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.

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