Hundreds of Volunteers Help Friends of Karen to Achieve Its Mission
April is National Volunteer Month, a time to celebrate the people who freely give their time, energy and expertise to solve problems and improve lives. Last year, volunteers dedicated more than 3,800 hours to enable Friends of Karen, a small children's charity, to help families caring for a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness.
“Our volunteers come in all shapes and sizes,” says Denise Tredwell, the volunteer coordinator at Friends of Karen, a local charity that provides vital, practical and comprehensive support, at no cost, to families caring for a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness. “Every volunteer helps make the world a better place.”
April is National Volunteer Month, a time to celebrate the thousands of people in our neighborhoods who freely give their time, energy and expertise to solve problems and improve lives in their communities.
Stop by Friends of Karen almost any day and you’ll see volunteers in action: Girl Scouts stacking games and toys for birthday gifts to sick children or their siblings; corporate employees organizing a giant mailing; retirees wrapping back-to-school packages; or students from a local high school or house of worship dropping off armloads of handmade “birthday in a bag” or spa bags. One volunteer, Jane Hannon, a retired nurse, is fondly known as “Our Bear Lady” because she makes cuddly one-of-a-kind teddy bears for Friends of Karen children. Last year, volunteers dedicated more than 3,800 hours to helping Friends of Karen achieve its mission.
Lynne Civita spent 39 years in the finance industry before offering her skills to Friends of Karen. “Volunteering gives you a purpose and a good feeling of accomplishment,” she says. “All that stuff about giving back? You get out of it what you give into it.”
Richard and Pauline Klein began volunteering at Friends of Karen in 1988 when they read about its holiday gifts for children program. “We decided to ‘adopt’ a Friends of Karen family that year instead of giving gifts to everyone, and our involvement grew from there,” Pauline says. “Every time you’re there, you realize how fortunate you are to be able to help them – and to not need the help they give.”
Tommy Hunt, bartender at The Blazer Pub, runs an auction on St. Patrick’s Day. Since 1998 the proceeds have been donated to Friends of Karen. “I like to keep it local,” Tommy says. “Because I can make a difference, I want people to know they can make a difference, too.”
Friends of Karen Executive Director Judith Factor agrees. “Volunteers are the backbone of everything Friends of Karen does,” she says. “Their commitment and compassion make what we do possible.”
Friends of Karen serves all qualified families without regard to race, religion, or national origin. For more information or if you would like to volunteer for a project, visit www.FriendsOfKaren.org or call 914-617-4052.