BY BARRY WARNER
On Friday, April 20, 2018 the United Way of Rockland’s ‘Spring Day of Caring’ brought together more than 300 volunteers to complete essential projects for Rockland County’s nonprofit health and human service providers. The completion of these projects empowered the community services to better serve thousands of people. Celebrated as the largest single-day community service event, the ‘Spring Day of Caring’ mobilized a collective force for positive action with the United Way as its support. Volunteer teams from local schools and companies worked together to reach a shared goal of improving the lives of individuals and families in need.
There was a lunch and rally at Palisades Credit Union Park to applaud the hundreds of volunteers for their service. The crowd included elected officials, representatives from Rockland businesses and school groups. Afterwards, the teams proceeded to their various projects at local nonprofits.
President and CEO of United Way of Rockland Dana Treacy said, “These services are crucial to our nonprofit partners. These are the projects that they couldn’t otherwise afford, so the volunteers are critical. Agencies in Rockland are able to get so much more done when we work together.”
United Hospice of Rockland’s Office Manager Joan O’Brien told the Rockland County Times, “The United Way is always kind to include us in this event. We are able to get skilled and unskilled help from the St. Thomas Aquinas College students to maintain our standards as a nonprofit.”
The project list for United Hospice of Rockland in New City included:
1 Shampoo carpet stained from water leak in stairwell and re-paint trim alongside stair steps.
2 Sand down, rinse, then paint outside railing along walkways.
3 Power wash building.
4 Take covers off patio furniture and power wash.
5 Paint exterior doors.
6 Clean out janitorial closet with vacuum and take supplies upstairs.
7 Straighten out supply area where paint is stored.
8 Clean and re-shelve items volunteers are using as they finish their paint projects.
St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) student spokesperson Jack Nicholson said, “We have participated for three years on this ‘Day of Caring’ to give back to the community. We are lucky to be in the position we are in. It is important to show we care about the environment and give back to the people who have given so much to us.”
National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, 2018, powered by President George H. W. Bush’s Points of Light Campaign, is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together and tackle tough challenges and build stronger communities. President Bush made the call to public and community service a centerpiece of his presidency. At his inauguration in 1989, he spoke of ‘all the individuals and community organizations, spread like stars through the nation, doing good’. In the first year of his presidency, President Bush founded the Points of Light Foundation to promote the spirit of volunteerism. He launched the modern volunteer service movement by signing the National and Community Service Act of 1990.
Other organizations and number of volunteers included: Joe Raso House New City ( 12-Greater Hudson Bank), Martin Luther King Center ( 12-Pomona Middle School) , Garnerville Arts (10-Dominican College), Center for Safety and Change (13-PDI), YAI/RCAPD Spring Valley (12-STAC), YAI/RCAPD 3 Alice Court (7-STAC), YAI/RCAPD 5 Alice Court (7 STAC), Meals on Wheels (15-M&T Bank), Homes for Heroes (18-TD Bank), Conway House/Joseph Home (15-STAC), Rockland Farm Alliance (20-STAC), Birthright of Rockland (4-STAC), Keep Rockland Beautiful (25-Avon), Visions (45-Pfizer), Rockland ARC Hemlock Drive (10-STAC), ARC New City (10-STAC), ARC Pearl River (8-STAC) and ARC/Prime Time for Kids (6-STAC).
In some families, the credo of volunteerism is handed down generation after generation. Ambulance and fire departments in Rockland County are staffed due to the efforts of volunteers. Long overdue upgrades are made to seniors’ homes thanks to volunteers from the CHORE Service. Teams set up tables at a soup kitchen every week and another group delivers meals to men and women who can no longer cook for themselves by Meals on Wheels. Volunteers pick causes and make differences in peoples’ lives because their missions provide valuable support to communities that require help.