Two States Launch Web Sites to Recruit Volunteers

New, statewide volunteer initiatives focused on recruiting and pre-registering volunteers will prepare the states of Louisiana and Washington for future disasters and provide universal access to volunteer opportunities for state citizens.

The initiatives are on Web sites that are powered by 1-800-Volunteer.org technology, a service of the Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network.

"For the first time ever, both states will be able to register and place volunteers based on their skills, availability and preferred volunteer location for both year round and disaster recovery work, and will able to offer that service through one statewide Web site portal," said Robert Goodwin, president and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation. "In addition, both states will be able to track volunteering rates statewide."

Volunteers interested in helping Louisiana recovery efforts are encouraged to register at http://www.VolunteerLousiana.orgwww.VolunteerLousiana.org. The volunteers will aid in the state's ongoing recovery efforts and will prepare the state for this year's hurricane season.

"One silver lining that followed the hurricanes was the outpouring of prayers, caring and volunteers who came to us from all across the nation," said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.

VolunteerLouisiana.gov is an easy-to-use system. Potential volunteers from across the nation can offer their services and quickly be linked to those who can use those services. "This is the kind of collaborative between branches of state government and between public and private that is driving our recovery to success," Blanco added.

Volunteer managers in Washington state are encouraging citizens to register and become connected to volunteer organizations now to prepare the state for future volunteer manpower needs. By visiting www.VolunteerWashington.org, citizens from across the state can find how they can make a difference in their own communities, as well as become rapidly available should a regional disaster strike.

"After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, Washingtonians showed that they are ready and willing to volunteer to help our neighbors in other states recover and rebuild," said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. "Our state is susceptible to natural forces that can be as destructive as Katrina was to the Gulf Coast. In the event that a disaster strikes Washington, www.VolunteerWashington.org will be a simple, effective way for qualified volunteers to find opportunities to serve where they are needed."

Both sites are fully integrated with 1-800-Volunteer.org's national online volunteer management system, including www.HelpinDisaster.org. "During the 2005 Hurricane Season, more than 150 of the network's local volunteer centers worked tirelessly to match volunteers with local needs, serve evacuees, and raise resources to sent to the affected communities and the 1-800-Volunteer.org system was used by the hotlines in Mississippi and Alabama as well as by the Volunteer Centers in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and Rita to help with volunteer registration and placement," said Goodwin.

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