Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Volunteer Narrative - The Simple Things

“The Simple Things”
By Corry DeMarco, Ventures Member

Most of us complain that our hectic schedules don’t allow us time to enjoy the simple things in life. Stuck on multitasking?

At Spectrum for Living* you can slow down and enjoy the simple things, while also helping your fellow man. A visit to the Maywood group home is a telling example.

When you enter the comfortable home you immediately feel at ease; and when you see the friendly, expectant faces of the residents, you can’t help but grin back!

You’ll feel yourself draw in a deep, relaxing breath for the first time all day. Then its time to bring out the board games, puzzles, drawing paper… even playdoh! You’ll find that the activities that used to bring us so much joy years ago still do the trick! As you concentrate on a puzzle with the residents you’ll feel the stress from your workday slowly recede to the background.

When is the last time you allowed yourself the time to enjoy a good laugh? Typically at work we may allow ourselves a brief half-smile before moving on with business. But the open, playful personalities of the residents always set the stage for sharing a good laugh. These events are also a good opportunity to meet other volunteers you may not have had the opportunity to get to know.

So my advice for handling that stressful, crazy workday? Head right over to a Spectrum event… your tense shoulders (and the Spectrum residents,) will thank you for it!

* Spectrum for Living is a nonprofit organization that provides services and operates group homes for adults with developmental disabilities.

For more information on Volunter Ventures and other programs like this one please call Debbie Emery at 201-489-9454, ext. 118.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Derby Day will be a Winner with Bill Ervolino and Fabulous Foods

Get your Derby on! The Volunteer Center's fantastic, fun and fabulous Derby Day party is all set for May 3rd at a private garden in Alpine. We are pleased to announce that Record columnist Bill Ervolino (left) has once again signed on to be the auctioneer for the exciting live auction, featuring select items, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, travel opportunities and more.

Fabulous Foods Boutique Caterers (above, right) of Moonachie is creating southern delicacies featuring old and new traditions of Kentucky Derby cuisine - including favorites like sliders with Henry Bain sauce, Kentucky hot browns, pecan tassies, and of course, the perfect Mint Julep. Fabulous Foods' trademark cutting-edge cuisine uses fresh, organic ingredients to create food as beautiful as it is delicious.

Join us for this wonderful event -- great music, dancing, games, prizes, silent and live auctions and, of course, the Kentucky Derby will make it a day to remember!!

Tickets are $100 per person and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please call 201-489-9454, ext. 125. See you at the Derby!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Volunteer Center Updates!

Bergen Leads News
We’ve officially launched the Bergen LEADS website – Check out this dynamic new community leadership program – find an information session near you where you can talk to staff and learn more! Applications are due April 18.

Celebrate Volunteers!
Celebrate Volunteers, a community-wide recognition event of the many ways volunteers enhance our community will take place on Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30p. Come and help celebrate those who make a difference in our community. Brenda Blackmon, popular news anchor with My(NY will be our master of ceremonies, and entertainment will be provided by the Hackensack High School Music Program under the direction of John Zisa. Tickets are $10.

For tickets ($10 each) please visit or call Melissa Leibe at 201-489-9454, ext. 127.

Youth Volunteerism
Planning has started for half-day conference on the Nuts and Bolts of Service Learning. The Volunteer Center welcomes middle/high school teachers and faculty advisors to learn about service learning and youth volunteer opportunities in Bergen County. Linda Rivera, Service Learning Advisor, from the NJ State Department of Education will discuss state initiatives and services for schools developing or implementing service learning courses.

For more information on this event or to join the mailing list please contact Debbie Emery at 201-489-9454, ext. 118.