Our community partner discussions fit perfectly to this conversation.
When asked, how did I get involved locally with disaster emergency response, the answer was simple. There was a small one paragraph article in the local newspaper. I was unable to attend the first round of classes, but when a similar paragraph appeared several months later, I responded. I had no idea this program existed.
Yesterday, we discussed an article in the Ellenville Journal, a local town newspaper.
It was the Connection Newspapers - The View and the Fairfax Times, were I first read about the CERT program. And through the CERT program learned about the many programs offered through the Citizen Corps.
Earlier in the year, we spoke with the local newspapers who were very interested in including this public information as a story. It is very similar to the paragraph articles, like child safety seat inspections, they include from the Police Department.
The next time you struggle how to balance funding issues with reaching out to new members of your community, consider having a conversation with your hometown newspaper. That no cost conversation can go a long way. Thing of the reach this could have, as many hometown papers are delivered to the driveways of most residents in the community.
This may just get others started on the path of emergency preparedness and volunteering in their own neighborhoods. And might not even cost your organization a dime.