Thursday, September 15, 2011

Do you know what natural disasters you are vulnerable to in your community? Do you have an emergency plan if disaster strikes?

These can be daunting questions, but they don’t have to be. Aside from having disaster insurance protection, we often forget the importance of developing a plan and having the necessary supplies to be ready for emergency situations. Being prepared can grant us a certain peace of mind when all precautionary steps have been taken.

Good & Ready, a program of the Get HandsOn campaign, will help you get prepared. Good &
Ready focuses on emergency preparedness efforts and encourages Americans to create family emergency plans, build emergency preparedness kits and get trained with an emergency response organization.

Visit to see all the amazing resources available to you and take an interactive quiz to rest your family’s readiness for emergencies and disasters. Not only will you be able to assess your emergency readiness, you will also be entered in the weekly drawing to receive a ReadyBox emergency preparedness case. The prizes don’t end there. By pledging your plans to create an emergency plan, build a kit, help others and/or get trained, you will be entered for the chance to win a $250 Lowe’s gift card in a weekly drawing. Participants will also be entered for the chance to win a $1,000 American Express gift card in the grand prize drawing. Winners are encouraged to donate their gift card to their charity of choice.

Countless lives have been saved because people like YOU have received training from emergency response organizations and created emergency kits. If you haven’t taken the appropriate steps to get prepared, what are you waiting for? Visit your local HandsOn action center or visit one of Good & Ready’s partner organizations like the Red Cross, FLASH and for additional resources in emergency response.

What about your neighbors? As you peruse the Good & Ready website, you will gain tons of knowledge. We encourage you to share this information with your friends and community.
Hosting a kit building party is a fun way to share your emergency preparedness smarts and interact with family, friends and neighbors to ensure everyone is prepared. Throw on some tunes, get a few snacks and have a blast. It can be inexpensive to make a household kit and one of the best investments you can make for your home.

We all know that the more we’re prepared to face a difficult situation, the less anxious we become. Log on to and get good and ready. Don’t forget to check out the
Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for more great tips!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Volunteer Broward to Coordinate 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance in Broward County

Kristina DaSilva,
Director of Programs
Volunteer Broward
Phone: 954.233.1293

Volunteer Broward is joining hundreds of organizations and individuals around the country that are participating in the 9/11 Day observance in an effort to create the single-largest day of good deeds, charitable activity and volunteer service in U.S. history.  The projects will pay tribute to the 9/11 victims and survivors and those who rose in service following the attacks.

Beginning on September 9th and culminating on September 11th, Volunteer Broward will organize 1,000 volunteers in service to the county.   Rallying community members to commit to service by taking the “I Will” pledge, the local affiliate of the national HandsOn Network plans to unite nonprofit organizations, civic groups, corporate and community volunteers to perform a wide array of tasks.

“This movement captures the desire of millions of caring Americans and people around the world to pay tribute, as well as our collective determination to not forget those lost, the injured and the many who rose in service in response to the attacks,” said Jay S. Winuk, vice president and co-founder of MyGoodDeed, and brother of Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney and volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty on Sept. 11. “The 10-year anniversary of 9/11 provides a remarkable opportunity to rekindle that much needed spirit of unity and create a historic tribute of service and reflection that will forever honor both the victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks.”

Joining MyGoodDeed and HandsOn Network to lead the observance are the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center, AARP, The Mission Continues and The Corporation for National and Community Service. The 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is supported by leadership contributor American Express, along with national contributors JPMorgan Chase, Best Buy, GlaxoSmithKline, and Target.

“The support from the community has been tremendous”, said Volunteer Broward’s Executive Director, Dale Hirsch. “We are proud to be part of such a strong collaborative effort to honor the victims, heroes and survivors of 9/11.”

Volunteer Broward is currently registering volunteers to carry out the service projects that will take place throughout Broward County from Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11.  The calendar of projects includes:   

  • 09/09/2011 - Food Sorting at Feeding South Florida
  • 09/10/2011 – Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Run
  • 09/10/2011 – 9/11 Service Tribute at Broward Outreach Center
  • 09/10/2011 – Disaster Response Team Training at Volunteer Broward
  • 09/10/2011 – Mock Volunteer Reception Center at Volunteer Broward
  • 09/11/2011 – 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Elementary School
Individuals interested in volunteering at a 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance tribute project can find a complete list of service opportunities with project details, locations, and requirements online at  

About Volunteer Broward:
Volunteer Broward connects individuals, businesses, and civic groups with unique, hands-on volunteer opportunities at more than 600 nonprofit organizations, and on thousands of projects annually, which make a lasting impact on our community. To learn more about Volunteer Broward, upcoming service opportunities, or to schedule a volunteer orientation at your place of business, please call 954.233.1300 or visit us online at

# # #

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 2011 Project Leader Spotlight: Jonelle Levy

I got involved as a Project Leader with Volunteer Broward during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Week of Service. During that time, Volunteer Broward was mobilizing over 5,000 volunteers and community members to answer to Dr. King's call to service. Although I was an active volunteer, I decided that being a project leader would be a great opportunity in developing and sustaining future projects. I got the chance to recruit and lead over 200 volunteers for the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade at MLK Jr. elementary in addition to working as a Street Team Leader and encouraging the parade goers to commit to service this year. The MLK Jr. celebration was the first project that I got to lead and the experience was amazing! I was able to volunteer with my friends and family. At that time, I realized that the world is much bigger than my neighborhood and by doing self-less acts I can motivate another person or child.

Being a volunteer and project leader has positively impacted my personal and professional goals.I recently  received my associates in nursing and I am currently pursuing a bachelor's in Public Health. I plan on continuing my education by getting a masters in epidemiology and maternal & child health. I eventually want to work in an agency that promote healthy living for families and their children. I am currently planning to work with Volunteer Broward and Broward Outreach Center in getting more people involved in the Hope Tote Campaign. The Hope Totes is a great opportunity to give back to those in needs, hygiene items, baby supplies, and clothing are in high demand and needed at various centers and I am very excited to contribute.

My advice for new volunteers and project leaders is to get involved! Volunteer Broward is very helpful in supporting their volunteers, project leaders, and partnering agencies. Whether you want to lead an existing calendared project or start your own, the tools and people are always there to help out. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 2011 Volunteer Spotlight: The Puddie Family

Jonathan, Collin, Tanya, and Moya Puddie

I became aware of Volunteer Broward while researching “in-service hours” for high schools students. You see the Puddie family comprises of a 13 year old, 9 year old and 5 year old and the oldest will be off to high school this year.  Wishing to have Moya, my daughter commence her high school career with a firm understanding of graduation requirements, as well as to begin to build a resume that would increase her chances of gaining a scholarship upon graduation, we signed up and attended a Volunteer Broward orientation. What we learned was that Volunteer Broward was a way to get the whole family involved, while learning how to give back to others.  At first the focus was on my daughter but then I realized that so many children have no concept of responsibility to their community as well as others and this is something that I did not want to be lost on my two boys Collin and Jonathan the youngest.  So the whole family decided to get involved. 

The first event through Volunteer Broward had us working together as a family (yes! Jonathan, 5 was our hydration engineer) building a trail and removing exotic plants at Snyder Park as a part of a community event. In the proceeding weeks we sorted shoes for children as a part of a “back-to-school” effort, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a part of a cooperate feeding  effort on behalf of the “Kids Care Club” and served those in need at a shelter which was a humbling experience for both myself and my children. 

I must admit, at first, the tasks seemed daunting and the events unnerving.  I had concerns about how I would be able to engage the boys and keep them excited and interested.  Let’s face it, its summer and children no matter their intentions want to play and relax and so do I.  However, we all agreed that accomplishing these tasks together was bigger than our need to lie in bed or spend more wasted hour’s in–front of the television. Moya, my daughter, has expressed to me that this experience has taught her that one person can make a difference; also, that so much is happening in the lives of others around her and it makes her grateful for her family. Surprisingly, Collin and Jonathan have found this experience fun, and not at all tiresome. With the help of awesome project leaders like Cherona Levy, Daria Decastro, and Sander Schrantz, we look forward to each event knowing that no matter how big or how small there will be a task for us to do.  

Being a part of Volunteer Broward has been just an amazing and rewarding experience for my family.  As we work side by side serving others, it has brought us closer together in a way that is really hard to express. They have gotten a head start on what it feels like to give back I have observed a change in how they view the world. It’s getting harder and harder to get accepted into a college or university, the criteria goes beyond grades and scores. Therefore, starting your kids early and showing them what it means to be well rounded is a just an extra bonus on the ‘parent list’. What’s next on the ‘Puddie List’ you may ask?  Well, together Volunteer Broward and the Puddie’s will join forces to continue to serve those in need and we are ready for the task. 

Volunteering shows people that there are always things you can do that can help the environment and others. Joining this fantastic program makes you feel as if you have a purpose, and seeing the smiles on peoples face when you help them is priceless. I don’t think there will be an end to my family and Volunteer Broward, we are hooked and there is no way we can look back now. We have become an addition to an organization that will impact our world in the near future. My advise to other families thinking of getting themselves involved is ‘just get started’, go to your first event, stretch your hand out and Volunteer Broward will take you and take it from there. Once you see how your small deed affects the lives of those you are helping trust me, you’ll be hooked just like the Puddie’s.  As William James once said “Act as if everything you do matters”.

By: The Puddie Family

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 2011 Project Leader Spotlight: Briana Boswell

Briana (Center) with volunteers at the PB&J Project

I had just finished my first year of college and had no summer plans. Not wanting to waste time sitting at home all summer I decided to find a way to give back to the community. I googled “volunteering in Broward County” and found Volunteer Broward. I was nervous to sign up at first because I had never volunteered before and had no idea what to expect. I tend to be very shy, and I thought being a volunteer would be difficult as I would have to talk to many people. 

Volunteering has been one of the best decisions I have made, and it has impacted my life tremendously. I have gained an immense amount of self-confidence and I feel as if I can truly accomplish anything I put my mind to. Before I began volunteering I was very shy, and nervous to talk to people or ask basic questions. Even the anticipation of getting lost, doing a task wrong, or not knowing what volunteering would be like was intimidating. Now I have become a comfortable, less anxious, and more out-going volunteer. I know that no matter what happens in life I can handle myself. I have enjoyed the challenges that volunteering has presented, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project.

If someone would have asked me what I expected Volunteer Broward to be like before I started, I would have probably said that I imagine myself going to a few volunteer opportunities here and there but overall nothing special. I would have imagined myself anxious, shy, and picking projects where I could blend in and never have to worry about doing something ‘wrong’. Instead it has been a life-changing experience with new opportunities, and has even opened my eyes to possible career paths. Not only do I participate in multiple projects each week, but I have taken control and become a project leader.

I am currently the project leader for Peanut Butter Jelly Time every Tuesday, where I help out in a community kitchen to feed the homeless. This was the first project I signed up for, and after my first time I was hooked! It is such a rewarding experience to be able to help these people, and it gives me an amazing feeling that I, a shy 18 year old who always preferred to blend-in, could actually make a difference in peoples’ lives. I began signing up for many different types of projects. I have volunteered for the CERT drill team disaster trainings, where I pretend to be a victim of a disaster in order to help the Community Emergency Response Teams receive training. That has been a lot of fun. I have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House where we baked muffins for sick children. I also volunteered at Taste of a Nation, a fundraiser to help provide food for those in need.

I have signed up for many future projects, including volunteering at the 2011 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. I am looking forward to all the future projects and each new experience and challenge. I have met many amazing people, including an AmeriCorps member who has inspired me to go above and beyond. Seeing the way she helps people and how comfortable she seems in her own skin has helped me break out of my shell and really dive in! I am even considering joining AmeriCorps in the future to further use my time to help those in need.

My advice to new volunteers is to take chances!  You never know where that might lead you. Don’t let anxieties, what if’s, or pessimistic thoughts stand in your way. If you believe in yourself and have a goal, then go for it and follow your heart. It may seem out of reach, but it really might be closer than you think.

By: Briana Boswell

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2011 Volunteer Spotlight: Sherley Guerrier

Sherley and Daria at the
Ronald McDonald House

I was beginning my sophomore year of high school and didn't have any community service hours. I knew I needed to stop being lazy and become a more active member in my community. One day the guidance counselors at my school, Fort Lauderdale High, had an assembly and they started talking about Volunteer Broward and I decided to look it up online and eventually signed up for an orientation meeting. That's how I started volunteering.

I worked on many different projects with Volunteer Broward. One of the recent projects that I worked on was the 2nd Annual Covenant 5k walk/run where I passed out water to the racers. I even had a chance to walk some of the track. The day before the 5k I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house and assisted other volunteers in making muffins for the families that currently live at the House. Other projects that I have worked on include a lot of outdoor environmental projects such as People & Planet Day at Esplanade River Walk Park and I also helped build a nature trail at Snyder Park with the Kids Ecology Corps. I also participated in the Family Fun and Resource Day which was an outreach event on child abuse prevention. I am also part of the Youth Project Leaders program which gives me an opportunity to learn how to be a leader in assisting our community. I am currently not signed up for any projects, but will soon be visiting the website to get my new assignments.

I know I'm making a difference in my life and others when I volunteer. This organization impacted my life tremendously. Since I've started I volunteer at least once a week. As I grow up and start applying for colleges the volunteer projects I have taken part in will aid me into getting into schools that I would like to attend. As an adult I will have more social skills and be able to interact with people that I will be working alongside. My sister is now beginning to volunteer through Volunteer Broward because of how much she saw volunteering was important to me. Volunteering has become a part of my lifestyle. I learned to enjoy helping others. "One of the best decisions I've made in my high school career is joining volunteer Broward because of the many doors it will open in my future."

If you're a new volunteer and hesitant about becoming a Volunteer Broward member I encourage you to at least do one project that's all it takes to change your perspective. You never know until you try!

By Sherley Guerrier

Friday, May 27, 2011

AmeriCorps Week Project Recap: Movies & Muffins

Assortment of Yummy Goodness

Volunteers battered up last week Friday for the Movies and Muffins service project at the Ronald McDonald House-Ft. Lauderdale for AmeriCorps Week 2011! Over 100 muffins- chocolate chip, blueberry, banana nut, apple cinnamon, and cornbread were made for the families and friends who call the Ronald McDonald House their “home away from home”. With over 290 local chapters in 52 countries and regions, the Ronald McDonald House Charities has been developing and supporting programs that aim to improve the well being of children. 
Volunteers gets ready to start another batch

The Ft. Lauderdale House which opened in 2004 features 20 private bedrooms, indoor/outdoor play areas, a library, dining room, kitchen, and common areas. Located right across the street from Broward General Medical Center and The Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House-Ft. Lauderdale opens it doors to over 150 families each year.

Volunteer support at the Ronald McDonald House is very much appreciated and needed. Volunteers cans adopt a meal, sponsor a bingo night, read stories to the children, make art/crafts, or have a magic night to name a few. 
Chocolate Chip was a favorite!

To learn more about how you can get involved in a local chapter in your community please visit and if you are in the Ft. Lauderdale area, feel free to join us next month for Movies and Muffins!