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The Highland Lakes Crisis Network now has a more streamlined way for its volunteers to serve their community: the Better Impact website and app.

The new system gathers available volunteer jobs and related materials in one spot. Signup can be done via computer, tablet, or phone.

“It automates the whole process,” Executive Director Kevin Naumann told DailyTrib.com. “People can sign the waivers, see the schedule, and plug themselves into an opportunity.”

The change comes as the HLCN continues to add volunteers and service opportunities. The network currently has about 300-400 active volunteers for a variety of programs that help people in crisis.

“Things have grown quickly, and it’s been a huge blessing to have people plug in through different ways,” Naumann said. “This will help us automate the (volunteering) process as we add more services and more roles for people to plug in.”

Better Impact also will be key during natural disasters. Another 800 or so volunteers currently in the HLCN’s database stem from aiding Highland Lakes residents during the 2018 flood.

“If another flood or a tornado hits, this is a way for us to keep those (volunteers) plugged in and easily engaged,” Naumann said. “It’s very scalable in that way.”

Prior to Better Impact, the organization relied on Google Sheets to manage its litany of programs.

“Google has been our friend,” Naumann said. “We still use it for a lot of stuff, but it’s a little difficult to manage once you get to a certain level.”

Naumann pointed to the organization’s thrift shop, The Warehouse, as one of the top programs in need of more volunteers. The store recently expanded its hours following months of calls for more help.

“That’s an ongoing thing where, every day, we need people,” he said. “We’re trying to scale our hours, and it’s an easy one for people to wrap their minds around.”

The Highland Lakes Crisis Network also hopes to find more “shepherds” to guide its clients in the Transformational Living program, an initiative that provides housing and other resources to families in need. Common duties for program volunteers are calling clients at least once a week, offering support during major life moments, and providing spiritual insight when necessary.

“That’s the one that we need more of,” Naumann said. “It takes a little bit more investment of time.”

Visit the Highland Lakes Crisis Network’s website to learn how you can help or to seek assistance.

nathan@thepicayune.com

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