During National Volunteer Week, April 10 -16, the Hunterdon County YMCA joins the nation in encouraging individuals to seek ways to give back, while honoring those who dedicate themselves to helping strengthen communities.
“Our volunteers are the soul of the Y; without their selflessness we couldn’t do the work we do every day to help children, families and communities thrive,” said Jenn Attridge, Director of Mission Advancement for the Hunterdon YMCA. “By bringing people together from all walks of life around a shared purpose to do good, the Y is creating a stronger, more cohesive community. Together, we’re building a better us.”
As one of the leading nonprofits and volunteer organizations in the country, more than 600,000 people volunteer at the Y each year. Here in Hunterdon, more than 600 volunteers made a lasting impact on Y programs and the community.
To help those less fortunate, volunteers collected and distributed more than 1,400 winter coats, and distributed free bread and produce on Saturday and Monday mornings throughout the year. Over the summer, through the Togetherhood Committee, volunteers partnered with America’s Grow-a-Row to harvest more than 30,000 pounds of produce. The Silver Belles and Beaus singing group performed throughout the year, bringing cheer to many in the community. The Y Martial Arts program was strengthened by 19 volunteers who contributed 1,357 hours of service. Volunteer coaches and teen helpers led youth sports leagues, and the Special Olympics Aquatics team continues to grow under the guidance of volunteers. Many more opportunities exist for others to help make a difference, and the opportunities are as diverse as the volunteers.
National Volunteer Week is a great time to get involved. Here are some ways you can take an active role at the Y and in the community:
- Participate in the blood drive sponsored by the Togetherhood Committee. The blood drive will be held at the Deer Path Branch in Flemington on April 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. and at the Round Valley Branch in Annandale on April 22 from 8 to 11 a.m. Advance registration is required and is available online at the YMCA website, www.hcymca.org/events.
- Help with Y fundraising efforts to ensure those in need can access essential programs and services to reach their full potential. The YMCA's annual campaign is going on now.
- Get involved with an after school program to help youth learn new skills, build confidence and achieve their goals.
- Volunteer with a special event like the Color Me Healthy Fun Run on April 30. Sign up at www.tinyurl.com/2016color.
- Invite friends and neighbors to join you in contributing to a stronger community.