Friday, June 01, 2007

Looking for a summer trip?

It is June now, and the few friends I have left still in high school graduated last night. This can only mean summer is upon us - what are your plans? Is there room for a relaxing work trip to the Gulf Coast?

I've posted this before, but given the arrival of summer, I feel I should post it again. (There's also the fact that this is finals week and I don't have time to write anything new.) Here is a list of volunteer organizations in the Gulf Coast that need your help. To understand why the need is so desperate, please read this post, and peruse these. Think about it - you can help your needy brothers and sisters during the day, hit the Mississippi beach in the evening, and check out the French Quarter at night! What more could you want out of a summer trip?

Detailed information for contacting the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response is at the bottom of the post. Since I worked with the Diocese for three months, I have more information on it than on other volunteer organizations, though all come highly recommended. If you have your own blog, please provide a link to this post - it's the only way the Gulf Coast region can ever recover. I can't count the times I was told, "Thank God you're here! If it wasn't for you church people and faith-based groups, nothing would ever get done!" (This applies to secular non-profites, too!)

Specific Volunteer Jobs at Volunteermatch.org

Evangelical Free Church of America

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

United Church of Christ Volunteer Opportunities

Hands on New Orleans
Hands on Gulf Coast
(Much of the Dartmouth volunteering is done through the Hands On network.)

Common Ground Collective
For more information - My Blog Post on Common Ground

ACORN

Habitat for Humanity

Americorps



Click here for information on specific volunteer opportunities with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisana. Opportunities include rebuilding houses (no special skills needed!), helping with the mobile respite care unit (basically a distribution center, which I helped run for several months), community activities at specific churches, helping with various soup kitchen or meals-on-wheels type programs, and traveling with the St. Anna's Mobile Medical Mission (a free RV clinic). The Diocese will provide you with the tools and housing you and your crew need, though you must come up with your own transportation and food. The current volunteer coordinators are Susan Foto (sfoto@edola.org) and Darlene Davillier (ddavillier@edola.org). Contact them to set up your trip after you've read through the ODR's website. The new Beacon of Hope center at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Lakeview neighborhood also has its own volunteer operation.

If you're intersted in a long-term internship, Foto and Davillier might still be the people to contact, but you might also try Katie Mears, who runs the gutting/rebuilding program, at kmears@edola.org. It can't hurt to include all three in the "to" field. Interns lead rebuilding crews, live in a house uptown, and recieve a small stipend. At then-19, I was the youngest; most are 22-25. Trust me, being underage crimps your social life with such a group.

(All photos I took myself, except for the second one, of the tent and RV. That's courtesy Bob Gustafson.)

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