with Disabilities Lend a Hand to Olympic Effort
adults from YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities
are lending their support to the effort to bring the 2012 Olympic
Games to New York City.
NYC 2012 contacted YAI in late December to see if their volunteers
with developmental and learning disabilities could work with 2012
volunteers to assemble and pack 1,740 snow globes, featuring the
Empire State Buildin and five colored rings. The snow globes are
being sent to donors, friends and supporters of NYC 2012.
our guys are already involved in volunteerism, this really helps
them connect with their community and play a big part in a major
event such as bringing the Olympics to the city,” said Gary Milchman,
Coordinator of YAI’s Manhattan Day Treatment Program. “Just like
anyone, when they feel good about their jobs, they feel good about
Marilyn Shaw, Director of Volunteer Services for NYC 2012, had
tried desperately to solicit volunteers for the project and found
a willing group when she contacted YAI. Nearly 50 young adults
from programs in Manhattan and Queens have been working side-by-side
with members of NYC 2012’s Volunteer Team.
2012 volunteers were so excited once they heard about working
with the young adults from YAI,” Ms. Shaw said. “This is such
a good way for us to give back to a community of volunteers who
we really don’t know that well.”
This type of volunteer effort has mutual benefits. The YAI volunteers
are doing productive work for NYC 2012 and are contributing to
society. At the same time, they are changing the public’s perception
about the abilities of people with disabilities. Meanwhile, NYC
2012 is getting enthusiastic, dedicated workers who are getting
the job done on a tight schedule.
like working with different people” said Luis, a YAI volunteer.
“I like putting the snow globes in the bubble packs.”
YAI’s participants have enjoyed being part of a team, according
to Karen Abbe, YAI’s senior supervisor at Manhattan Day. “We have
people of all different functioning levels working on different
parts of the job,” she added. “People with disabilities are seen
traditionally as benefiting from volunteer work. Our participants
like giving back to the community.”
And for the volunteers from NYC 2012, the experience has been
just as satisfying.
I was leaving I got three hugs from YAI volunteers,“ Ms. Shaw
said. “You won’t experience that volunteer relationship anywhere
else. I love working with them.”
For more information about giving YAI volunteers a chance to do
good work in your community, please contact Carolyn Horn, supervisor
of community outreach for YAI’s day services department, at 212-273-2165.#
Smoller, M.A., C.C.C., is director of Day Services for YAI/National
Institute for People with Disabilities.
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