We are facing an unprecedented crisis in our communities. New Jersey has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 deaths in the country. As of Monday April 27th, we had 111,188 *confirmed* cases, and 6044 people have lost their lives to the disease. These are challenging times – it is hard to watch healthcare workers & grocery cashiers struggle to stay safe. It is hard to lose loved ones and people you know while hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans struggle with the economic impacts.
Many of us are part of NJOP and NJRP because we have also faced a disaster or a crisis. And here’s what we know:
- Many people will start by blaming themselves – they will think they are the only ones having this problem, and maybe there is some way to “do it right.”
- That isolation and blame will not solve the problem – they are not alone – many other people are having the same struggles.
- Only when we come together to recognize our shared struggle can we forge a strategy and build the strength to find solutions.
We are launching our Community Captain Program in May for three critical reasons.
- To combat isolation and self-blame to connect people to our shared strength.
- To share available information and resources when that is helpful.
- To build a team of action-takers to address both the new challenges we face with COVID and our existing disasters.
There will be two kinds of Community Captain:
- We are looking for 30 Community Captains – who can volunteer for 4 – 5 hours per week for 8 weeks. You would set aside 4 – 5 hours per week: 1 – 2 for training & team meetings & 2 – 3 hours per week for outreach and action.
- We are looking for 3 – 6 Canvass Community Captains – Got time on your hands right now and want to commit more to this program? We have 3 – 6 paid fellowship positions available for between 10 – 40 hour per week for 8 weeks. The program might continue after 8 weeks depending on how the experiment goes. Canvass Community Captains commit to attending 2 – 5 hours per week of training and team meetings, and doing outreach and having community conversations for the remaining time.
To participate we are asking that you have:
- A desire to do something in this critical moment, both about COVID and around our key issues: Getting Sandy families home & repairing a broken disaster recovery system, access to affordable healthcare & ending the overdose crisis, dealing with the water we live with now and working to make sure flooding and extreme weather doesn’t worsen.
- A cell phone you are willing to use to make calls & access to a computer and internet for training, materials and tracking.
- A curiosity about how your community is doing, and a willingness to listen deeply and unite across differences.
- The outvote app downloaded on your phone.
- An experimental orientation – lets try it and learn.