PLATTSBURGH — Opportunity will be knocking at the collective door of Clinton County residents when the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program holds a Volunteer Fair to connect charitable agencies and volunteers.
From 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Champlain Centre Mall near Gander Mountain, the RSVP staff, nonprofit groups and church organizations will be ready to unite need with kindness.
“There has been a very negative report out that New York state has a low standing in the nation at volunteering,” said Kate Gardner, Clinton County RSVP director. “We, in Clinton County, do not believe that is true, and we are out to prove it. There are many organizations and many volunteers here, and we’re sure of that.”
Gardner said the Volunteer Fair is all about joining prospective volunteers with agencies and churches that need the helping hand that only volunteers can give. She believes the best forum to get questions answered is to have representatives on hand, giving direct answers. Agencies will include Office for the Aging, Meadowbrook Healthcare, Boy Scouts and Joint Council for Economic Opportunity, among others. Gardner hopes to have up to 20 organizations participate.
“Some of the agencies require volunteers to take some training, and others will just sign them up,” Gardner said. “Many people don’t know that there are benefits to volunteering, besides the satisfaction of helping others, like luncheons to say ‘Thanks for volunteering.’”
While the RSVP guidelines state that they place volunteers over 55 years of age, Gardner hopes to see college and high-school students show up, too. She pointed out that many school components include community involvement for the students. These same students carry a sense of satisfaction that grows with them into adulthood, many coming back year after year filling community needs.
“For instance, volunteers of all ages are needed to help with the upcoming Battle of Plattsburgh,” Gardner said. “It takes 500 volunteers to run an event that large.”