Military News

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Volunteer website brings potential opportunities for individuals, base organizations

by Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


8/12/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- Team Mildenhall is now using a new website set to bring a whole host of opportunities for those looking to volunteer, which opens an ever-growing pool of potential volunteers for organizations looking for help.

Myairforcevolunteer.com has been up and running at RAF Mildenhall since early July 2015 and currently 66 people have registered. U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa has been selected as a pilot program to test the site.

Created by a retired military member who was assigned to the Airman and Family Readiness Center on Aviano Air Base, Italy, the website is a way to consolidate all volunteer opportunities into one place.

"It means people can go to just one place to see what's going on and what volunteer opportunities are available," said Kelli Hardin, 100th Force Support Squadron community readiness specialist from Santa Clara, California. "We want to get private organizations on board with this, along with any other groups on base that have volunteer opportunities at any time, such as Joan Mann Special Sports Day and the bazaars."

During her visit to RAF Mildenhall Aug. 5, 2015, Sharon Gorenc, spouse of Gen. Frank Gorenc, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, stated both her husband and Gen. Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, amongst others, have great praise for the website, as do spouses.

It's very easy to sign up, and participants can register either as a volunteer or organization. Registering can be done either via social media, from which only basic information shown on a public profile is used, or by entering details such as name and e-mail. Once logged on, the site disengages itself from the person's social media page.

"Once you've registered, it takes you straight to the 'landing page,'" said Hardin. "The site is available to all base ID cardholders and is very user-friendly. As well as listing volunteer opportunities available on base, it can be used to log volunteer hours which can in turn be used for (enlisted performance reports) and award packages.

"Additionally, when squadrons or private organizations find volunteer opportunities available off-base, these can also be listed. It makes it so much easier as you already have a pool of potential volunteers ready and waiting," she said. "It's also a great way to reach spouses who may not usually get base-wide e-mails, and their military member may not always share the information with them. It gives them options to find out about volunteer positions."

Hardin explained that when different agencies and private organizations register on the site, individuals who are registered can then follow them to get notifications when any opportunities arise. Also, groups can either be open to everyone registered, or closed so they are just available to their particular squadron members, for example when help is needed for a squadron event of some kind which might not be relevant to anyone outside that squadron.

"Another great thing with this is you can add it to the home screen of your phone, so it acts as an app," the community readiness specialist continued. "That way, you can check it wherever you are, regardless of whether you have access to your e-mail or not, and still find out about upcoming volunteer positions."

One agency already registered and advertising available opportunities is the American Red Cross on RAF Mildenhall.

"Myairforcevolunteer.com is an effective tool designed to help promote not only Red Cross volunteer opportunities, but other helping agencies in our area," said Regan Jefferson, American Red Cross regional program specialist from Hartford, Connecticut. "As a volunteer, your time and dedication is invaluable. This site makes it possible for your efforts to be recognized and accounted for."

For more information, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at DSN 238-3406, or commercial, 01638-543406. Alternatively, register on the site at www.myairforcevolunteer.com.

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