When it's time to honor the many amazing volunteers in our region at next week's annual , the kids might get the biggest applause.
The , located in Tarrytown and serving the mid-Hudson Valley region, has awarded, for the last three decades, volunteers in each of eight categories from Going Green to Social Advocacy. Executive Director Alisa Kesten said the judges have a hard time choosing among so many phenomenal nominees, but “we are always really touched by the young people who are volunteering.”
Last year, high-schooler was awarded for her efforts to collect books for soldiers. The military theme continues with this year's winner in the Youth Leader category, Jake Gallin of New Rochelle, who is raising money for military families through a Stars for Cars program.
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“Our youngest volunteers are very touched by the fact that it's young men and women who protect us every day,” Kesten said.
While these particular youth were attracted to military causes, Kesten noted that many adults are inspired these days to share their professional skills to help fill a gap “as nonprofits are faced with tightened budgets and increasing needs for services.”
Kesten noted the work of retired IBMer, Louis Thomason of Chappaqua, who's been using all his IT and computer engineering skills to rig wheelchairs with communication devices and "really have an impact on an organization's efficiency and the quality of life of its severly disabled clients."
Faced with so many options of where and how to volunteer, Kesten said people tend to follow their personal passions.
People such as: Pat Rosafort of Mount Kisco, whose discovery that her mother had been abused in a former marriage led her to her current work with Hope's Door, helping victims of domestic violence.
Or: Peter McCartt of Eastchester, honored for his environmental work, “who took a very personal look once he had children and realized we only have one planet," said Kesten. "He was no longer satisfied with the work he was doing in his own background but extended it to the whole region.”
The inspiring list goes on and you can read about all the winners here.
“The skies the limit in terms of how someone can volunteer,” said Kesten, which is where their organization steps in. The Volunteer Center matches people and businesses with projects and nonprofits needing their help. “Businesses in the region are so attuned to how they can be good corporate citizens. We're delighted we have so many companies that support our programs.”
And delighted, of course, to have so many volunteers.
The 2012 Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration takes place on Friday, April 20, 8-10 a.m. at the Rye Town Hilton. Ticket prices are $75 per person, $55 for non-profit staff members, reservations are encouraged by April 17. All proceeds benefit The Volunteer Center’s work to promote volunteerism. For further information about reservations and raffles or to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal (deadline extended to April 15), contact The Volunteer Center at 914-948-4452, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.volunteer-center.org/awards.