Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Leaders encouraging community to volunteer

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Leaders encouraging community to volunteer
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If you are looking for a way to spend your free time, Broome County leaders and community organizations have a suggestion. They'd like to see more people volunteer their time. Melissa Kakareka has more on the initiative.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- There's a number of ways that people in Broome County can give back to their community and many people already do just that. Still, there is always a need for more help.

Service to mankind. That's the mission of the Binghamton Sertoma Club. Its members meet weekly at the Binghamton Club and seek to support speech and hearing programs through fundraisers and activities. But finding members isn't always easy.

"Trying to get adults that will donate the time and become a member of our organization is difficult because it’s truly a commitment," said Ron Goodwin, Binghamton Sertoma Club Board of Directors Member.

County Executive Debbie Preston and leaders from a number of local service organizations are trying to get more people involved in service clubs as well other charities and non-profit organizations.

"In this time of year, it may be difficult to give financially but time is our most valuable commodity and it is desperately needed," Preston said.

There are roughly 200,000 people in Broome County and it is estimated that about 50,000 of those people already volunteer in some way. Service groups are encouraging everyone to find a cause that they are passionate about.

"We have 31 partner agencies that we fund programs at and every single one of those agencies rely on volunteers to help them do the work. And its other things as Debbie mentioned, people who volunteer to teach Sunday school at their church or volunteer for youth sports or who just want to go cleanup the highway with adopt a highway program, volunteerism takes many forms," said Alan Hertel, United Way of Broome County Executive Director.

And while community service does tend to rise during the holiday season, leaders are hoping to help local charities and organizations fill their need for help year round.

"Everyone is in the giving spirit and helping spirit this time of year, but we need to maintain that the whole year."

Officials say the not-for profit organizations also account for 10 to12 percent of the local economy, so they say by giving time you are helping the economy as well as people and organizations in need. They say whether it’s three hours or 50 hours, any amount of time that someone donates to the Broome County community is time well spent.

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