Who We Are : The Go Team
On St. John, you may see a group of people wearing bright teal shirts driving all across the island in a hurry. They can be spotted at community events, visiting seniors at home, or delivering emergency preparedness supplies to seniors and families.
Who are these friendly, cheerful folks in their bright shirts? They are the Love City Strong Go Team!
Why is it called the “Go Team?”
Our Go Team was modeled after the group of volunteers that worked alongside our founders after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Together with Global DIRT, we enlisted over 50 individuals from all across the island to go into the community and help those in need. These volunteers were nicknamed the “Go Team” because they are always “on the go,” and the name stuck!
For 3 months after the hurricanes, the Go Team delivered relief supplies from a variety of outside agencies, helped people clean their properties, connected individuals with resources, managed the massive amount of in-kind donations arriving on St. John, and gathered data used by federal agencies like the US Army Core of Engineers’ Blueroof Program.
Our Team Reflects Our Community
When Love City Strong’s founders decided to form LCS into an official NGO, we knew that we wanted the Go Team to be a part of the organizational structure. We learned early on the value of disaster survivors seeing themselves reflected in the response and recovery process. People were more likely to accept help from their friends and neighbors than from outsiders who they didn’t recognize.
From the beginning, we made sure that the Go Team reflected the diversity of the St. John community. Though its members and its size have changed over the years, the Go Team has always been made up of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, age groups, and from different areas of the island. All of our employees, including the Go Team, are either Virgin Islanders or transplants who have lived on St. John for at least 5 years. This has been crucial to our success as an organization.
What Does the Go Team Do?
During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Go Team spends their time going through extensive first responder training. They also execute our annual preparedness outreach programs, such as sandbag deliveries to seniors alongside the VI Dept. of Public Works.
Every July, we hire a group of 10 to 15 seasonal members of the Go Team. They can be quickly deployed alongside our core team if a major disaster strikes. The seasonal members receive first responder training as well, and help us with a variety of outreach tasks throughout peak hurricane season.
Throughout the rest of the year, the Go Team are the ones executing our preparedness and mitigation programs. They change filters for seniors involved in our Water Filtration program; drive seniors to their flu shot appointments; build and post address signs for homes that do not have visible addresses, and more. In 2020, they hand delivered hundreds of meals from World Central Kitchen to seniors and families every week from Cruz Bay to the East End of St. John.
They also keep in touch with clients who are receiving program benefits from a contractor or business partner. For example, they make regular visits to those whose homes are being rebuilt through our Resilient Housing Initiative (RHI) program. They firmly believe in meeting our clients where they are, rather than making them come to our office. This allows our clients to feel comfortable and creates a more personal experience for them while they are enrolled in one of our programs.
The Go Team is always ready to lend a hand to any group or agency for a disaster preparedness or mitigation project. For example, when the VI Dept. of Health and FEMA asked for our help with vaccination pop ups on St. John, the Go Team led the charge.
The Core of LCS
The Go Team are the heart of everything that we do. They provide familiar, friendly faces for our clients. Often take on multiple projects and tasks every month for LCS and for our partners. Nothing that we do would be possible without their hard work and dedication to our mission.
If you are on St. John, and you see their teal shirts on the go, be sure to wave and say hello! The Go Team might not be able to stop and chat, but they’ve always got time for a smile. Donate today to help the Go Team keep doing their important work.