Updated: Dec 5, 2022
By: Stephen Bogdan, St. Catherine's Administrative Support Volunteer
With busy lives it can be hard to find time to volunteer, and I certainly feel the pinch. I am employed full-time at a local supermarket chain and, like everyone, have the same mundane tasks of cleaning my apartment, paying bills, and running errands. After finishing them, however, I realized I was tired of sitting around doing nothing and overthinking during my limited “downtime.” I know we have all felt that way and even more so since COVID has overtaken our lives. I began searching the internet and social media for agencies in the area where I could volunteer and found the right match at St. Catherine’s Center for Children.
I have a weekday off from work each Friday, which allows me to spend part of my afternoon volunteering at St. Catherine’s Center for Children. I work with the Marketing and Communications team and the St. Catherine's Foundation development staff on their current projects. My tasks include data entry, writing, and researching the programs and services offered by St. Catherine’s. I’ve discovered that no matter what the task is, volunteering offers vital help to people in need, helps support worthwhile causes, and raises awareness about important issues in the community. There’s an added bonus too; the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer.
With that let me say, volunteering allows you to connect to your community to make it a better place. Whether you chose to help others through direct practice volunteer work (Level 2) or assist in an administrative department (Level 1) like me, it can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. It can also be fun. One of the tasks my department has given me has been to distribute flyers about our fundraising events on community bulletin boards along my lifepath. I usually go out after dinner, working to find businesses and organizations that will display them. While I’m out raising awareness about St. Catherine’s, I usually find time to enjoy the sunset and have a decaffeinated ice-coffee!
Donating your time and finding the right place to volunteer is not easy as we continue to navigate through the challenges COVID has brought to people of all ages. And believe me, I’m feeling a lot of COVID fatigue, but I’ve found that volunteering safely has improved my physical and mental health. During the pandemic St. Catherine’s volunteer program was on pause out of an abundance of caution to both the children and volunteers. Now, I am one of St. Catherine’s first new volunteers to start in nearly two years and will be helping with the Compassionate Hearts relaunch this summer. My hope is that you will soon find out for yourself that the benefits of volunteering can be enormous!
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 offers a comprehensive range of human services to children, families, and adults who have experienced abuse, trauma, or neglect. St. Catherine’s provides residential care and special needs education for children ages 5 to 13, therapeutic foster and kinship care, homeless services at the Marillac Family Shelter and Michael’s House, Pathways to Health, and community-based prevention services, among others. St. Catherine’s Center for Children is one of the oldest and most comprehensive human service providers in the Capital District. To learn more. visit www.st-cath.org.
About Stephen Bogdan
Stephen Bogdan is local to the Capital District and a resident of Clifton Park. Stephen begin volunteering with St. Catherine's Center for Children in early May 2022. He brings a wealth of administrative and writing experience, and provides a unique perspective, which quickly established him as a valuable asset to the Marketing & Communications and the Foundation of St. Catherine's Center for Children teams. Stephen enjoys working with underserved populations, non-for-profits, and human services providers, and is one of a growing number of St. Catherine's exceptional volunteers.
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