Western Illinois University is participating in a pilot project to help communities state-wide recover from natural disasters.
Karen Mauldin-Curtis oversees Western’s Peace Corps Fellows program. She said the state’s initiative will address a universal need that arises in the aftermath of a disaster.
“One of the beautiful things that happens after disasters is that people want to help and often times they show up,” Mauldin-Curtis said. “And it actually requires somebody to know what to do, where to assign and how to deploy those volunteers.”
Serve Illinois’ Deputy Director Scott McFarland says the Corps’ members will assist with organizing that spontaneous volunteer support.
“We need to have the ability to facilitate those volunteers and also understand what skills those volunteers have when they come in,” McFarland said, “so we are sending those who have specific skills to the right areas so it’s a volunteer reception when they come in.”
The state program is called Illinois Disaster Corps. It’s spearheaded by Serve Illinois, the state’s commission on volunteerism and community service.
The initiative will also assist local communities’ effort to develop and improve their emergency response plans.
Illinois Disaster Corps’ members will continue working their regular full time service positions but can be deployed to Illinois communities in need.