Long Island, NY - January 21st, 2014 - The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, and creates solutions to social problems, moving society closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community. The Long Island Volunteer Center announces several events happening across the region that celebrate this vision spotlighting volunteers who are serving their fellow Long Islanders in need.
These events are taking place throughout the week to launch a year-long program dedicated to the importance of community service and the need for “highly-skilled” volunteers. Volunteering is necessary…from building a disaster preparedness kit to rebuilding a home. NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the creation of a state-wide collaborative disaster response and preparedness initiative which aims to recruit “highly-skilled” volunteers to assist in on-going Sandy recovery efforts and to develop a network of volunteers who will be able to respond in future disasters. Superstorm Sandy illustrated the importance of volunteering on Long Island. Volunteering has become an essential part of the rebuilding of lives of individuals and families that were affected most by the storm.
In addition, the State University of New York (SUNY) school system on Long Island has partnered with the New York State Office of National and Community Service and the Long Island Volunteer Center to lead the effort to honor Dr King.
On Saturday, January 18, Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College sponsored a kick-off event at Stony Brook. 200 volunteers (representing students, faculty, and community members) assembled 250 disaster preparedness kits for vulnerable populations served by EOC Suffolk and the Wyandanch Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center. In addition, nonprofit organizations including All Hands Volunteers, American Red Cross, Nechama, Pet Safe Coalition, Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Suffolk, and UMCOR staffed exhibits to provide attendees with additional opportunities to serve their community. Keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen Post (author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping and Why Good things Happen to Good People), presented statistics on the impact of volunteering and how individuals can give back in meaningful, purposeful ways.
Two additional kit building events will be held at SUNY campuses this week:
250 student volunteers will assemble disaster preparedness kits and earn a cupcake at Nassau Community College. The disaster preparedness kits will be donated to the LI Center for Independent Living, Helen Keller Foundation and the Long Beach Senior Magnolia Center. Representatives from these non-profits will be on hand to thank the volunteers. Dr. Kenneth Saunders, Acting President. Nassau Community College will be the keynote speaker.
300 student volunteers will assemble disaster preparedness kits at SUNY Old Westbury. The kits will be donated to The Inn and EOC Nassau. There will be a keynote speaker, Scott Reich, college council member and author of Power of Citizenship: Why John F. Kennedy Matters to a New Generation, who will be speaking about a lifetime of service. Students will be asked to pledge to volunteer once a month and identify a "buddy" to assist each other in reaching that goal. The kits will be delivered by volunteers to the organizations where they will have site tours to learn more about the non-profits.
Farmingdale State College has announced that faculty and students from the Construction Management Degree program will continue to work with firehouses on Long Island that were affected by Superstorm Sandy. This spring semester they will be working with 2 firehouses. They will also be kicking off the planning for a volunteer fair to be held during National Volunteer Week in April.
On Monday, January 20th, MLK Day of Service, the Following Events Occurred:
- Touro Law Center held a Day of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the law school's public service mission. It was designed for members of the public, in addition to disaster relief nonprofits who have clients with outstanding legal needs. Valuable information to Sandy-affected households about disaster resources to help promote the recovery, including ways to pursue ongoing flood insurance claims were provided. Clinic faculty and attorneys, together with students enrolled in the Disaster Law Clinic met with Sandy-affected households.
- Rebuilding Together Long Island built a wheelchair ramp for a Sandy homeowner.
- United Methodist Committee on Relief volunteers worked on a rebuild in Long Beach.
- Friends of Freeport volunteers painted a veteran’s home in Baldwin.
Coming Up Across the Region:
- Friends of Long Island are working on 5 rebuild projects in affected Sandy communities.
- National Grid: Approximately 20 highly skilled-based volunteers from National Grid will be working with disaster relief organizations, New York Says Thank You and Nechama, to assist with subflooring for a family in Suffolk County. Date: Friday, January 24th.
- Poughkeepsie Basketball Team: Our Lady of Lourdes High School Basketball team in Poughkeepsie, New York will be playing Manhasset High School on Saturday, January 25th on the Sunday the 26th they will be working with a disaster relief organization to help with rebuild recovery efforts at a home in Nassau County. Date: Sunday, January 26th.
- Nassau Bar Association: The Nassau Bar Association will be having free legal consultation clinics for Superstorm Sandy Recovery and Mortgage Foreclosures. Date/Time: Monday, January 27th from 3:00-6:00 pm.
About MLK Day of Service
Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only Federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off." It is a part of the President's national call-to-service initiative, and invites Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community”.
About Long Island Volunteer Center (LIVC)
The Long Island Volunteer Center is the resource center for volunteerism and community service initiatives throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Established in 1992, LIVC operates year round and its services are provided free of charge. The LIVC collaborates with corporations and community organizations to address the needs of Long Islanders. LIVC is an affiliate of the HandsOn Network since 2008, connecting agencies seeking volunteers with individuals and groups looking for ways to serve their communities. In 2011, the LIVC was designated by New York State as the Regional Volunteer Center for Long Island. A member agency of the Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, LIVC has taken the lead on volunteer engagement and coordination in support of Superstorm Sandy relief and recovery efforts. For further information, please access www.longislandvolunteercenter.org or contact 516-564-5482.