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Sandy Scott

By: Sandy Scott In the wake of the nation’s deadliest tornado in six decades, more than 80 AmeriCorps members are working night and day to assist first responders and victims in the recovery efforts in Joplin, MO.With the death toll at 126, more than 700 people injured, and thousands of structures destroyed, the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin last Sunday flattened everything in its path, leaving residents to scramble to find missing family members and find immediate shelter.RAPID DEPLOYMENTAmeriCorps members have traveled from near and far to Joplin to help coordinate relief efforts. Among the first on the ground was a group from the AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team, an AmeriCorps program that acts as a multi-functional rapid deployment group that has provided immediate and long-term disaster response to disasters in 29 states over the past 17 years.As soon as word came of the devastation in Joplin, a team of AmeriCorps St. Louis ERT members packed their equipment and drove through the night to Joplin, arriving at 2:30 a.m. on Monday, not knowing where they would sleep but ready to get to work.They quickly went into action to open a Missing Persons Hotline for individuals to register a profile of those who have not been accounted for after the deadly tornado. By 5:30 a.m., the AmeriCorps team had set up a 24-hour Missing Persons Hotline with the help of IT staffers at Missouri Southern State University.Megan MacDougall, an AmeriCorps member who set up and is now overseeing the call center, said thousands of calls have been logged since the hotline opened. Callers give a detailed description of missing family or friends that goes into a database accessible to the Sheriff’s Office, Highway Patrol, Family Assistance Office, and search and rescue teams. The Missouri Department of Public Safety, which oversees the missing person’s effort, yesterday released a list of 232 individuals for whom an official missing persons report had been filed.“We’ll stay here until we’re no longer needed,” said MacDougall, who hopes to find a job working on disaster relief when her year in AmeriCorps ends.AmeriCorps members are also in the community, with teams of AmeriCorps members leading groups of 40-50 volunteers into Joplin to clear roads and debris to ensure first responders can maneuver effectively in search and rescue missions. AmeriCorps members are also registering and managing volunteers, overseeing a donation warehouse, and conducting needs assessments.Stephanie Jackson, an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team leader from Denver, is managing the donations warehouse at Missouri Southern State University. Her team, one of four NCCC teams in Joplin, had been working in St. Louis for the previous three weeks responding to the Good Friday tornado when they were redeployed to Joplin on Monday night.Jackson said her team got two hours of sleep the night they arrived by didn’t mind as they were eager to get to work. “We couldn’t wait to get here to help. It makes me feel alive and I know I am making a difference.”Twelve AmeriCorps members from Skagit and Yakima counties in Washington State are also serving in Joplin. These AmeriCorps members, part of the Washington Conservation Corps, were redeployed from St. Louis and are assisting in the distribution center, volunteer intake center, and clean up efforts.The AmeriCorps members in Joplin are part of a much larger national service response to the devastating floods and tornadoes that have struck the South and the Midwest this spring. Hundreds of AmeriCorps members and RSVP volunteers are serving in Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.AGENCIES WORKING TOGETHERThe Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, is working closely with FEMA and state officials in Missouri and other states to effectively use national service resources. The agency is deploying four staff members to Missouri to provide assistance to deployed AmeriCorps service projects including project development, logistical support, safety assurance, coordination among voluntary agencies, and support in the various federal and inter-agency disaster offices.“This spring has seen an unprecedented series of disasters for our country. I’m proud our national service participants have put their skills and training to work to provide critical assistance to our fellow Americans who are facing such devastation,” said Kelly DeGraff, senior advisor for disaster services at CNCS. “AmeriCorps members were on the scene within hours after the tornado struck, and we’ll be there for the long haul.”Learn more about ways to donate or volunteer to support Joplin. For more information on national service disaster response, visit our Disaster Services webpage.

Keywords: Joplin, Missouri, AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, Disaster
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service, and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
For more than 40 years, RSVP has delivered proven results and engaged millions of Americans 55 and over in national and community service. This Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program is a win-win for America, as senior volunteer service benefits the health of the adult volunteers and addresses vital needs in the communities they serve. Last week, Senior Corps opened its 2013 RSVP Competition.
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The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service, and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
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The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
The opportunity for a diverse group of college kids to join together and work toward a single purpose is something that should not be taken for granted. Imagine a world in which this generation -- from both religious and nonreligious backgrounds -- comes together to serve their communities.
First Lady Michelle Obama is leading the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games and she's calling on families around the country to support Team USA, not just by cheering on our athletes, but by getting active in their own communities.
Earlier this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the graduation of 22 Green City Force AmeriCorps members in New York City. Green City Force recruits young adults, ages 18-24, who are currently unemployed or underemployed high school graduates or GED-holders from low-income neighborhoods.
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The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
Travis is a single father of two from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since 2008, Travis had bounced between part-time and temporary jobs. His wages had peaked at around $10 per hour, though he needed at least $12-$14 an hour to support his family. With limited interviewing and workforce experience, he didn't think he would ever find full-time work – let alone have a career.
Summer learning loss is a growing problem for American children but there is a simple solution. Research shows that reading just five books during the summer can help kids stay on the path to academic success during the next school year.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
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Recent wildfires have threatened communities across Colorado and the Southwest and national service has been working day and night to help put out the flames and support survivors.
Nursing homes can be scary places for the residents as they yearn for companionship in a situation that doesn’t bring frequent visitors. Knowing those often-unfilled needs of the elderly led Rachel Doyle to turn her focus to improving this situation.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
John Urbigkit has service in his blood. He has volunteered as an EMT medic, Boy Scout leader and even earned a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War. But it is his role as a Senior Corps volunteer with the Southeast Wyoming Foster Grandparent Program that earned this community hero a distinguished honor that brought him to Washington, DC.
America's children continue to struggle with summer learning loss and childhood obesity. As part of the effort to battle this problem, the Corporation for National and Community Service continues our Let's Read. Let's Move. initiative for the summer of 2012.

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