August 19, 2022
(ALBANY, NEW YORK) St. Catherine’s Center for Children, a leading Capital Region provider of human services, is resuming the community Volunteers Program after a pause due to an abundance of caution from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agency—which serves about 2,000 children, adults, and families annually—is encouraging potential volunteers to apply and previous volunteers to reapply.
“We had to suspend in-person activities to minimize risks to clients and to volunteers, “says Frank Pindiak, Executive Director of St. Catherine’s Center for Children. “Now we are excited to welcome our community volunteers back.”
While St. Catherine’s Center for Children’s essential work continued throughout the pandemic, pausing the volunteer program provided an opportunity to update, streamline, and rebrand the volunteer program with a new name, Compassionate Hearts.
The Compassionate Hearts program, which has two-levels of volunteerism will roll out in two-phases. Starting in August, Level 1 Volunteers will be able to on-board. Level 1 Volunteers perform valuable services for the Agency but they do not have contact with the children or clients themselves. Volunteer projects for Level 1 typically include gardening, maintenance, administrative projects or fundraising events. As Level 2 Volunteers work directly with the Agency’s children and clients, interviews and criminal background checks are required prior to volunteering. Level 2 Volunteers will be able to apply in August but Level 2 assignments will not start until later in the fall.
Volunteers are an important component of the work being done at St. Catherine’s. They build bridges back into the community, facilitate gaps between programs and services, and help form stable and safe relationships for the children and clients who rely on support from St. Catherine’s Center for Children.
“We appreciate all those who offer their time and talents to St. Catherine's Center for Children. It is imperative to our mission that our children and clients have safe, quality, and meaningful experiences with volunteers,” says Christopher Farrell, Vice President of the Board of Directors of St. Catherine’s and President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of St. Catherine’s, and who got his start with St. Catherine’s as a volunteer.
The benefits of volunteering on the individual can be enormous as well. Many human services and health organizations across the U.S. routinely cite a phenomenon called the ‘Happiness Effect’ when discussing the correlation between volunteerism and mental health and wellbeing.
As the Compassionate Hearts program rolls out, the safety of the children, families, and adults is and will remain the Agency’s highest priority. Additional information about volunteering for both Level 1 and Level 2 will be provided on the St. Catherine’s Center for Children website, and in the monthly volunteer’s newsletter.
About St. Catherine’s Center for Children
St. Catherine’s Center for Children was founded by the Daughters of Charity in Albany in 1886 as a home for sick orphans. Today, the agency is a haven for hope, offering a comprehensive range of human services for Capital Region children and families coping with issues of abuse, neglect, mental illness, homelessness, and trauma. In addition to offering extensive services to the homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless, St. Catherine’s offers residential services for children ages 5 to 13, a therapeutic foster care services, an elementary school for children with special educational needs, and community-based prevention services and programs designed to strengthen vulnerable families. Last year, St. Catherine’s services reached nearly 2,000 children and families in the Capital Region. For more information, visit www.st-cath.org.
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