Community Options Inc., an organization in North Dakota, works with adults and children with disabilities to accomplish their professional goals by helping them obtain a job or volunteer work. In Jamestown, the Red Cross has welcomed Community Options Volunteers who assist with various projects and duties in the area.
Teresa Kurtz, Director of DD Services for Region 6, assists people in the Jamestown area and has seen the relationship with the Red Cross evolve over the past few years. She shared some of the great things these volunteers are doing for the Red Cross.
What are some of the projects and duties your clients have done for the Red Cross?
In the past few years the people within our organization have done everything from assisting with basic office duties, to volunteering during flood times and collecting donation canisters around Jamestown and counting donations.
When did you begin to volunteer for the Red Cross?
A group of our customer began volunteering during the 2009 floods. They couldn’t help with sandbagging so they assisted with cleaning the office after meetings and after hours in the shelter locations. They also ran messages and performed basic office work for the national Red Cross staff that were on scene in Jamestown.
Why did you continue to work with the Red Cross after the floods in 2009?
During the flood time, our clients got to meet Red Cross people from all over the country. Every one of them showed that they really valued our customers. It made our customers want to continue because Red Cross valued their time and appreciated their willingness to help.
What are you doing currently with the Red Cross?
Currently, and for the past two years, our volunteers have been picking up donation canisters around Jamestown on four routes, in various sections of town. The clients then count and document the donations to the Red Cross.
Why is it important to partner with the Red Cross?
It is great for our customers to deal with money. It teaches responsibility and makes them accountable, and it gives the Red Cross loyal volunteers that get the opportunity to socialize with others in the organization. It’s our customers)’ way of giving back to the community and so that others see their value to the community through their everyday activities and during times of greater need.