The UPF is determined to help people everywhere get back on their feet after a disaster, whether natural or man made. We partner with other organizations to effect lasting community change. In the United States our list of potential includes the Points of Light Foundation and the ambassadors for peace initiative, and more.
The Alliance For Recovery Awards: Update from the Points of Light Foundation
In September of 2005, approximately $1 million was awarded to 32 volunteer centers across the country for long-term hurricane recovery and for capacity building to prepare for future disasters by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network (POLF/VCNN), a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC.
Stories of Change and Transformation
Firefighter's Dream Fulfilled
Ongoing trainings help future victims but also current volunteers. This story from Volunteer Services of Manatee County, Inc. of Bradenton, Fla., is one of many:
"He had no permanent address and a track record that was far from clean. Doug wanted to be a firefighter but the school was hesitant to accept him. Living and receiving drug treatment with Florida Faith Ministries, he negotiated with the school to reevaluate his application after 60 days. During those 60 days he volunteered for the community 40 hours a week.
He went to Volunteer Services of Manatee County, Inc. because of a partnership established between the Volunteer Center and Florida Faith Ministries. With the Alliance for Recovery Award, the Volunteer Center was able to pay his fee to attend Community Emergency Response Team training. Doug not only completed training, he also gathered his housemates to create a team that focuses on identifying potential Points of Distribution. He also led a group of 34 volunteers in an initiative to visit senior residents to identify hazardous materials in their household.
Doug was rewarded as Manatee County Volunteer of the Year and the dean of Manatee Technical Institute awarded him a full scholarship to pursue his dream of becoming a fire fighter."
Disaster Preparation in Tallahassee
VolunteerLEON of Tallahassee, Fla., has successfully kicked off its KIND Initiative (Knowledge, Information and Neighbors in Disaster) to reach out to the most vulnerable of Tallahassee’s residents, the elderly and disabled. This initiative was developed to help them prepare for disasters. A press conference was held where the Alliance for Recovery Award check was presented to the county commissioner and the steering committee officially kicked off its work. Eight senior center presentations have been conducted on disaster preparedness and 20 interfaith youth were gathered to assemble 75 backpacks full of disaster supplies to be distributed to participants. This time of service also allowed for an aging sensitivity training and interfaith dialogue and reflection.
Backpacks and School Supplies for Mississippi Schools
“Operation Backpack” at the Volunteer Center of Monterey County in Salinas, Calif., brought together 130 interfaith youth to assemble 1,500 backpacks full of school supplies and write encouraging cards for students in Mississippi whose schools were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Participants in the event participated in an interfaith dialogue and were treated to a cultural dance performance. Former Salinas Mayor Anna Cabellero spoke at the project, as well as former Watsonville Mayor Anna Ventura-Phares. City council member Maria Guardardo also attended.
The Alliance for Recovery Award opens doors for many Volunteer Centers to create and continue important work that cannot be replicated. These efforts are highly appreciated now and time will show how the effects of these programs will help the future of communities across the United States.