The devastating impacts of hurricanes and floodwaters are well known throughout the world, including nearly every region of the United States. In September 2013, a catastrophic amount of flooding besieged Boulder, Colorado, when almost a year’s amount of rain fell in just a few days, killing eight people, stranding thousands, damaging nearly 19,000 homes, and creating miles of impassable roads.
Despite these conditions, volunteers began showing up. In addition to local residents offering to help, thousands arrived from far-off states to help shelter evacuees, clean out flooded homes and buildings, and dig out debris that littered fields and roads for miles. Boulder quickly recognized that in order to rebuild a resilient city, it would need to leverage all of its resources wisely – including the talents of residents and others who wished to volunteer.
In this e-Volunteerism feature interview, Beth Steinhorn, president of VQ Volunteer Strategies, begins with a first-person account of the city's initial response to the floods. She then conducts an important interview with Aimee Kane, Boulder's Volunteer Program and Project Manager, who discusses why and how the City of Boulder built a culture of community and volunteer engagement in the years since the floodwaters of 2013.