Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Many Americans are stepping up to help those affected by natural disasters at home

A twister in Joplin, Mo., killing over 120 people and record breaking floods up and down the Mississippi River have volunteers from all over the United States helping with recovery efforts. Volunteers with many different organizations are traveling to different disaster sites helping out where they can.

In Mississippi a group of college-age volunteers who are part of the National Civilian Community Corps, a program within AmeriCorps, have been working diligently on preparing towns up and down the Mississippi River for the inevitable flooding.

Many of the volunteers from the NCCC were helping with Hurricane Katrina recovery when the reports of flooding along the Mississippi River came in. About 100 volunteers were transferred to Vicksburg, Miss., to begin preparing for the impending flood. They have been making sand bags for residents and businesses to protect them from the rising water. AmeriCorps also sent a specially trained emergency team to help with the disaster in Joplin, Mo. Their help along with other volunteers and organizations have led to the rescue of nine people.

Other organizations are also transferring volunteers to different parts of the country to help with the recent tornados that have hit Joplin, Mo. The Red Cross continues to help victims in the storm ravaged south and the flooding of the Mississippi River, but has transferred volunteers to Joplin, Mo. to help with the destruction that was caused by the deadliest tornado in the US in 64 years.

According to Memphis, Tenn. WREG News Channel 3, volunteers have been transferred many times during these spring months. Kathy Maloney, a retired nurse volunteering for the Red Cross, has been transferred from Tuscaloosa, Al., to Memphis, Tenn., and is now being sent to Joplin, Mo. to help where she is needed. Maloney and other volunteers of the Red Cross establish shelters for those who have been displaced because of these disasters. In Joplin, Mo. Red Cross volunteers set up a shelter at a local high school that was not harmed during the tornados. Theses shelters give those with nowhere to go a place to stay.

The United Animal Nations, a California based non-profit group, also contributed to the response effort in the recent disasters, by establishing shelters for displaced pets whose owners have disappeared. The UAN helps rescue workers by placing animals in shelters so they do not hamper the rescue and recovery efforts.

Residents in Pittsburg, Pa. loaded trucks with supplies to deliver to Joplin. College athletes and other volunteers from Pittsburg State University have been sorting and taking donations. These volunteers loaded 14 pallets of supplies for those affected by the tornados.

People from across the country have helped by donating their time, money, supplies and resources. These disasters have brought people together through volunteering. Visit the Red Cross Website to help with the relief efforts! Already involved? Tell us your story in the comment below!

Picture 1: Creative Commons- Chicago Public Media

Picture 2: Creative Commons-John T. Pilot

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Young Volunteers of Japan

The Young Volunteers of Japan

Volunteering isn’t a large part of Japanese culture, and the young especially may be considered by some as lazy and “lost”. However, in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, young people have stepped up and taken the lead in rebuilding their country, changing views of their generation in the process.

Young people around Japan have traveled north to volunteer. In Tome, Miyagi, a northern Japanese city, a group of young college women from Tokyo helped by folding and distributing children’s clothing.

Young people in Japan started a non-profit group called Youth for 3.11. Their primary goal is to send college students and young adults to the Tohoku region of Japan to help with the relief efforts. They have had over 1,800 students register to volunteer.

Tohoku Rising is another new youth organization that has flourished due to the recent earthquakes and tsunamis. They have utilized social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to organize relief donations. In addition they have sent volunteers to the Tohoku region.

Not only are these young people helping by raising funds and distributing clothing, food and water, they are interacting with the residents of the affected areas. They are doing this in order to better suit the needs of those affected in the long run. Young people in Japan have made a point that they will be here beyond the immediate relief efforts.

These young people have gone against stereotypes and have proven that they will be a presence in years to come. Are you doing something to support Japan’s recovery efforts and other countries in crisis in the years to come? Let us know by commenting below!

Photo by: Creative Commons
Username: Kianno

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