United Way campaign highlights volunteerism of SU community
With a theme of “Live United, Give United,” Syracuse University’s 2009 United Way campaign provides the opportunity to highlight some of the volunteerism of SU faculty, staff and students who are quietly making a large impact in their community by giving their time and service to local causes.
One example is Robert McClure, Chapple Family Professor of Citizenship and Democracy in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His efforts include volunteering weekly with the Samaritan Center in downtown Syracuse, which provides a hot, nutritious meal daily to those who are in need—without questions or pre-conditions. McClure has written about his experience with the Samaritan Center for SU’s United Way campaign website; the full feature can be found at http://www.unitedway-cny.org/supages/su1.html. The Samaritan Center is one of 102 local programs and services that benefit from the Central New York United Way.
Reflecting on his experience at the Samaritan Center, McClure notes, in part: “To see the Samaritan Center as simply a soup kitchen—ladling up food to ‘this one’ and ‘that one’ is to miss why I volunteer there every Tuesday afternoon, sometimes working in the kitchen, sometimes washing pots and pans …. A thin slice of the world goes through the Samaritan Center’s Green Door every day. We all seek—and find—the nourishment we need. The Samaritan Center is a loving community. ”
Other SU faculty and staff members and students will similarly have their volunteer stories highlighted as part of SU’s United Way campaign. These first-hand accounts are provided to serve as encouragement to others to volunteer and give in support of the United Way’s mission: to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another.
Also featured are two University College employees who describe their volunteer experiences with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that receives United Way funding to carry out its mission to advocate for abused and neglected children. CASA works collaboratively with legal, social service and treatment providers to promote safe, permanent homes for children where they can thrive.
Sandra Barrett, director of community programs at University College, and Kelly Jarvi, administrative assistant for recruitment and outreach at University College, both wanted to be advocates for children and contribute to the efforts that make children’s lives better. Says Barrett: “When I joined the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Advisory Council, I was familiar with the good works of CASA’s parent agency, Center for Community Alternatives, but I knew little about the impressive work CASA does in our community. I was greatly impressed when I learned that it is community volunteers appointed by Family Court judges that work with the children, their families and foster families, social workers and the court. Our local CASA maintains more than 40 active volunteers serving more than 120 children annually, but this represents less than a third of the children in need.”
Adds Jarvi: “I chose to become a CASA volunteer so that I can be an advocate for children who may have experienced abuse or neglect in their life. As a volunteer, I play a key role in making the child’s life better. I am able to visit with the child and make sure the family is using the resources that the judge has ordered for them. Being a CASA volunteer is not always an easy task, but it is definitely a rewarding one.”
Their feature can be found at: http://www.unitedway-cny.org/supages/su2.html.
And SU students contribute hundreds of hours of their time each year to volunteering, such as mentoring area youth and working in local agencies in need. One such group is the Whitman School of Management‘s newest M.B.A. students, who spent their first day of school volunteering at the Rescue Mission, a United Way-funded agency. The Rescue Mission annually serves more than 217,000 meals to the hungry and provides vocational training to more than 580 men and women. The feature on this group of student volunteers can be found at http://www.unitedway-cny.org/supages/su3.html.
SU’s “Live United, Give United” campaign continues through the fall, and pledge cards have been distributed to employees. The e-pledge site can be found at http://www.unitedway-cny.org/pledgenow.html. Leading SU’s campaign efforts this year are Deborah J. Monahan, professor of social work in the College of Human Ecology, and Patricia Stith, assistant provost for equity/inclusion in academic affairs. Monahan and Stith serve as SU’s campaign chair and vice chair, respectively.
For more information on the “Live United, Give United” campaign, contact Peg Northrup in the Office of Special Events at 443-5303.