Initiative will help people with limited English Proficiency Prepare for Disaster
KANSAS CITY, MO – Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph will lead a Resilience AmeriCorps initiative developed by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) to build capacity for effective risk communication and disaster preparedness engagement with persons who have limited English proficiency in communities with high risk of disasters.
The initiative is the result of a collaboration that began in September 2015 between CCUSA and the Obama Administration, just prior to Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Staff from CCUSA and the White House met several times to determine how to join forces in the areas of climate change, disasters and vulnerable populations. The initiative between CCUSA and CNCS is one of the outcomes of those meetings.
As part of the initiative, AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve with Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph for a three-year period in communities where residents have limited English proficiency. AmeriCorps VISTA members will act as liaisons with local emergency managers and leaders to educate the community about disaster preparedness.
“Disasters don’t care what language you speak or what schedule you’re on. People have to be prepared,” said Aren Koenig, Catholic Charities of Missouri Community Preparedness and Resiliency Project Manager. “Resources are available in the community, but aren’t always easily accessible to the general public. AmeriCorps VISTA members will help emergency managers communicate more efficiently and provide the right tools for these populations.”
Each of the three years will concentrate on a specific set of objectives. The first year will be dedicated to assessing the English proficiency of community members, helping the community understand hazards and risks, building a partnership network among local emergency management, schools, businesses, organizations and local leaders and creating an advisory group from that network. In the second year, the advisory group will design a communications strategy to instruct and reach out to the target population. During the third year an assessment will be made to evaluate whether the objectives have been met and to assure sustainability of the preparedness outcomes.
The long-term goal of the project is to have a local emergency management partnership in place that utilizes expertise, community engagement and Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph to advocate for the needs of persons with limited English proficiency in disaster communications and preparedness.
Catholic Charities is now accepting applications for the AmeriCorps VISTA position, with an anticipated start date of July 15, 2016. Inquiries should be directed to Tara McGranaghan, Chief Human Resources Officer, at email@example.com.
About Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Founded in 1879, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph is a nationally accredited, non-profit agency dedicated to human services across Central and Western Missouri. Inspired by the Gospel mandate, Catholic Charities transforms lives and communities through hope-filled care, services and advocacy.
The impact of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph is felt every day in the communities it serves. Annually, the agency directly serves more than 72,000 people of all faiths, and helps thousands more through a network of neighborhood emergency assistance sites.
About Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. CCUSA’s members provide help and create hope to nearly 9 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds.