When we were researching our week to honor New Orleans, we found some wonderful organizations. One highlight for us was our video with HandsOn New Orleans. Please read on for my interview with Executive Director Kertrina Watson Lewis.
Please tell us a little bit about HandsOn New Orleans and how it started?
When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast, HandsOn Network made an immediate and serious commitment to address the devastation and support Gulf relief and recovery efforts through targeted volunteer action. With a Challenge Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, HandsOn New Orleans and HandsOn Gulf Coast (in Biloxi, Mississippi) were launched to serve the vast needs of communities directly impacted by the storms. The focus, then and now, was utilizing our project management expertise to more effectively deploy volunteers eager to help.
Can you talk about some of the programs you offer?
Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, HandsOn New Orleans has evolved from a disaster response project into a thriving volunteer action center for grassroots service projects, providing local and visiting volunteers with the tools, housing and training necessary to strengthen and revitalize their communities. HandsOn New Orleans continues to transform communities through volunteer service and leadership development. We offer: a Tool Lending Library, Volunteer Bunkhouse, Volunteer Leadership Training, Annual Days of Service, a Network of Committed Volunteers, a Flexible Calendar of Volunteer Projects, Non-Profit Partnerships/Resources, and a Corporate Projects Program/Hands@Work.
If someone wanted to volunteer what should he or she expect?
Volunteering with HandsOn New Orleans is as simple as 123. First, search our online project calendar for a volunteer project that piques your interest(s). Next, register for the volunteer opportunity online. Then, follow the instructions provided in a follow-up email, detailing the time, date and location of your volunteer opportunity. We even include what to wear, what to expect and information related to the impact area you’re addressing.
If someone had more time and wanted to help HandsOn New Orleans what should he/she do?
Contact our Volunteer Coordinators at (504) 483-7041 ext. 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on long term volunteer opportunities in New Orleans.
How is New Orleans recovering 5 years after Katrina?
We’ve come a long way but there’s still plenty of work to do. Donations and volunteers are welcome.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about either New Orleans or your organization?
Much of the progress that has been made since Hurricane Katrina would not have been possible if it were not for the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, donors and friends from around the world—representatives from varying racial, religious and socio-economic backgrounds—who stood shoulder to shoulder with us to rebuild this great city. The impact that we have made together is nothing short of incredible.
For more information, please visit, HandsOn New Orleans