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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778

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For immediate release - April 21, 2005

Training to assist agencies with managing volunteers

TAVARES — A training exercise to be held Friday, April 29, in Lake County is designed to train, plan and implement a strong regional network for effectively using unaffiliated volunteers in disaster response and recovery efforts.

The program, "Unaffiliated Volunteer Management," is provided by Volunteer Florida and is hosted by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. It is the first such training in Lake County.

"Once this first training is done," said Helena Osborne-Ponsi, Lake County's Volunteer Coordinator, "it is my intention to continually duplicate the training exercise to guarantee there are sufficient qualified, trained personnel to handle any such urgent needs as they arise no matter what time of the day, night, weekend, holiday or time of year."

The exercise is a regional training program. Joining staff from the Lake County Emergency Operations Center will be representatives from other key local organizations as well as individuals in similar roles from other counties surrounding Lake County.

"There will also be specific Volunteer Centers personnel from other counties around the State of Florida, who have not received such training, who will join us to ensure that there are no gaps in any of our abilities statewide to utilize unaffiliated volunteers for economic, logistical and psychological reasons," Osborne-Ponsi said.

The anticipated result from the training is that government and community agencies in the region will become better prepared to come to each other's aid with appropriate skills of coping with unaffiliated volunteers. The training will also assist agencies with fully documenting and corroborating records of volunteer hours, defining specific skilled volunteer job duties, appropriately placing more volunteers and providing a positive public perception of response and recovery efforts.


Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445

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