When a freak tornado hit her Massachusetts hometown, Caitria O’Neill wasn't an expert in disaster relief recovery. But she learned quickly and is now passing her knowledge on through the website Recovers.org.
Caitria O'Neill, then 20, had just graduated from college in the summer of 2011, and was preparing to begin a Master's program in Moscow. But on June 1, an EF3 tornado hit her hometown of Monson, Massachusetts. Caitria, along with her older sister Morgan, quickly took action. Working as lead volunteer coordinators, the two created a flexible framework for an "unofficial" community relief effort. By leveraging the short term spike in national interest, along with social media and database organization, Monson recorded more volunteer hours than any surrounding town -- hundreds more hours, in fact.
After this intense experience, Catria and Morgan have translated their system into organizing software for local coordinators, through the website Recovers.org. This “recovery in a box” can be rolled out in minutes, helping local relief organizers turn interest into action. Caitria serves as Chief Executive Officer.
“[To] fix problems after a disaster, it takes a local. No matter how good an aid organization is at what they do, they eventually have to go home.”
“If we can get the right tools at the right time to the people who will inevitably step up and start putting their communities back together, we can create new standards in disaster recovery.”