Throughout the pandemic, and every day before, Westchester’s nonprofits have steadfastly offered innovative solutions to serious social problems, serving as a force to advance more just, healthy and economically vibrant communities for all people. Our work continues.
MOBILIZING VOLUNTEER POWER
With an unprecedented pandemic upon us, the need for vetted and trained volunteers to support the provision of nonprofit essential and other critical services was enormous. Volunteer New York! met the challenge!
VIRTUAL VOLUNTEER CENTER (VVC)
On March 18 and in coordination with nonprofit, state, and disaster recovery leaders Volunteer New York! launched the Virtual Volunteer Center (VVC) as a central hub for listing all COVID-19 response and recovery volunteer opportunities in our region. These efforts resulted in a 151% increase in volunteers who took critical action from March to July of 2020 when compared to the same period from the previous year.
ADAPTING TO COMMUNITY NEEDS
Volunteer New York! innovatively adapted services to help meet community need. This was seen in how they adapted their annual 9/11: Serve + Remember community-wide action day to focus on using people-power to address food insecurity to their re-envisioning of their RISE program that serves young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Intergenerational Call Buddy Program connected teens with isolated seniors, which tapped into both their youth engagement efforts as well as the over 850 members of the RSVP of Westchester program (for adults 55+). Since turning this opportunity on, the demand for volunteer participation exceeded expectations - with many teens and seniors maintaining friendly contact beyond any requirements set. Many are still in contact today.
As camps were announcing closures and limited offerings, Volunteer New York! quickly established Camp Vollo, a free and virtual camp, which met the need for parents and youth to find meaningful and safe opportunities this past summer. Over 200 campers signed up for this new offering within the first week of camp registration.
After 220 days of continuous operation, the VVC was recently deactivated and all ongoing volunteer opportunities related to supporting COVID-19 relief in our area have been moved to a new dedicated resource page (volunteernewyork.org/covid). Volunteer New York! is continuously monitoring the situation and is prepared to reactivate the VVC if it is needed again to support disaster response and recovery.
Volunteer New York! inspires, mobilizes, and equips individuals, groups, and organizations to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits, and strengthen the quality of life in our community.
To learn more about Volunteer New York! and discuss adding opportunities to support your agency on their website or further ways to collaborate together - reach out at volunteernewyork.org/contact.