Angela Hines: We have a duty to look out for each other

Published 6:53 am Monday, October 17, 2022

Angelina Hines, AmeriCorps member with SBP, said the organization’s immediate response to Hurricane Ian was to mobilize an assessment team. They visited communities in Collier, Charlotte, Lee and Orange counties. In these communities, Hines and her team handed out water and recovery resources to survivors and local direct groups they encountered.

She said the primary mission for the assessment team was to “understand what areas were impacted, which areas and persons are most vulnerable, what are the immediate needs of the community and who are the other players on the ground and where are the gaps.”

Phase 2 of their response plan was molded by the information gathered by the assessment team. According to Hines, the next several weeks will consist of mucking, gutting and mold-suppressing high-needs homes. In addition to physically assisting with homes, SBP dispatched a team to assist survivors with their FEMA applications.

“Long-term, SBP is raising funds to help with rebuilding, understanding that of the 6 million people in the path of Hurricane Ian’s impact, nearly 1 million were already living close to the poverty line,” she said. “For them, recovery will be a challenge if not impossible without the help of a nonprofit group like SBP. We are raising funds to support the long-term rebuilding efforts long after the camera goes away, so that these folks have a predictable path back to a safe and secure home.”

Hines is thankful to be volunteering in Florida. “The work we’re doing is challenging, but has so much value,” she said. “The work itself, client interactions, problem solving, looking for opportunities in the face of challenges has been incredibly rewarding.”

“I’ve also been fortunate to meet and work alongside like-minded individuals, which is incredibly powerful.”

Hines, 34, has only been working with SBP as an AmeriCorps member since June 2022, but has already reaped personal benefits from the volunteer work she has participated in. For Hines, volunteerism is an essential part of her being. “Service and advocacy are fundamental to who I am. My life was improved and shaped by the service of others,” she said. “So for me, I think we as humans have a duty to look out for each other and give of ourselves.”

She defines volunteerism as “giving back and serving others to positively impact a life, lives, a community or mission so that you leave it better than before your service.”

For Hines, the origins of altruistic acts are challenges. “Opportunities for service are often created by challenges,” she said. “The spirit of volunteerism comes from taking a challenge, disaster or crisis and creating an opportunity for good.”

She said through creating these opportunities and impacting others, the best qualities of humanity are visible: “resilience, connection, transformation.”

Transformation is Hines’ favorite of these qualities. “I am motivated by the transformative power of volunteerism,” she said.

“The opportunities to make an impact in someone’s life, which like a ripple effect allows them to impact others, and in turn, to be shaped by that experience and come out a better human so that I can continue serving throughout my life,” she said. “This is how humanity has survived and persisted.”

Hines believes that the service of volunteers, AmeriCorps members and nonprofit organizations like SBP are “expressions of that human instinct.”

“Our impulse or instinct to help others as humans, even at some cost or sacrifice to oneself, has enabled human societies to survive and persist for several thousand years,” she said. “Altruism, especially for people in the face of a disaster like Hurricane Ian, plays a critical role in filling the gaps in government and private sector service.”

To Hines, those who feel inclined to volunteer should jump into action. “No action is too small. There are many opportunities to volunteer for a few hours, a day and even longer-term service.”