By Bruce Culpepper
A message from Shell on National Service.
At Shell we believe that there is no community issue that a group of dedicated individuals can’t solve. When people employ teamwork and creativity, good things happen. That is why we support national service – a public private partnership that engages citizens in solving problems.
Over 15 years ago, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) led the effort to transform the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday into a national day of service. Shell leveraged both its employees and financial resources to support this worthwhile effort to honor Dr. King through service, while at the same time strengthening communities and helping those most in need.
Fast forward to 2012, when Hurricane Sandy ravaged parts of the East Coast. AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers were on the ground and ready to help within hours. They operated emergency shelters, provided food and water, helped with damage assessments, and connected survivors with disaster assistance. After the immediate crisis, national service members transitioned to long-term efforts to repair and rebuild homes, managing tens of thousands of additional volunteers to multiply their impact.
At Shell, we understand the importance of having strong leadership and infrastructure to ensure volunteers are being used to the maximum effect. Boots on the ground are needed after disasters, but only if they are coordinated and well managed.
That’s why we were proud to invest in AmeriCorps VISTA to bring their capacity building skills to the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, the United Way of Monmouth County NJ, Jersey Cares, and New York Cares. VISTA members helped identify and secure partners and resources, managed volunteers, coordinated client outreach and intakes, supported small-business recovery, and worked with the long-term recovery committees.
When the devastating tornado struck Moore, OK, Shell again invested in national service, providing transportation and financial assistance to expand RSVP (a Senior Corps program of CNCS) and VISTA service. These programs will provide long-term recovery support as the people of Moore rebuild their community.
In this 20th anniversary year of AmeriCorps, Shell is proud to support national service for communities in need.
Bruce Culpepper is Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Regional Coordination for Shell in the Americas