Since doing this column for the past four years I have not interviewed a candidate for “Volunteer of the Month” who said that, “volunteering is what I live for.” That changed when I interviewed Howie Hollander.
Hollander was born in New York City, received a degree in Electrical Engineering from NYU and his Masters from Northeastern University. That education led him to move to Syracuse in 1982 where he began working for General Electric, which is now Lockheed Martin. He retired in 2011, but stays involved in the industry by volunteering at a number of organizations that promote careers in technology and engineering and/or K-20 STEM education including the Technology Alliance of CNY and the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology. Last year he returned to work part-time at SUNY-ESF’s Outreach office managing an advanced manufacturing training program.
Hollander began volunteering for ARISE about 16 years ago, an organization whose mission is to work with people of all abilities to create a fair and just community in which everyone can fully participate.
One of the programs that does this is “ARISE and Ski,” a program at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius. ARISE and Ski makes dreams come true for children and adults living with disabilities who want to take on the snow covered slopes at Toggenburg. The program provides adaptive ski equipment that helps people of all abilities meet the challenge of the slopes. Innovative equipment is available and used in the lessons with the assistance of instructors and volunteers, who receive thorough training from PSIA certified adaptive instructors.
An avid skier, Howie Hollander is a volunteer instructor. He says, “I’ve had it good my entire life and just want to give back and give others a chance to more fully enjoy their life.” ARISE provides volunteers for each skier and Hollander has worked with the same skier for 10 years, making sure that as the lessons are carried out on the slopes it is in a safe atmosphere. That is especially important to Howie, as there were times that his skier took falls and had to be helped up and along, a slow process that might not be visible to uphill skiers.
Hollander also volunteers at the ARISE Farm Program fund raisers and is readily available in other capacities because he feels that, “every person, regardless of disability, should have the chance of having a full and satisfying life, and that includes all aspects of life, including athletic participation.”
Howie Hollander lives in Fayetteville with his wife Linda. They have two grown children.
(ARISE is always looking for new volunteers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website, ariseinc.org.
To recommend someone with a stellar record of volunteering to be featured in this column, contact Mel Rubenstein: email@example.com, or 682-7162.