Greetings, Rebuilding volunteers and friends! While many of you who have volunteered with our Rebuilding Program in the last 3 months know me already, I'd like to formally introduce myself to the rest of our cadre of hard-working and passionate volunteers.
I first volunteered here in November '06 with the Gutting program, and immediately heard the call to return and continue God's work in New Orleans. In February '08 I returned for good, working on site as a crew chief. I was hired in April as the Mission and Volunteer Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. Originally from Virginia, I have a B.S. in Exercise Science, and taught middle school PE for 5 and a half years before moving to New Orleans.
Within the volunteer experience, we are working to make the program more accessible, by focusing more intently on making trips easy to plan, and creating a welcoming environment upon your arrival. We have adjusted the orientations to provide a more in-depth look at the storm and what residents face in its wake, including issues of race, class, and poverty. We also conduct an end of the trip debriefing session, especially first time groups and those with younger volunteers to manage and discuss feelings and reactions to your volunteer experience, within an emotional and spiritual context.
We still need resources, as there are many who still suffer and struggle to return their lives to a new sense of normal. Our three main needs are money, long term interns (crew chiefs) and volunteers. If you know of anyone who would be a good candidate for a long term (6-12 month) internship as a crew chief, please contact Katie Mears (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are updating our website to make it easier to donate online, and to make it more interactive for you. Look for new stories and testimonials from volunteers in the coming weeks, as well as updated lists of churches near you who have volunteered. We also have a Facebook page, called EDOLA Rebuild's Volunteer Page, and are currently running a contest to see who can come up with the most creative fundraising ideas for their group or church.
Thank you for your continued support, and please don't hesitate to call or email me with questions or concerns. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers, and help us march forward with faith and love, serving those who still suffer. I look forward to helping you plan and coordinate your next trip down to New Orleans.
Peace and love in Christ,
Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
Saturday, July 12, 2008
EDOLA Office of Disaster Response Update
Here's the latest email newsletter from the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response. It's a heartbreaking shame how much injustice continues to persist in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, so I hope you'll read the letter and, if able, take a week or two this summer to help out, and if unable, at least pass the word along to a friend. From Pete Nunnally: