic locations are opened in the evenings for the convenience of the clients. Most of the nurses volunteer once a month, but Anderson volunteers each week. The staff of Sheperd’s Hope clinic locations is composed primarily of volunteers. Anderson has been a monumental asset to this organization as he volunteers his registered nursing skills on an ongoing weekly basis. He assists in the training of his fellow medical professional team at the clinic also. Anderson volunteers at the Grand Avenue location of Sheperd’s Hope and serves an average of 18 clients per week. He takes the initiative by offering suggestions to management to improve the health care services. Anderson is dedicated to serving the working poor of Orlando who need health care.
The 211 Community Resources information and referral number is new to Central Florida; however prior to 211, the Community Services Network had the challenge of offering this valuable service to people in need of community assistance. Anderson has been volunteering with the Community Services Network since 2000, and when they became the 211 Network, Anderson continues his efforts with them. He is still answering calls form Central Florida citizens in need and directing them to appropriate agencies to meet their needs. Anderson answers between 50 and 100 calls per day covering a wide variety of situations ranging from simple questions to crisis level issues.
The 211 Community Resources maintains a resource database that includes 425 agencies offering more than 3,000 services. Staff members and volunteers initially receive three to four weeks of intensive training before they are permitted to take a call. Additional training and in-services are required on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Given the vast amount of knowledge, patience, resources and time required of an Information Specialist, it is easy to see how few volunteers are willing to provide a long-term commitment to such a position. Anderson has been a steadfast, knowledgeable and reliable volunteer for more than three years.