It has been nearly two years since Tropical Storm Irene left a wake of destruction throughout the state, but many Vermonters are still suffering the consequences. Green Mountain College student Binh Bui spent his summer helping people who remain homeless as a result of the storm. He worked as an intern for the Southeastern Vermont Irene Long-Term Recovery Committee (SEVT LTRC) program, housed at the Windham County United Way in Brattleboro.
"There are still nearly 50 families in Windham County who are struggling to rebuild their lives," said Binh. "My supervisor, the volunteer coordinator of the SEVT LTRC, and I have been reaching out to different organizations and contacts, such as the local newspaper, schools, and churches, to recruit 30-40 volunteers for nine homeowners still needing assistance, ranging from painting to construction."
To develop emergency preparedness for future disaster response, Binh also worked with the chair of the SEVT LTRC to write the first draft of the Windham County VOAD Disaster Resource Guide. The guide will be formed based on the model of N-VOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Its goals are to organize community resources in an efficient and timely manner, and to contribute to each phase of a disaster: preparedness, relief, response, recovery, and mitigation.
"This document will also build the foundation in calling other local organizations to join our VOAD," said Binh.
Binh is one of eight Vermont college students who completed an internship assisting with Vermont’s disaster recovery and preparation efforts. On Friday, August 2 the Vermont Campus Compact, along with state and community representatives, honored the interns for their efforts in a ceremony at St. Michael's College. Vermont Campus Compact is a statewide consortium of colleges and universities committed to community engagement.