NAVPLG, the National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government is a unique organization of volunteer managers who organize volunteers in Cities and Counties throughout the United States. I joined the NAVPLG Board at their Annual Meeting in San Francisco in 2009 and have enjoyed meeting NAVPLG members from around the country through my involvement with the association.
When we arrived in Shreveport Louisiana a few nights ago and looked up our route to McKinney Texas, I suddenly realized that Plano Texas was directly en route. Plano Texas is famous in my mind as being the home of Robin Popik, one of the previous NAVPLG Presidents and a leader in the field of Volunteer Management. Robin is a professional volunteer manager, a leader in the field who is currently involved in the national debate over where the field of volunteer management is headed and how to bring in a new generation of leaders in volunteer management. I was glad to get a chance to have lunch with Robin and share ideas and knowledge about volunteering in local government.
Robin told me about a new program that the City of Plano has started called Helping Partners. This referral service program, funded by a HUD grant, brings together several community partners to identify, assess, and repair homes in Plano. Residents can apply for assistance with home repairs such as handicap accessible ramps, exterior painting, and fence repair. Next a volunteer team of assessors (made up of individuals from Habitat for Humanity, faith-based groups, corporate groups, etc) go to the home to identify what work needs to be done and what skills are needed to do the work. Then each project is matched with a volunteer team with the required skills. The City coordinates the match, keeping the homeowners information private until an approved volunteer group is selected. The initiative is ongoing, but they use “Love Where You Live” days to direct focus on the project. The last Love Where You Live effort assisted 77 homes.
We hope to come back through Plano in April on our way to our friend’s wedding in McKinney and may get a chance to participate in one of their big events such as Love Where You Live or Live Green in Plano.