Volunteer Fair



      Helping others is part of the fabric of Franklin County life. 400 people pitched in at Floodstock, the relief concert for Montgomery flood victims. 120 people volunteered 13,000 hours at Northwestern Medical Center last year. Two people drove a friend with MS to a show last week.
      More than 20 Franklin County organizations showcased local activities like these in their booths at the Volunteer Recruitment Fair Wednesday, September 19, in the Franklin County Senior Center and over 100 people attended.
      Think of it as a job fair with a paycheck that's better than money.
      "We all have talents we can share with others," said Mary Firkey of the Foster Grandparent Program. "Sometimes the best thing to share is a little bit of time."
      Local organizations need volunteers from age 12 to 112. These groups offer training, camaraderie, sharing, excitement, and just a little noise.
      The Abuse & Rape Crisis Program provides advocacy and counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, support groups and 24 hour crisis services. Many of the counselors are well trained volunteers.
      The All Arts Council is an all-volunteer local arts agency that showcases and develops local artists and brings all forms of the arts to audiences in Northwestern Vermont. Volunteers dream up everything from avant garde dance programs to zany comedies. Applause and laughter are nice noise.
      C.I.D.E.R. is a human services agency in the Islands that coordinates volunteers for transportation, light house work, yard work, adult day programs, and more.
      "The Fair is a great way to learn where to share your talents here in Franklin County," said NMC volunteer coordinator Dollie MacNeil.
      The Citizens Advocacy Program has one to one relationships between people with disabilities and citizens in the community. This program matches people with special needs with volunteers who can help them.
      The Family Center of Franklin County operates the Family, Infant & Toddler Project, several child care resources, parent education, Reach Up, and the Healthy Babies program.
      The Franklin County Caring Community Project builds multigenerational activities for children and teens after school, on weekends and during school vacations. Each program is community-based to help local kids lead healthy lives and make positive choices about their activities and associates. There are Community Cares committees in Bakersfield, Berkshire, Fairfield, Franklin, Highgate, Montgomery, Richford, St. Albans Town, St. Albans City, Sheldon, and Swanton.
      "Listen and laugh, hold hands and help," said Lori Wright of Franklin County Home Health.
      Franklin County Home Health Hospice provides services for the terminally ill, including a grief and recovery support group. The team has a core of interdisciplinary team of professionals and well trained volunteers who provide medical, psychological, and spiritual support.
      The Franklin County Humane Society is an animal shelter that offers adoptions, humane investigations, surrenders, education programs, and even rental of pet carriers. They need people whose friends have hairy legs.
      In addition to hosting this fair, the Franklin County Senior Center provides Meals on Wheels five days a week, lunches served daily at various locations, restaurant programs and potluck dinners. Their "Lifeline" program helps elders remain at home. Local seniors have a "School to Work" relationship with St. Albans City Elementary. They offer health related services and activities such as card parties, bingo, line dancing, art classes, crafts, day trips, and music.
      The Northwestern Medical Center is a vibrant 70-bed hospital in St Albans. With a staff of 450 professionals and 120 volunteers, NMC provides the warm personal care of a community hospital with comprehensive primary care services for the people of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. There were about 20,000 Emergency Room visits and 2,200 admissions last year.
      Every great idea starts with a dream.
      Community-based Success by Six has home visits, parent-child playgroups, kindergarten transition, story times, family celebrations, and parent education in all 15 Franklin County communities.
      The St. Albans Area Chamber of Commerce and radio WWSR/WLFE help to sponsor local events such as Bay Day, Civil War Days, and Christmas in the Park to advance the general welfare of the St. Albans area so that Franklin and Grand Isle Counties prosper.
      The Franklin-Grand Isle United Way relies on volunteers to raise and distribute funds to the local agencies and organizations that provide adoption, alcohol and drug abuse, day care, counseling, disability, education, employment, family, food, health, hospice, housing, literacy, recreation, and transportation for all age groups.
      The Volunteer Fair is sponsored by the Volunteer Coordinators Network, Wednesday, September 19, 2001, from 1-6 p.m. at the Senior Center, 73 Messenger Street, in St. Albans, Vermont. The fun, the food, and the parking are all free. The Volunteer Coordinators Network is an informal consortium of Franklin and Grand Isle groups who rely on volunteers for community projects. Call or email Lori Wright (802-527-7531) for more info.
      Watch this space for the next edition!


All Arts Council of Franklin County

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