Community Captains Make a Difference

When COVID hit, we knew we were going to have to find new ways to meet people where they are in another disaster.  We wanted to battle the isolation and shame we have seen stop people facing disasters share their experiences and come together for solutions.  We want to thank the amazing 18 captains we had who were part of our inaugural program!  And we want to invite you to join this second round. 

opens in a new windowClick here for the application.   Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for either volunteer or paid Captains positions but we are hoping to fill all our slots and launch training the week of October 5th.   

During our Summer Captains program, in just 8 weeks, Community Captains sent over 200,000 texts and had thousands of phone calls. Because of their efforts, a fair housing bill was passed in the Assembly and we are in a position to mobilize community members to push the Senate to pass their version of the bill. We are also now able to move forward on work to work to to make prescription drugs affordable for everyone and act on sea level rise and renewable energy like offshore wind.

We sent over 200,000 texts, made 4,229 phone calls, had 441 conversations and had 1,357 NEW people join us in taking action for our communities. 

Hear from a few Captains:

“During this pandemic, my family has developed the weekly ritual of catching up on the late night shows together while we eat lunch. Last week, we were watching the latest John Oliver show when I was surprised to find that his episode was actually about coronavirus evictions. Over the course of the episode, Oliver talks about everyday citizens rallying and striking for rental assistance, eviction hearings having to occur over Zoom because it is not safe for people to meet in person and yet some of these hearings will result in the most unsafe outcome possible in a pandemic homelessness, and rental relief funds of $15 million dollars gone in 90 minutes. 

Watching this episode, I felt extreme pride in the work myself and all of the other community captains were doing. I felt extreme pride for being involved in an organization of people who genuinely cared about their fellow New Jerseyans. But more than just caring, I felt extreme pride in all of you who are willing to actually do something to make sure that no New Jerseyans lose their house over a pandemic no one could have seen coming. The work the community captains are doing is invaluable, but the truth is we can’t lead if there is no one willing to follow and take action. And, so I just wanted to say thank you to each one of you and my fellow community captains for inspiring me to stay empathetic and committed to the cause despite what the naysayers say.”  – Meghan

“I grew up in Ocean County. I left for a while, but this area has a way of drawing you back. I worked for different civil and human rights organizations while I lived abroad, and I found myself drawn to NJOP upon my return because we work on the ground. We are grassroots, and we get stuff done! I am incredibly excited to be a Community Captain. Connecting with our community during this time is so important. So many of us feel isolated. So many of us are struggling. I’ve knocked on doors for campaigns and done some political phone banking, but I’ve never participated in a deep canvas like this. The opportunity to make these connections with our community is informative, humbling and inspiring. We aren’t just calling to make an “ask” – we are calling to see how people are doing, what they need and then seeing if they are interested in anything we’re working on. On the phones I am hearing that some people are feeling better about COVID with the reopening of the state – while others are feeling much worse and more scared compared to when we first were issued the stay at home order. It’s a real mixture of reactions, but the theme that has come up the most is the uncertainty. We have so much uncertainty right now, and to be able to discuss things with people and really get to know them – it’s an honor and a privilege to be able to talk to so many amazing people in our community, and I look forward to more conversations.” -Danni

“One phone call that really stuck with me in particular was about this man who is a construction worker. As a construction worker, he is very concerned with going back to work, because it is very hard for them to keep six feet apart when they have to work in groups. He talked about wearing his mask all the time but he was still nervous. He also mentioned seeing his neighbors always having people over and never wearing a mask and they’re living like everything is completely normal. He ended with the fact that COVID-19 is rising and how he is concerned.  He also brought up the cost of vaccines, how expensive it is, and how he is worried the prices for the vaccines might end up going up.  As part of this program, I learned that the prices of drugs really affects a lot of people. For instance I myself having to deal with the price of drugs while being a college student has been a very hard experience. In one of my experiences I was very ill and had to go to the hospital. I ended  having to use my grocery money to pay for the medication. No one should have to deal with such a situationI am very excited about my role at NJOP because I get the opportunity to give back to my community in such tough times as this, especially with the pandemic going on. I am very excited to be able to make a difference in someone else’s life.” -Emmanuella

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