OWS Volunteer Services Meeting Minutes 11/20/11

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Below is a briefing of the minutes taken at 60 Wall Street with nine people attending.


Micah; as moderator announcing what group will be discussing.

Alex: There seemed to be a lack of communication between working as PT Caucus Group & Volunteer Services, Volunteer Services is now an actual working group.

Amy: I would like to purpose that people who have been involved with this group state what they have been working on and open that line of communication with newcomers to the group. I am working on a document that will be a work in progress that specifies the needs of other working groups and how someone  could Volunteer their time to that group. To me, that is the number one priority because there are so many people coming into the Park who need help & also that people are coming in who wish to Volunteer but don’t know how to do so.

Lois: Since their are newcomers, we need to better explain what the group is.

ALex: When we were at PT Caucus we wanted to get people over to working groups such as Kitchen, comfort, library, etc..but their was a disconnection with that as one member thought specifically that Volunteers should just drop in and Volunteer, but then decided that it was better to have a more organized method of communication with each Volunteer, so by implementing a schedule we found it more effective in not only communication, but more staffing and ability from Volunteers.

Amy: I feel that because of last week, things have changed and working groups need’s have changed, so it’s important to hear the needs from those working groups.

Alex: We also need to consider how there are some working groups within the movement that are no longer functional post eviction, Alex also discussing what the meaning of the COMM hub is to the newcomers of the group.

Amy: I would like to hear from others as to what this group should be.

(Man) ????: What it sounds like  is that you want Volunteer Services to act as a broker between working groups and Volunteers.

Alex: This group is evolving at such a level that is very great, the overall mission of Volunteer Services, is that we evolve along with OWS to continue to meet their needs.

Amy: My feeling is that we are doing here now is what it is, no leaders here, not one of us knows the right answer, I know that being able to communicate on a daily basis with Volunteers may be to much.

Alex: It was proposed that the housing hotline pass on their number to Volunteer Services to man a phone line during the day to take calls and coordinate with Churches who are housing homeless and former Liberty SQ Occupiers by alleviating the burden on the small group that currently oversees that project.

Amy: Do we want this Group to be organized or to be involved in actual volunteering tasks?.

Micha: I think it should be two pronged; while we should be organizing, we should take on a wider responsibility. Coordinate Volunteers, but also chip in to offer help when needed

(Women) ????: Just showing up to Park and wanting to help is very intimidating even more so intimidating is the website (NYCGA), unless you are outgoing it can be intimidating to invite them in. By funneling people we help welcome and expand people. The better this group is at that, the more people there will be to join.

Lois: The housing thing is something to think about because it would be way to overwhelming. Do you want to donate massive amount of time to one function.

Alex: We should use our resources to the max, I don’t foresee why we cant use a couple of people to answer the phone telling them to go to this or that Church.

Lois: Is he sure that involvement is to recruit and not approach Churches.

Alex: Much easier process to send directly to Churches.

Lois: Must be thought through with all ramification, since the occupation is no longer existent, housing should not be an issue.

John: I was arrested on Tuesaday’ Morning when I went  down to Liberty SQ’ and have been coming down to the Park to learn about People. I spent some time in Corporate World so i would like to share my two sense.. listening to you for five minutes, my one question, where are you getting Volunteers? There is creative thinking about drawing more People via social media…Biggest danger I see is that if you don’t have ownership of anything, if you are purely a broker, you run the risk of People coming, not having having something specific, then go home, and not come back.

Amy: That exactly one thin we have done with the tabel at the Park.

John: I worked with recruiters a a lot, they were order takers, so I gather you have some contacts with some working groups.

Mari: I want to find out what working groups are….. and how skills are matched, what groups are available?, what can I do.

Micah: Good thing to keep in mind is to match People with their skills to the working groups.

Amy: But do we want to get a list of People, with their skills, to then send to the working groups for them to e-mail?

Resounding Answer:  NO

(Women) ???: I agree with both Micah & Amy, one of the things I thought was cool about recruitment that I did was knowing who is good at what, but there is a tricky part in figuring that out.

Micah: When is comes to protocol, they put their People in positions where they are best and most useful.

Michael: I do like your (Micah) idea about matching, but I like the simplicity that we can offer. We are taking people who can give two hours here, one day a weekend, and then they are gone. So we need to keep that in mind.

Amy: How much of Micah’s idea is self selecting, (IE) jOhn has legal background and we give him info to get involved, then it is up to him to get involved with Legal working group..I think there is room for both sides.

Lois: When People sign up, People indicate their area’s of interest and we ned to assess their skill set. Very general one, (IE) Lawyers, Doctors, important to share with other working groups so that others know that we have a range of Volunteers.

Alex: We are experiencing bad burnout, I don’t foresee housing phone line being part of Volunteer Services forever, but this is to assist them for now, because they are in desperate need of Volunteers. If the actually develop  a Housing Working Group then we can refer it  back to them.

Alex: If we decide to help out with the housing hotline, it would take about a week.

Jessica: In the interest of time can we make concrete action items and come up with dates and decisions?.

Everyone: We must have a presence in the Park to continue to get more Volunteers…Action Items…….

Alex: Are we in agreement about helping housing with the phone lines.

Amy: Where are the Phone Lines?.

Lois: My one concern is that it is not a long term commitment & to overwhelmed, it must have a time limit.

Michael: We will say we take this on for three weeks.

Alex: I purpose we have three lines out of Harlem, number to be blasted out of comm hub, and we have Volunteers manning the lines to refer People to different Churches, We keep it short term, We do this asap to alleviate the three People working on this through cell phones now.

Group Consensus……

Amy: My proposal is that we hand out fliers in the Park if any Volunteers can come down to the Park around 1Pm on Tuesday handing out Volunteer Info.



Group Consensus….

Is everyone in consensus with having meeting at 6Pm on Sundays …….Yes


***Request Group Admin to please add meeting to doc’s on nycga site***

End of official minutes completed by AB 11/25/11 1:06Am


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