by ACCT Support Office
July 18, 2012
The Appalachian Coal Country Team is the proud recipient of $100,000 from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to support rural volunteer management training programs over the next two years.
The Appalachian Coal Country Team (ACCT) is part of the OSM/VISTA Team, a nationally recognized partnership between the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). The OSM/VISTA Team is a dynamic, award-winning coalition of recent college graduates, experienced professionals, or locally recruited residents who live and work in rural communities, combating poverty by building local capacity, stimulating economic development, promoting environmental stewardship, and enhancing outreach, education, and professional development.
With the support of the Benedum Foundation, the ACCT will develop trainings and resources based on the Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers (online at www.RuralVolunteer.org). The Toolkit is the product of three years of research on rural volunteerism throughout Appalachia and the Rocky Mountain West funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. It shares approaches to volunteer recruitment, management and retention that are successful in rural settings. It also contains one-of-a-kind tools needed by rural volunteer-based groups to build sustainable volunteer management processes within their organizations.
“We approached Benedum because simply distributing the Toolkit is not enough for rural organizations. These groups lack time, people and money. They need to maximize impact with the least amount of resources due to absolute necessity. Thanks to Benedum, we can reach out to and train organizations struggling to recruit and retain volunteers,” said Jenna Fehr, ACCT’s Volunteerism Coordinator.
The Toolkit will serve as the basis of rural volunteer management trainings such as workshops, seminars, and webinars. Participants will be guided through the larger process of bringing volunteers into their organization and keeping them there. Training participants will develop sustainable volunteer management plan specific to their needs that they can put into practice—all with the least amount of time, people and money.
About The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation was established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives of West Virginia, as a memorial to their only child, Claude Worthington, who died in 1918 at the age of 20. The Foundation is a regional foundation focusing primarily on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information on the Foundation, please see: www.benedum.org
About OSM/VISTA Teams
The OSM/VISTA Teams are a partnership among the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and community/watershed improvement organizations including The Appalachian Coal Country Team and The Western Hardrock Watershed Team (WHWT). The OSM/VISTA Teams were founded by Dr. T Allan Comp, Team Coordinator, Office of Surface Mining.
The OSM/VISTA Teams place, coordinate and train OSM/VISTAs who live and work in host communities to promote economic redevelopment, community engagement and environmental stewardship. The ACCT sponsors OSM/VISTA Volunteers throughout seven states in the Appalachian coalfields, while the WHWT sponsors OSM/VISTA volunteers who live and work in the hardrock mining belt of Colorado and New Mexico.
The Teams equip community organizations and watershed-based projects with the training, tools and volunteer support necessary to help local citizens become effective environmental stewards, community leaders, and accelerators of change in places indelibly marked by the environmental legacy of pre-regulatory mining. Together, the Teams and their partners are propelling a new economy based on conservation and development, strong partnerships, engaged citizens and promoting youth in the outdoors.
For information on the OSM/VISTA Teams please visit http://ruralvolunteer.org/pages/OSMVISTA-Teams.cfm.
Media contact: Rachel Yoke