Colorado is one of those states where collaboration and cooperation matter a great deal. We have small communities with limited capacity to manage large scale disasters. Together, we’re stronger.
The volunteer centers in Colorado have adopted that same philosophy when tasked with managing spontaneous, unaffiliated volunteers, especially when multiple incidents are happening concurrently. For that past five years, our Colorado Volunteer Center Network has worked together to develop the Volunteer Coordination System. Crafted by phenomenal VISTA members, this scalable program can be implemented remotely with Internet connections. It gives us the ability to have Aimee Liotino in Colorado Springs support Sue McCullough in Boulder. Or Emma Woods in Greeley support Jami McMannes in Fort Collins.
Even though we’re in a state where disasters aren’t frequent, when they hit, they are devastating. That our network took the time to develop this system, train our staff and establish clear communication tools has given us the ability to be the “go to” organization. While we’re the quiet, behind-the-scenes group, we have the opportunity to put citizens to work to help their neighbors in meaningful and impactful ways.
This work is important. Sign up to volunteer with your HandsOn Network affiliate and please, also write them a check. Without their organizational skills and knowledge, much of the work in communities to recover from a disaster wouldn’t happen.
Here are three things you can do to help Colorado’s flood recovery efforts:
- Register your interest to volunteer here. (Please do not self-deploy to affected areas.)
- Donate to support Colorado’s HandsOn Network affiliates that will be engaged in what will be a long-term recovery effort. You can give online to the Foothills Flood Relief Fund, which will support ongoing volunteer efforts led by Metro Volunteers in Denver and Foothills United Way.
- Be prepared! Visit www.goodandready.org to download an emergency preparedness checklist and create a disaster readiness plan for your family.