Volunteers who participate in Motel Outreach on Thursdays are more than volunteers. They are ambassadors of CCN to the community. These volunteers experience direct contact with the families and individuals that CCN strives to support and serve. It’s incredibly important to CCN that our volunteers feel prepared and supported. That’s why we are working hard to structurally build our Outreach program for volunteers, clients and staff.

 

At CCN, we believe that dignity is a right of all people. Our Outreach Program is meant to encourage just that. Through appointments for goods and services we believe that we can connect community members to the resources of which they are so badly in need. There will most likely always be a shortage of supply for the demand and sometimes there are not the answers for which we had hoped. One of CCN’s most basic functions is simply to help those in the community feel dignified, valued and loved.

 

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Our Motel Outreach Program is designed for that purpose. Every Thursday, I, along with several volunteers from the University of Colorado Nursing Program, Access Colorado, MCPN, various other organizations and individuals set out to take food, hygiene products, resource guides and business cards to motel residents. We knock on doors and shake hands, assess immediate needs and make referrals either to our own programs or to other community resources. It’s very important to CCN that our volunteers feel supported and prepared for their volunteer service. Our new volunteer orientation includes information about how to engage with community members, how to make referrals, mandatory reporting information and safety procedures. We take the safety of our volunteers, staff and community members very seriously. After Motel Outreach is complete the volunteers and I head back to CCN to unload extra supplies and to debrief about the experience. In this section I ask the volunteers to fill out a brief survey.

 

One of the questions on the survey asks the volunteer to share any memorable moments they had during their experience. These are some of those responses:

 

  • “I knocked on doors and met several memorable people. One woman stated she had been there twelve years and that helps give me perspective.”
  • “The sense of community and kindness of all the residents at King’s Inn [Motel].”
  • “Hearing stories of individuals and realizing struggles they have. One woman whose husband is legally considered a felon and the issues she’s having getting housing. Very eye opening.”
  • “Talking with people and giving them information and hearing their stories is very humbling and [a] great experience.”
  • “Listening to a guest open up to complete strangers and allow herself to be vulnerable in our presence was very humbling and just eye opening to the issues faced in this community.”
  • “The experience was phenomenal!”

 

I’m always incredibly delighted to hear that a volunteer loved the Motel Outreach because it’s honestly one of my favorite parts of this organization. To hear that a volunteer loved the experience AND felt adequately prepared to be of service to community members is even better. CCN depends heavily upon our beloved volunteers. They are as much a part of CCN as the staff and clients. I’m so amazed by my regular Outreach volunteers who take time out of their busy work and school schedules to dedicate a few hours each week to be a part of what I consider some of the most intimate of human interaction. Building relationships is my job as the Outreach Coordinator. It’s equally important that our volunteers feel a strong relationship to CCN and its respective programs. That is accomplished by having a structurally sound and supportive orientation for all volunteers. We hope that you’ll join us on Motel Outreach and look forward to seeing your most memorable moments!