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Mississippi Official Shares Hurricane Katrina Volunteer Experience with Volunteer Managers

October 4th, 2006

“We [Mississippi] now realize the importance volunteers have when it comes to disaster relief. I would suggest you start creating relationships today with your state and local emergency responders. They may not think they need you, but they will,“ Meeks Kelly recommended to attendees.

The conference not only provided Maine’s volunteer leaders with the opportunity to hear the keynote’s experiences on the impact volunteers can have during statewide disasters, but attendees were able to attend sessions throughout the day to learn the skills and tools necessary to effectively manage a volunteer program.

Volunteer managers attended several sessions on how to market their programs effectively to recruit volunteers. Attendees were given the option to register for sessions dealing with marketing on a shoestring budget, creating graphic design, and how to establish partnerships with television and radio stations. At the end of the conference, attendees met with marketing professionals for one-on-one advice on how to best market their program through various media outlets.

“Operating a volunteer program requires a variety of professional skills. We wanted to train volunteer managers on a topic such as marketing which may not be at the forefront of their job description, but is an integral part of their daily tasks. I think attendees left here realizing that marketing their programs to the public is going to make it easier for them to recruit volunteers in the future during normal hours of operation to statewide emergencies,” remarked Carol Anne Dube, vice chair of the Maine Commission for Community Service.

In addition to Meeks Kelly, other presenters at the event included Hannah Brazee Gregory of Shoestring Creative Group; Charlene Belanger of WCSH6; Jamie Comstock and Shirar Wilder of United Way of Eastern Maine; Jennifer Crittenden of the University of Maine Center on Aging; Louise Franck Cyr from UMaine Cooperative Extension; faculty, staff and students from the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College; and others.

The Blaine House Conference is the only statewide conference that provides training and technical assistance to Maine's volunteer administrators, program directors, and partners. Hosted by the Maine Commission for Community Service, the Maine Volunteer Connection and Shoestring Creative Group, the annual event now enters into its 21st year.

For more information on the Maine Commission for Community Service, visit www.maineservicecommission.gov or contact 207.287.8933, service.commission@maine.gov.

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