Previewing the Humanist Disaster Response Teams

Previewing the Humanist Disaster Response Teams December 16, 2014

One of the projects that Foundation Beyond Belief will roll out in 2015 is the development of Humanist Disaster Response Teams. We have a preview of that program, including a rundown of the people who are leading it, what we are building and what those teams will do to alleviate suffering and help people after natural disasters.

In late Spring, HDR Teams will begin to offer online training to volunteers from across the country. From this pool of volunteers, team leaders will be chosen to represent their regions. This training will lead to HDR Teams’ initial deployment of a relatively small team with a secular partnering organization, to test their training protocols and systems.

HDR Teams will be working with a philosophy of Survivor First. Every survivor goes through a different and individual experience after a disaster, and it is HDR Teams’ position to place the focus on every aspect of that experience. HDR Teams’ goal is to be at the service of survivors, not ourselves. By following this philosophy, HDR Teams will aim to bring an end to treating any survivor like an opportunity.

While there are a number of disaster recovery organizations throughout the country, HDR Teams is unique, not only for our secular-humanist worldview, but for being an evidence-based program. Hand in hand with this evidence, we will provide our volunteers with the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) for dealing with the traumatic experience of being involved in a disaster.

CRM was suggested by HDR Teams Trauma Consultant Randi Gottlieb, who will be training our volunteers in how to utilize this evidence-based biological model to calm the central nervous system of not only themselves, but any member of the community they come into contact with who could benefit from its usage.

HDR Teams will then be prepared to launch a second, larger deployment when needed to fine-tune our program. We will be using the information gathered from these deployments to improve and prepare for what we hope to be an ever-growing program for the nontheistic community.

To sign up for HDR Teams, please visit our website. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to

This is one of the reasons I love working with FBB, the focus on evidence-based philanthropy. A great deal of effort goes into measuring the most effective uses of money and human resources and analyzing the data to make sure that what we’re doing is going to have the largest possible beneficial impact on those in need. If you support that as well, please help me raise another $1000 to meet the foundation’s end-of-year fundraising needs.

Browse Our Archives