Thanks to our Volunteers
Seven days ago was a busy day. Brodie (intern) and I worked the GASP table at UAB’s Community Matching Event (giving students an opportunity to meet local non-profits). I left Brodie to handle the table and rushed back to our office to meet with a new volunteer, who was anxious to dive in and help GASP with our busy spring ahead. Nina had calls scheduled and meetings to attend, Michael was in Montgomery for the PSC hearings all week, and Haley was covered up with deadlines. Nina and I touched base about Earth Month and I worked on updating our Spring Volunteer Opportunities Sign up Form to include in this post. A lot of events needed to be added to the form as our calendar was quickly filling up with multiple events for Earth Month, tabling at markets/festivals and some requests for speaking engagements. Wednesdays are also when Ben Moose, our high school intern, comes in for his work study hours. We discussed his research regarding where the Weather Channel app gets their ambient air quality data, which is fascinating. The office was bustling with activity, meetings and important tasks, which was not unusual. This was seven days ago.
Our team hopped on a Zoom call yesterday, and hearing and seeing my colleagues through the computer screen was comforting. I missed our usual staff gathering at our crowed, round table in the office kitchen, but regrouping with them was therapeutic. We talked, vented, brainstormed and commiserated over COVID-19 and life for awhile.
You will be hearing more from GASP staff as we quickly transition in this new environment. We are figuring out how to best serve our constituents during this unsettling time while reminding people how broken systems in our society are hurting people and the planet. (We didn’t waste any time, did you see this action?)
What hasn’t changed is the need for people, who care about their neighbor’s health, to be engaged. Small non-profits with big missions need a lot of help, especially right now. Thankfully, we have a solid base of volunteers at GASP. Our Board of Directors and Junior Board are two formal entities who meet regularly and invest significant time into supporting GASP’s mission. GASP’s work is also aided by a diverse group of individuals from high school students to retirees, who invest their time to further GASP’s mission. We are incredibly appreciative of all our volunteers.
As you may know, we launched a competitive, Volunteer Spring Internship Program and six candidates out of 21 applicants were chosen as interns this spring semester. While a lot of their work was abruptly halted by COVID-19, they continue to help with various projects remotely during the pandemic. Be on the lookout for upcoming posts introducing our Spring interns. You will meet: Rose Albert, Alejandra Guaddarama, Ben Moose, Matt Odendahl, Mimi Tran and Brodie Zalanka. Thanks to all of these young people for volunteering their time with GASP. Be safe and be well.
Kirsten has been with GASP from the very beginning as a founding board member, then as a part-time executive director, and now as outreach director. Kirsten hopes future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected. Email Kirsten