Friday, June 29, 2012

HOSA: bringing communities and volunteers together

HandsOn South Alabama’s (HOSA) mission is to mobilize individuals and resources to develop creative solutions to community problems. By recruiting, training, and matching volunteers with opportunities based on skills, interests, and availability, HOSA is able to help the communities of South Alabama address many of their critical needs.

HandsOn South Alabama was elected to receive a $100,000 grant from The Community Foundation of South Alabama to support the expansion of its services into Baldwin County, and help non-profit organizations impacted by the BP Oil Spill with volunteer recruitment and project management services. The grant was made possible by a contribution received from the Fund for Gulf Communities, a program of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

The program serves two groups:  volunteers and the non-profit and governmental partner agencies that require volunteers. This project also supports organizations in Baldwin County that assist low-income, limited English proficiency, and distressed individuals negatively impacted by the economic downturn and the oil disaster. HOSA helps in providing trained and skilled volunteers. By doing so, Baldwin non-profit organizations can counterbalance their operating costs and budget constraints, while still meeting the needs of those impacted by the BP Oil Spill.

HandsOn South Alabama also recently hosted the “Be Ready to Respond Disaster” Training Workshop, held on June 5 and 6 in Mobile at the American Red Cross.

There were 43 participants (who were also recruited as volunteers), as well as guest trainers from various organizations, including: Orange Beach Fire Department; Mennonite Disaster Services, Catholic Social Services, American Red Cross, Adventist Disaster Services, The Mobile Medical Reserve Corps. Participants came from South Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Additionally, the influx of grant funding has allowed HandsOn South Alabama to assist over 28,650 adults and children in basic social services, manage over 9,000 cases through the Prodisee Pantry and Community Action of South Alabama, serve over 790 individuals under 18 as part of youth resiliency, 23 individuals both over and under 18 in education advocacy, and help train at least 10,000 adults and children as volunteer field observers through the Alabama Coastal Foundation.

HOSA expects to: increase the capacity of 40 Baldwin County non-profit partners to provide needed services to those affected by the BP Oil Spill, provide partners with marketing support for their volunteer needs, and train 500 volunteers for their non-profit partners in Baldwin County. With over 6,500 volunteers, including a 25% increase in volunteer registration in 2010, HandsOn South Alabama collaborates with community partners to promote volunteerism, expand the impact of donor dollars and build capacity of the non-profit sector; and the Community Foundation is proud to be a partner.

The Community Foundation remembers Ms. Dora Finley

The Community Foundation of South Alabama has worked to provide the tools that make giving to our community easier and effective. We have served as the vessel for donors, volunteers and community members to share ideas, identify issues and build the financial resources necessary to make improvements and positively impact our community. Today however, we remember Ms. Dona Finley for her tireless devotion as community volunteer and leader. Although she will be greatly missed, Ms. Finley will continue to be a role model for the members in our communities.
Dora Alice Franklin Finley was an active volunteer and advocate for historic preservation. Native of Mobile, she leaves behind an incredible legacy of preserving the city’s African-American history. From a young age, Ms. Finley was influenced by her family’s long history of activism and, over the years continued that tradition.

In Mobile, Ms. Finley maintained an active role in community outreach and preserving African-American history and heritage. She served in several civic boards, including the Advisory Board for the Historic Mobile Preservation Society and the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation of South Alabama. She was also a member of the East Church Street Historic District Neighborhood Association, the African-American Heritage Trail Committee, and the Mobile Historic Development Commission as a designated representative for the City Council.

When City Councilman William Carroll recruited Ms. Finley back in 2006 to help establish the Mobile African-American Heritage Trail, her charismatic leadership allowed her to successfully launch this. Today, more than 40 historic markers have been placed along this Trail. In 2008, Ms. Finley also had a visible role in “The Order of Myths,” the documentary film about Mobile’s Mardi Gras, directed by Margaret Brown. In that same year, she also received the African-American Heritage Council’s Idella Child’s Distinguished Service Award for her contribution to the African-American Trail.

Ms. Finley’s latest effort was focused on restoring the Cook’s House, the detached kitchen and servants’ quarters on the grounds of the historic Oakleigh Mansion. Cook’s House will serve as the first house museum in Mobile dedicated to the African-American experience and will provide a complete and historically accurate presentation of the families who lived and worked at Oakleigh.

Ms. Finley was an inspirational leader with incredible creative abilities. She was able to bring people together with remarkable results. By reviving and preserving the African-American heritage in Mobile with such dedication and passion, Dora Finley has left a trail of inspiration for others to follow. To invoke the words of John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SAWDC: provides professional training opportunities

Congratulations to the Certified Nursing Assistant graduates, and to SAWDC for making it happen.

The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) is part of a network of ten regional workforce development councils in the State of Alabama. The Councils are business-driven and work with their member counties to develop a regional strategic plan and encompassing workforce development system to support local economic activities and job development.

The Gulf Communities Initiative of the Community Foundation of South Alabama, sponsored by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, awarded the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council a grant for $190,000. The grants funds are being used to help support the Bayou Support Center (BSC) – a “one-stop” service center focusing on workforce training, case management, general family support, and transportation services to residents affected by the BP oil spill.

The BSC serves oil spill victims, with the majority reporting income levels below the poverty line, and also small Asian and Hispanic communities. The funding provided by the grant is helping the Bayou Support Center case managers conduct outreach efforts to individuals for whom English is a second language, and is also providing professional training opportunities for clients through the Recovery Response Committee.

The Recovery Response Committee consists of multiple partner organizations and meets to discuss the needs of the community and the utilization of resources. The RRC offers training and certification classes for Welding, Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.), Commercial Driver License, General Adult Education, English as a second language, Coast Guard licensing, and Maritime education among others.

The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council was established to provide a direct link to the workforce needs of businesses and industries at the local level. The Community Foundation of South Alabama is proud to be a part of that, and would like to congratulate the 13 Nursing Assistants and 13 welders that have received and completed their training and certifications.