Thursday, March 15, 2007

Don't Worry About A Thing

When your volunteers are policy-minded social workers, don't you worry about a thing.

I met Janet, Selene, Jennifer, and Moira yesterday afternoon -- literally after checking my cell phone message at the airport and learning of volunteers from Columbia's School of Social Work. Pictured above, sandwiched between NENA Director Jones and me, these volunteers came through today.

I had spent about an hour with Jennifer yesterday showing her how to assign a list of addresses to their associated census block, while the others were catching up on some mapping data-entry work that was needed.

I was going to stop by NENA this morning to see how the team was doing. But when I called ahead they sounded already on top of the whole thing. So I stayed away. By the late afternoon when I arrived with the Dartmouth team, they had figured out how to assign hundreds of street addresses to their associated census block. Everything was handled - from map printouts from the census to the block assigning and physical inspections of some blocks to clear up unusual observations in the mapping data. And they flagged some unusual (very likely faulty) observations in other Lower Ninth Ward mapping data. They finished an entire census tract of addresses in the heart of the Lower Ninth, which sets things up pretty well for NENA to start recruiting residential mappers in those blocks.

Janet, Selene, and Jennifer, and Moira are definitely my first and finest volunteers on this trip.


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