Find Ways to Improve Your Community During National Volunteer Week, April 15-21

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Family Y Aquatic Director Nicole Turechek with Staples Key Club members Khaliq Sana and Jessica Shaw, student volunteers at the January 2012 Youth Fun Night.

The Westport Weston Family Y will recognize and celebrate April 15-21 as 2012 National Volunteer Week – a time to honor individuals who dedicate themselves to helping strengthen their communities. As the Family Y joins the nation in saluting those who volunteer, it also encourages everyone to find ways to give back and make a difference.
“Volunteering and giving back are critical to helping more individuals and communities be healthy, connected and secure,” said Rob Reeves, Family Y CEO. “At the Family Y, volunteers help drive our cause of strengthening community by nurturing the potential of youth, improving the nation’s health and well-being and supporting our neighbors. The programs and services we offer to men, women and children of all ages are made possible in large part by volunteers who donate their time and talents.”
The Y, one of the leading nonprofits and volunteer organizations in the country, offers individuals and families opportunities to volunteer in ways that let them connect and develop meaningful relationships, all while making an impact in communities they care about.
Family Y volunteers give their time, talent and heart to help our Family Y serve the community. In 2011, 174 volunteers contributed a total of 7,805 volunteer hours. Volunteers serving the Family Y’s Water Rat Swim Team were 139 strong and logged 4,533 hours on their own. In all, that’s 514 days of giving 24/7 to our community.
The Family Y also creates opportunities for volunteers from local schools and other organizations to contribute in ways that best match their skills and causes they support. Students from Staples High School’s Key Club are valued role models and mentors at the Family Y’s monthly Youth Fun Nights for 4th-7th graders. We’re also pleased to partner with Staples student Tyler Marks as he helps lead the Soles4Souls shoe-collection drive at the Family Y, Apr. 23-27.

Eileen Flug, deputy moderator of the Westport RTM, is one of our community's most active and effective volunteers. Here she volunteers her green thumb at the planting of the Y's new teaching garden at Camp Mahackeno last spring.

Volunteers are welcome to join Family Y staffers, Y members and other community supporters for a morning of light outdoor work at Camp Mahackeno on Saturday, May 12, 8 a.m. to 12 noon as we prepare for another season of summer day camp for local children. Refreshments will be served. Young volunteers are encouraged to join us, though we ask that children under 16 be accompanied by an adult. Please use our Sunny Lane entrance, off Route 33, past the Red Barn restaurant.
Many more opportunities exist for others of all ages to help make a difference. We have the database, you supply info and interests, and we’ll match you up with volunteer opportunities around the Y. One-shot volunteer, or long term commitment – you tell us!
National Volunteer Week is a great time to get involved. Here are five ways individuals can take an active role at the Y and in their community:
  1. Join a special committee that matches your skills or interests.
  2. Coach a sports team, teach a class or ask about other ways to get involved with a program of your interest.
  3. Help with fundraising efforts to ensure that essential programs and services are accessible to everyone in need.
  4. Get involved with a mentoring or tutoring program to help motivate and encourage youth to reach their potential.
  5. Inspire others to find ways they too can give back to the community.
Each year, more than half a million people volunteer their time to the Y of the USA. Whether developing skills or emotional well-being through education and training, welcoming and connecting diverse demographic populations through global services, or preventing chronic disease and building healthier communities through collaborations with policy makers, the Y fosters the care and respect all people deserve.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Westport Weston Family Y, contact Meaghan George, Camp and Youth Director; mgeorge@westporty.org or 203-226-8981, ext. 179.

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