Volunteers discover their group members’ 6 degrees of separation

By Mauri Shuler

volunteer story_6degrees1The volunteers at a Red Cross shelter find they often have a great deal in common. In fact, at the Santa Rosa Veterans Hall Shelter, the group that randomly came together to help evacuees found they had less than 6 degrees of separation among them.

Allison Donine is from Berkeley and works as an Americorps volunteer at the Red Cross office in that city. Kevin Lappin is a live event producer in Oakland, and he and Allison discovered they had walked past each other almost daily in Oakland without ever meeting until they came to Santa Rosa.

Two others grew up together, one knew another volunteer’s sister, three studied jiujitsu, and the list goes on.

The volunteers were so struck by the connections, they drew a chart to illustrate the point. But as one client told us, “This group has become a family in a very short time.”

One of the benefits of volunteering is simply meeting your neighbors and making new friends.


Lori Wilson and Jim Burns provided editorial support to this story.