By Mikala McCurry
Montgomery, AL- HandsOn River Region is one of the most prominent volunteer agencies in Montgomery, Alabama. It was founded in 1974 as the Volunteer Action Center and became HandsOn River Region in 2007. Known as the “agency’s agency”, HandsOn partners with over 200 nonprofit organizations in the River Region to provide assistance and services to people in need. HandsOn provides daily volunteer opportunities for people and organizations that desire to give back and build the community.
In addition to linking volunteers with opportunities to serve their communities, HandsOn River Region also hosts other programs. The main program, aside from Volunteer Management, is the 2-1-1 Information and Referral Program. According to Michael Bryant, the Outreach Coordinator and Information and Referral Specialist for this program, 2-1-1 is a three digit contact number that provides a first point of contact to get help and give help to the community. This service line is available 24 hours a day and can be used to connect to emergency services and critical health and human services. For people interested in giving help to the community, the 2-1-1 Program provides training in job services, senior services, education, childcare, and volunteerism. This program serves 15 counties in Alabama, and averages about 2,000 calls a month. The main goal of this program is to strengthen and empower those in need and provide information to those that desire to improve the lives of others.
Another program hosted by HandsOn River Region is the Christmas Clearinghouse Program. HandsOn River Region partners with over 32 agencies every year during Christmas time to identify the most destitute families in the River Region. These families are then matched with enthusiastic donors who volunteer to provide the best Christmas experience possible for these families.
The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Program is another project hosted by HandsOn River Region. HMIS is used to track the number of homeless people in the tri-county area and define the issue of homelessness. This count is taken every year in January. This data increases and improves the capacity of local homeless shelters and programs.
HandsOn River Region also directs a program known as “Help Me Grow”. In this program, parents can call the 2-1-1 helpline and request for HandsOn River Region to monitor their child’s development from ages 0-8 years old.
The final program hosted by HandsOn River Region is the Disaster Preparedness and Response Program. This program recruits and trains volunteers to provide assistance and emergency services during disasters. It also provides the information and knowledge needed to fully prepare for a disaster.
The next big volunteer opportunity with HandsOn River Region is “The 2-1-1 Salutes 9-1-1” Event. HandsOn will be saluting the 9-1-1 dispatchers in the tri-county area on September 1, 2017, by providing them with care baskets to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication.
For more information about HandsOn River Region or to get involved, call the HandsOn River Region Office at (334) 264-3335 or visit www.handsonriverregion.org .
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