UWSC Column: The Coalition for Disaster Recovery

Partnerships and collaborations are tools for group problem solving, decision making and action, and United Way of Story County (UWSC) is a strong proponent of these effective, dynamic groups who get things done in the community.
The mission of UWSC is to be a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health, for our diverse community. A key component of the mission – partnerships – explains how we pool the expertise, talents, energy and resources of many to help collaborate on solving issues. One way UWSC develops partnerships and invests in the community is by leading or participating in several community collaborations.  
This column is highlighting these community collaborations throughout the coming months; the Coalition for Disaster Recovery (CDR) will be featured this month. UWSC serves as the fiscal agent to this coalition, which began in 2003.
The CDR is a comprehensive corps of agencies and organizations committed to strengthening the community’s disaster preparedness and response efforts. It brings together disaster related resources in an effort to better meet the needs of victims of disaster and to improve service, maximize resources, and eliminate unnecessary duplication. 
The CDR is committed to cooperation, coordination and communication with civic groups, faith-based organizations, human services, and local government. Oversight and leadership for the CDR is provided by an executive committee, comprised of representatives from CDR member agencies, e.g. American Red Cross, Central Iowa RSVP, MICA, Story County Emergency Management Agency, Catholic Charities, and more. The coalition meets quarterly and the location of the meetings varies.
As fiscal agent, United Way receives State/Federal funds when available and donations for specific area disasters. For example, during the floods of 2010, the CDR received disaster relief funds from the State of Iowa, Story County Community Foundation, and private donations that were used to assist individuals and families impacted. 
The community can learn more about what the CDR does by attending Spring Fury-Community Preparedness … Are We Ready, an event created to help prepare the community for a disaster. Led by Central Iowa RSVP and organized by members of the CDR, this event will be held Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at City Church (2400 Oakwood Rd. in Ames). With the help of a grant from United Way, 10 weather radios will be given away at the Spring Fury event.
Pre-registration is required only for elementary age children who want to attend the Pillowcase Project sessions, an American Red Cross program sponsored by Disney. Third, fourth and fifth graders will be presented with an age-appropriate curriculum for disaster preparedness and given a quality workbook and pillowcase to take home. The curriculum will include information on preparing a kit that fits inside the pillowcase that the child can grab in case of a disaster. Register by calling (515) 292-8890 or emailing intern@cirsvp.org.
For more information on the CDR, follow the Story County Coalition for Disaster Recovery on Facebook or email storycountyiowacdr@gmail.com.
United Way values every partnership with individuals, businesses and organizations. The Coalition for Disaster Recovery is a great example of how many come together to advance the common good for all.