Disaster Social Service Volunteers: Evaluation of a Training Program
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This article presents the results of an evaluation of a volunteer training program that prepares participants to enter postdisaster settings to work with affected children and families.The evaluation, which uses a knowledge-skills-attitudes (KSA) approach, draws on the results of a telephone survey with 46 randomly selected program volunteers. Volunteers reported statistically significant knowledge gains in the three primary training areas: program-specific knowledge, disaster-specific knowledge, and child-specific knowledge. The respondents who had deployed to a disaster after becoming a certified volunteer connected three major training goals to their skills in the field. Specifically, they recalled and used training materials in terms of helping facilitate children's play, setting up and running a disaster child care center, and remaining flexible and adaptable in the highly uncertain postdisaster context. The research also revealed uniformly positive attitudes toward the trainers who conduct the 27-hour training sessions and high levels of satisfaction with the program itself. The article concludes with recommendations for further improving the program and discusses ways that universities can work with nonprofit disaster relief organizations to ensure timely and effective program evaluations.
Journal of Applied Social Science
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