Volunteers strengthen communities with kindness, support | Item
FORT DRUM, NY (September 23, 2021) – Volunteers make a community’s heart beat faster, enriching it with much-needed support and contributions that affect the lives of many.
Dani Reed, program manager for the Fort Drum Army Volunteer Corps, recently spoke at the Community Information Exchange on volunteer opportunities at and in the Tri-County area.
“The Army Volunteer Corps was designed to help individuals within the military community – and this can be soldiers, family members, dependents, youth, retirees, civilians – to find ways to volunteer, ”she said. “We’re here to help you connect and find what’s right for you. “
Reed said the number of people volunteering through the Army Volunteer Corps program has increased from last year, although the needs of some volunteer organizations are greater.
“People are still concerned about COVID-19, but with more people getting vaccinated, I think that’s why we are seeing our numbers increase steadily,” she said. “But there are a lot of opportunities for people to get involved and make a difference. By volunteering, you connect with your community and make it a better place.
Currently, 188 organizations are registered in the Volunteer Management Information System, with active volunteer opportunities listed at https://vmis.armyfamilywebportal.com/volunteer/opportunities.
“When you locate the organization and position that you want to volunteer for, there is a point of contact for that particular position,” Reed said. “You can call them and find out a little more about the organization and this position, and connect with that community. “
Ashleigh Pursel Carlin is President of the Fort Drum Chapter of GivingTuesdayMilitary (GTM), organized by military spouses and launched in 2019. Giving Tuesday was born in 2012 as a global movement to encourage and inspire generosity, whether through through random or organized acts of kindness. activities and events in the community.
“I heard about the GTM when we got to Fort Drum last year,” said Pursel Carlin. “I was looking at the various volunteer opportunities in the area. Kindness was needed after such a difficult year, so the mission continued within COVID restrictions. “
The Fort Drum Chapter is hosting a “24 Hours of Kindness” event on November 30th.
“From midnight we will be in the community making waves of kindness,” she said. “We have great ideas for spreading kindness throughout the Fort Drum community – schools, hospitals, first responders, the military – but our efforts are limited by the number of participants. “
To this end, they are currently recruiting more volunteers for the cause.
“The more volunteers there are, the greater the impact,” said Pursel Carlin. “Volunteers can participate in any capacity. We hold creative collaboration meetings to see how we can have the greatest impact of kindness. “
She said acts of kindness can be as simple as leaving a positive note on a neighbor’s car or a colleague’s desk, bringing a snack for guards and first responders, or coffee for staff. medical.
“One of our greatest acts of kindness is giving life by giving blood,” said Pursel Carlin. “We will have two locations in Fort Drum this year, aiming to collect 100 units of blood. It would be the largest blood drive in Fort Drum in about five years, if not more. “
Pursel Carlin is also a program specialist with the American Red Cross, which has an office at the Family Resource Center, Bldg. 11042 on boulevard du Mont Belvédère. She said they were also looking for volunteers for blood drives and other special events in Fort Drum and the surrounding community.
During the global pandemic, blood donation was deemed safe and poses no threat to donors or to the country’s blood supply. Pursel Carlin said medical staff and volunteers adhere to safety protocols during blood drives.
“The Red Cross will ensure that volunteers adhere to guidelines and safety standards,” she said. “For anyone who is hesitant to participate in in-person volunteering, remote volunteering opportunities, such as social work, are available. “
Units of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) have volunteer positions for spouses within its soldier and family readiness groups – from leadership positions and key callers to members of the care team.
Volunteers receive training as part of the Mobilization and Deployment Readiness program, which is offered at least once a month depending on the position. Additional training can be scheduled and tailored to the needs of volunteers as needed.
“Every company, troop or battery should have an SFRG as a communication plan between command and families,” said Lynn Williams, mobilization and deployment readiness specialist. “It’s a commanding officer program that requires volunteers because it has to be a team effort to make it work.
Williams said spouses who volunteer become more connected to the unit, making it easier for family members to communicate and receive information from the command team.
“The readiness of the soldier and the readiness of the family equals the readiness of the unit,” she said. “The soldiers and their spouses are one cohesive team, so it’s not ‘us-and-them’. “
Reed said anyone who has questions about volunteering or is having trouble navigating VMIS can call him at (315) 772-2899. Community members can also register for a VMIS course at the Family Resource Center to learn more.
People can also find volunteer opportunities by following Fort Drum Army Volunteer Corps on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FortDrumArmyVolunteerCorps.