Everyone can be great, because anyone can serve," Martin Luther King, Jr. once explained. And the Volunteer Center of United Way is encouraging individuals and families to pay tribute to Dr. King on the MLK Day of Service on Saturday, January 18, by giving back and making an impact in our local communities. The Volunteer Center's fourth annual MLK Day of Service features some 30 service projects throughout Westchester, Rockland, Ulster and Orange counties. In Rockland, volunteer opportunities include helping out at the Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program and Worldwide Community First Responder, both in Spring Valley.
"We are encouraging people to 'Make it a day on, not a day off' and to donate their time to help solve community problems while also honoring the legacy of Dr. King," said Alisa H. Kesten, executive director of The Volunteer Center. "The wide range of projects we sponsor with regional nonprofits address pressing issues such as poverty, hunger, homelessness and inequality. This is truly a wonderful opportunity for families to serve together and people of all ages and walks of life to join neighbors and local leaders to help make a difference in their own backyards."
Among the many activities planned for the MLK Day of Service are the "I Have a Dream" craft projects to be created at the Carver Center in Port Chester, the Yonkers Public Library, and The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. in Tarrytown. Other service initiatives include canned food drives at HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle and the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, restoring a warehouse in Kingston with the Ulster County Habitat for Humanity, and assisting with the Health & Fitness Fun Day at the YWCA of Yonkers. For those who would like to participate before the actual event, The Volunteer Center, located in Tarrytown, is collecting toiletries and canned food for care kits created for those in need.
Corporations are joining in as well, with Con Edison helping to sort and package clothing at Family Services of Westchester's The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester. School participation includes students at Mamaroneck High School making "shelter welcome bags" for survivors of domestic violence at My Sisters' Place in White Plains.
Detailed information is available at http://www.volunteer-center.org/mlk2014 and early registration is encouraged. Family friendly projects are listed at http://www.volunteer-center.org/familymlk2014. Times and dates are posted on the Web site.
Participating nonprofits include: American Red Cross of the Mid-Hudson Valley in Kingston, Carver Center in Port Chester, Clay Art Center in Port Chester, FAMILY of Woodstock in Kingston, Family Services of Westchester’s The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester, Family Services of Westchester's My Second Home in Mount Kisco, Furniture Sharehouse in White Plains, Groundwork Hudson Valley in Yonkers, Habitat Newburgh, HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle, The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. in Tarrytown, Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, Mount Vernon Animal Shelter, My Sisters' Place in White Plains, Pass It On Kid's Closet of Westchester Jewish Community Services in White Plains, Repair Café in New Paltz, Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program in Spring Valley, Rye Nature Center, Somers Manor, Ulster County Habitat for Humanity in Kingston, UlsterCorps in Stone Ridge, United Way of Westchester and Putnam's 2-1-1 in White Plains, White Plains YMCA, White Plains YWCA, YWCA of Yonkers, White Plains Youth Bureau, Worldwide Community First Responder in Spring Valley, and the Yonkers Public Library.
The Volunteer Center’s annual community-wide call to action for the MLK Day of Service is made possible thanks to the generosity of Westchester County, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Corporate Champions: New York Life Insurance Company, MasterCard, TD Charitable Foundation, PepsiCo, IBM, Bunge, Con Edison, Mack-Cali, Robison Oil Company, Scent2Market, The Dannon Company, M&T Bank, Regeneron, The Rollins Agency, Reader's Digest, Chubb, Erie Insurance Company, O’Connor Davies LLP, and RPW Group.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is the federal agency that leads the annual MLK Day of Service, working with the King Center in Atlanta and thousands of nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, and schools and businesses nationwide. These projects include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, reading to children, promoting nonviolence, and more.
The MLK Day of Service shines a spotlight on service as a powerful force to bridge economic and social divides – today and throughout the year. National Days of Service provide each of us with an opportunity to join neighbors and local leaders to tackle community challenges and strengthen the nation.
About The Volunteer Center of United Way:
Awarded the Top-Rated Nonprofit designation two years in a row, The Volunteer Center’s core mission is to inspire, mobilize, and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits and strengthen the quality of life in our community. The Volunteer Center is a one-stop resource devoted to increasing volunteerism in Westchester and our surrounding communities. We encourage adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom and businesses to support our community. Through organized volunteer projects, as well as by connecting individuals to nonprofit organizations, The Volunteer Center helps people take action to strengthen the quality of life in their community. Over 250,500 hours of service were devoted last year to 500 nonprofits at a value of over $8.2 million. In September 2011, The Volunteer Center was designated one of ten Regional Volunteer Centers in the State of New York, covering the Mid-Hudson Valley. For more information, visit www.volunteer-center.org.