Celeste S. served the Agency Relations Director for Dallas County, Government Relations (ServiceWorks!) and Disaster Management at the Volunteer Center of North Texas (VCNT). As the ServiceWorks! Director, she developed an innovative volunteer program for the City of Dallas with oversight of 57 coordinators and 19,319 community volunteers. During her eight year tenure, she contributed articles and blog content to foster an understanding of public/private partnerships and how to effectively leverage community resources.
During the Katrina and Rita hurricane response efforts, Celeste S. served as the Volunteer Coordinator on the City of Dallas Hurricane Operations Command Staff. During that event, the Volunteer Team registered and referred 9,200 individuals and groups (approximately 15,000 individuals) to volunteer opportunities that aided evacuees and supported over 200 shelter operations. Also, she provided spontaneous volunteer management services at the Dallas Convention Center and Reunion Arena mega-shelters. She served in this capacity during the Gustav/Ike evacuations, heat events, ice events, tornados, flooding and several wildfire events in North Texas. Out of a desire to improve response times and organizational efficiencies, a mass care disaster response coalition (Volunteer Center of North Texas, Salvation Army, North Texas Food Bank and the American Red Cross) was formed. She participated in the development of this unique partnership as both a grant writer and a nonprofit program director. Ultimately, the new partnership was awarded $36.6 million in support funding. In collaboration with each organization’s volunteer administrators’, she led a team that created a credentialing system for volunteers and spiritual care providers and strategic support to governmental entities in North Texas. She regularly publishes articles and holds sessions to train community leaders about volunteer coordination during times of disaster.