Volunteers urgently needed to help Katrina survivors

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:55

    GOSHEN-The American Red Cross in Greater New York is working to provide continuing aid and comfort to the tens of thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. As a result, there are many current opportunities for volunteers to directly contribute to the recovery effort, either right here in the New York area or in the Gulf Coast states over the two or three months, according to Bette Popovich, director of the Orange/Sullivan Office in Goshen. The American Red Cross needs to recruit and train 40,000 new disaster services volunteers to help with disaster relief, especially in the Gulf Coast area, she said. Here are the jobs for which volunteers are urgently needed: Customer services These volunteers will be called up to handle customer service and administrative functions in New York City. Tasks include working at the Volunteer Resources Department Phone Bank, staffing the Volunteer Information Center in the lobby of headquarters, helping evacuees at the Hurricane Katrina Welcome Center at City College, and conducting interviews with volunteer candidates. Duties require one to two hours of training and a commitment of at least one four-hour shift per week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Caseworkers The volunteers must have a social work license (LMSW or LCSW) or currently be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate student in a Social Work degree program. They must be able to: • Work directly with survivors of Hurricane Katrina, now in the New York area, gather basic data, assess clients' needs, and advocate on clients' behalf • Provide casework intervention for clients who may be experiencing grief and trauma • Perform in a stressful and pressured environment, multi task, work cooperatively with other team members, be flexible • Commit to a two-hour orientation session and least one six-to-eight-hour shift per week, preferably in the evenings or weekends. Disaster responders deployed to the Gulf Region These volunteers must be 18 years of ago or older, have a valid driver's license, be able to be deployed with little advance notice, and have Internet access and an e-mail address. They will be required to: • Serve two to three weeks on assignment in the disaster-affected area of the Gulf Coast, staying in a staff shelter with limited running water under conditions of hardship. Expenses for travel, meals, assigned lodging, and incidentals will be covered by the American Red Cross. • Work in one of three areas: client services (one-on-one with families), community services (provide shelter and food at shelters), or logistics/material support services (ensure the relief effort is supplied). • Take at least three training sessions of three to four hours, and submit to an interview and a background check For more information or to get involved, call 1-877-REDCROSS, ext. 2068.