October 2018

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October 2018 Volunteer of the Month

“The zoo is like my Cheers, I walk in and everyone knows my name, smiles and says thank you,” this is how Carol Knee describes her volunteer shifts. Nominated by Tracy Benham of The Beardsley Zoo, we are thrilled to honor Carol as our October 2018 Volunteer of the Month and share her story.

A Registered Nurse for 49 years, Carol retired in 2015 and was looking for something to do with her free time. As a member of the zoo, she visited every Sunday morning to walk and take in the scenery; she calls it her quiet place. A patient of hers recommended that she volunteer there since she loved it so much.

She began in the Research Station, sitting and talking with people about the animals and the zoo, but she quickly found she needed something more physical; she had far too much energy to just sit and talk. An avid gardener, she decided to take her passion and skills to the greenhouse. She started slow, “it’s like going into someone else’s house, you have to start slow before you suggest changes,” Carol shared. She learned the routines from Jon, who manages the greenhouse. He taught her what needed to be done and she began to develop her routine. It was important to her that she keeps things looking nice in the front garden, she felt it was a reflection on her like it was her own home.

Financial Accounting Foundation Cleans Up Veteran's Park in Norwalk

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On Friday, October 5th, 26 volunteers from the Financial Accounting Foundation, Financial Accounting Standards Board, and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board gathered at Veteran's Park in Norwalk, CT for a park clean-up. The group split up into teams of 4 people equipped with gloves, garbages bags and trash pickers crafted by the husband of a team member.

The teams spent two hours collecting trash and improving the condition of the park. They had a great time and enjoyed being outside in the beautiful fall weather to help out their local community. The Parks Department was so grateful to the volunteers for helping to keep the park a clean place for people to enjoy!

  

                                 

Balancing School with Community Service

School is back in session and it's a busy time of year for young people. Students are busy with homework, projects, and preparing to complete the service hours required by their school. Volunteer agencies and schools are supportive of student volunteers and will be flexible to accommodate their schedules. The key for students in making this work is balance and creativity. We put together a list of a few things to get you started and hopefully help to set you up for a successful year of school and service. 

Credit for Volunteering 
Talk to your teachers and your guidance counselor to see if you can get credit for your volunteer work. This would be a great way to fulfill your service hours, get ahead with your credits and have the chance to spend some time volunteering for a cause that is important to you.

Make it an After School Activity
If your school requires extracurricular activities in the afternoon, see if volunteering can be your activity. Choose a local agency and invite your teacher or counselor to meet with your agency supervisor to create a plan that works for all of you.

Study in Your Downtime
Use your time wisely at your volunteer shift. Do you get a break? Take that time to have a quick snack and do a few minutes of studying so you can be ahead of your school work when you get home. This is will make your evening much less stressful.

Bring a Friend
If you have study companions for a group project, bring them with you. You will be able to study together in your spare time, and your agency will never turn away additional helping hands. Just make sure to check with your agency supervisor in advance.

Make a Difference in the Life of a Student Today!

Throughout October we will highlight volunteer opportunities for teens on our blog as we prepare to accept submissions for our Annual Teen Essay Contest. If you are a high school student in CT that likes to give back to your community, tell us in 500 words or less “Why volunteering and making an impact on your community is important to you?” Submissions will be accepted from November 1 - November 8, 2018. Official rules can be found here, we can’t wait to hear from you!

Our friends at Family & Children’s Agency are looking for individuals to make a difference in the lives of middle school students by volunteering for their ASPIRE after school program. You will join a dynamic team of committed volunteers who provide guidance and homework help for the program that located in Norwalk's old Benjamin Franklin School building. No experience is necessary and volunteers can choose to volunteer one afternoon a week, Monday through Friday from 3:30pm -5:30pm, for a minimum of three months (academic year preferred). This is a wonderful community service idea for high school and college students looking to work with children and be more involved in their community.

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