In a sense, volunteering truly is a cornerstone to developing a better community. It allows individuals to share their experiences, knowledge and talents while making personal connections and enhancing the overall quality of their community. Volunteering offers both the individual and the organization an opportunity to enhance and expand with new ideas and experiences.
On Sept. 19, from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., more than 50 charitable organizations will set up tables in the third floor Canyon area of DestinyUSA to explain their purpose and mission during the CNY Volunteer Fair, sponsored by my office. This community event aims to match individuals in the community with a non-profit or charitable organization that could use a helping hand. The volunteer fair is a great opportunity to get a sense of the vast array of organizations that serve the community.
Some of the organizations are widely known, while others are fairly new. Some offer opportunities in specific communities or areas. The array of issues the organizations address include helping cancer patients and survivors, the homeless and hungry, those dealing with health issues, children, rural or inner-city residents, senior citizens, animals and much more. The opportunities range from clerical duties, peer-to-peer advice, hands-on involvement, maintaining a website and everything in between. All of the organizations serve a need in the greater Central New York community and require the time, commitment and energy of volunteers.
Celebrating its eighth year, the CNY Volunteer Fair has proven over the years to be tremendously successful in connecting people to people. The key to this success is that it’s an event that is important to all ages and demographics — from senior citizens to students.
Senior citizens have often spent decades developing an expertise in their chosen profession and, once retired, find themselves with free time on their hands and a desire to utilize those years of experience. The CNY Volunteer Fair offers them an opportunity to search through the community organizations and find the ones they connect with best.
Students, at both the high school and college levels, are often required to perform a certain number of hours of volunteer community service in order to earn their diplomas. Instead of just doing the hours to meet the requirement, the CNY Volunteer Fair offers the opportunity to find an organization that meets their passions and goals and offers them insight into possible career paths, all while serving those in need. Even those students who don’t have volunteer hour requirements may find it helpful to get some hands-on, first-person experience in a potential future career field by volunteering for an organization that serves a specific sector of the community.
I look forward to seeing you at the ninth annual CNY Volunteer Fair. I hope that you will be able to make a long-lasting connection with a local non-profit organization.