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Building Futures Through Volunteering

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Hands Across Buffalo

This article was previously featured in the June 2014 issue of the Cazenovia Compass and is about how our agency is building futures through volunteering:

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – M. Gandhi                                                                                           

While Cazenovia Recovery Systems’ program participants and staff might not have happened upon that quotation, many are living its wisdom by engaging in community volunteer work.

In May, dozens of our agency’s residents, family members, supporters, and staff were part of Hands Across Buffalo, which raised awareness about poverty in the Buffalo area. Thousands of Western New Yorkers held hands in an impressive line spanning Ferry Street – from East Ferry and Bailey Avenue to West Ferry and Niagara Street.

Jennifer Hatton, Housing Programs Director, and Cierra Smalls, the agency’s Job Developer, planned Cazenovia Recovery’s participation.

Deb Watkins, Housing Programs Senior Vocational Specialist, reports that Supported Housing Programs residents volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Buffalo Food Pantry. One individual is a group facilitator at a rehabilitation program and another is an apartment maintenance assistant.

At Ivy House, a gentleman is helping out at the Salvation Army and another volunteers in the kitchen at Buffalo City Mission.  According to Paul Shelton, Site Supervisor, one more person is waiting to hear from the Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Shelter, where he wishes to donate his services.

Food Bank Gardens, part of the Food Bank of WNY, drew the interest of Supportive Living staff, who volunteered with their families on May 24. Supportive Living Program Director Todd Winship said that he is looking to have clients get involved the next time. Maintained solely by volunteer efforts, the garden’s vegetables and fruit go to food pantries.

Since Case Manager Cynthia Taylor joined the Turning Point House (TPH) staff in February, she has been arranging volunteer opportunities. At the Ten Lives Cat Shelter in Hamburg, residents organized the warehouse and delivered cat food and litter.

Liberty Hall Vegetable Garden

Liberty Hall Vegetable Garden

At the Happy Trails Horse Rescue Farm in Eden, TPH residents fed and watered horses and cleaned stalls. Last month, they signed up to help out at the MS Walk at Buffalo’s Canalside. On the June calendar is volunteering at the Food Bank of WNY.

Military veterans who reside at Liberty Hall on the VA Medical Center grounds in Batavia received a flat of vegetable plants from Harrington’s Greenhouse after Residence Monitor Gene Lonnen told the Harrington family of the residents’ wish to plant a garden. Gene is helping, too – he donated the use of his rototiller.

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