Volunteers in DPS programs offer hands and hope

Author: Kirsten Barber

As the agency’s mission states, the 37,000 employees of the Department of Public Safety work daily to ‘safeguard and preserve the lives and property of North Carolinians through prevention, protection and preparation.’ Yet the efforts of thousands of volunteers helping in various programs across the state is equally important in fulfilling that mission.  Whether rebuilding homes for disaster victims or helping justice-involved individuals reestablish productive lives, volunteers in these DPS programs offer their hands and hope for a brighter future. 

Offender outreach opportunities
Although the pandemic has prevented volunteers from helping in the prisons for the past year, both offenders and staff looking forward to the day these dedicated partners return. Hundreds of volunteers typically give of themselves each week, helping others in state correctional facilities throughout North Carolina. These women and men help to officiate recreational activities, tutor, collect books for the libraries, coordinate plays and singing groups, assist with religious services and serve as role models/sponsors for offenders.  Find out more about volunteering in prisons here.  

Working with youth
The dedicated community resource volunteers and those who volunteer at our juvenile detention centers and youth development centers are vital parts of the Juvenile Justice section’s commitment when it comes to treating youth. From helping with educational programming to creating enriching environments around the facilities, volunteers help provide a safe and positive environment to foster a high level of success in young people.

Helping our communities
Several large hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and even a few earthquakes have devastated numerous North Carolina communities in the past few years. Volunteers who assist after disaster strikes are pivotal to helping impacted families rebuild their lives and return to a state of normalcy. Whether by providing food to displaced families after a storm, supporting a local shelter or participating as part of one of the many nonprofit recovery teams, these volunteers not only roll up their sleeves and lend a helping hand, but offer words of hope and encouragement when people need it most. You can find disaster response volunteer opportunities here.  

Community Emergency Response Team members, or CERT, work with North Carolina Emergency Management to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. These trained volunteers are often called upon to provide basic medical help, assist with some local search and rescue operations and/or distribute essential commodities after a disaster. Learn more here and find out how to join a CERT group near you.

Whether in the air or on the ground, members of the Civil Air Patrol support life-saving missions by providing aerial damage assessments, transporting supplies, helping in the search for missing persons and lending a hand with communications or logistics. In addition to adult volunteers, youth ages 12 to 21 can volunteer through the cadet program which also offers leadership training, technical education, scholarships and career education. Discover more about North Carolina’s Civil Air Patrol here

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