More than 300 Volunteers from 11 Organizations Lend a Hand in December
January 6, 2012 - By Astrid Corvin-Brittin
Bringing joy to clients and enhancing the quality of services at the Settlement's many programs, more than 300 volunteers from 11 different corporations and organizations gave back to Henry Street this holiday season. Read more about volunteer involvement in our programs below.
Bringing Joy to Youth and Seniors: AXA Equitable, Christopher Radko, Fir Tree Partners, Hill + Knowlton Strategies and Macy’s Make the Holidays Fun
From holiday-themed arts-and-crafts projects to visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, special events to help Henry Street's clients celebrate the holidays defined this winter's volunteer season.
For volunteer Katherine Harlow and her coworkers from AXA Equitable, making holiday ornaments with the children from Day Care was a chance to do something special with some of Henry Street's youngest clients. It also provided the children with new audiences with whom to share and enhance the education they receive at the Center. Said Katherine: "We had a great time with the children, and we are glad we were able to help!"
Not every child gets to enjoy the excitement of decorating a Christmas tree, but thanks to holiday décor company Christopher Radko, some of Henry Street’s most deserving young clients got to experience Christmas tree decorating in style. Each armed with their own overflowing box of Radko donated glass ornaments, 20 children in the Boys & Girls Republic after-school program crowded around a six-and-a-half-foot tree to bring their own decorating flair to the Center's lobby.
After the decorating whirlwind, the children — wearing Santa hats given to them by the company— enjoyed one last surprise when they each were gifted their very own Radko snowman ornaments to take home.
"The event had special meaning for me," said Kathy Gupta, Henry Street’s Chief Development Officer. "I have Christopher Radko ornaments on my tree, and to have a company of this caliber find us and provide us with such a special treat for our clients is truly wonderful."
Fir Tree Partners
Bringing holiday activities to children in Henry Street’s after-school program and seniors, volunteers from Fir Tree Partners spread joy throughout the agency.
Decorating Good Companions Senior Center with eco-friendly and all-inclusive holiday decorations, Fir Tree Partners volunteers made the Center sparkle and shine. There were sounds of delight as the seniors settled into their dinners and marveled at the makeover the volunteers had given the dining rooms.
Making their own holiday magic, volunteers worked with seniors to create holiday ornaments and picture frames. "The seniors really had a blast doing arts projects with the volunteers, "said Center Director Elivra Yanes. :It was great for them to do something new and get quality time with the volunteers."
The seniors were not alone in having fun. Said one volunteer: "I had a wonderful time getting to know some of the seniors here. They are clearly better off because of the efforts of Henry Street Settlement."
Only a few blocks away, other Fir Tree Partners volunteers worked with first-, fourth- and fifth-graders from the After-School program decorating and making holiday ornaments. Working with the children volunteers Clara Godbey commented, “I enjoyed [my] time with the children, and [Henry Street] was charming and beautiful.”
Hill + Knowlton Strategies
Returning to Henry Street this holiday season, long-term volunteer partner Hill + Knowlton Strategies brought goodie bags full of fun for the children of Day Care. With large plush stuffed animals, sweet treats and an exciting sticker art project, the volunteers capped off the season with the special presents and activities they put together for the Day Care clients.
Bringing holiday fun to the children at Day Care, the Macy’s volunteers helped celebrate the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Reading the book The Turkey Ball in celebration of Thanksgiving, volunteers also provided valuable social interactions for the children. Playing with the tots, and helping teach them things like shapes, colors and animals, one volunteer even used the Macy’s star on his volunteer t-shirt as a learning tool.
For the children and volunteers alike it was a wonderful experience. Said one volunteer: “The kids were great to work with!”
The fun did not stop in November. Macy’s volunteers returned again in December, but this time to bring Santa, Mrs. Claus and holiday activities and treats to the Center. The children squealed with delight as Santa and Mrs. Claus made their rounds, handing out gifts and asking the children what they wanted for Christmas.
As part of their ongoing commitment to Henry Street, many of the Macy’s volunteers return as often as possible to give back. "I enjoy Henry Street more and more each time I come," commented one volunteer. "[There is a] great sense of community."
With Care: Credit Suisse Spreads Holiday Joy at Henry Street Settlement
Credit Suisse, a long-time Henry Street supporter and partner, kicked off a month of volunteering surrounding the winter holidays with two volunteer events in November and four in December. Their incredible contributions included hosting an Alumni Night for now-employed clients of Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center and the Home for the Holidays celebration at Urban Family Center, bringing holiday festivities to residents of the transitional housing center.
Working with some of Henry Street’s youngest clients, Credit Suisse volunteers helped the children of Day Care make holiday cards. Amid the glitter and paint, the volunteers and children were able to share in some fun as well as some learning. "I had a very nice time today," said one volunteer. "I learned so much from the little girl I was working with. We made cards and she read me books and taught me about bugs."
Helping prepare and serve dinner at Henry Street’s Good Companions Senior Center (GCSC), Credit Suisse volunteers gave back twice to another spirited group: the diverse seniors who take advantage of the Center’s nutritious lunch and dinner program.
Serving up delicious dinners and diligently cleaning up after the evening rush, the Credit Suisse volunteers helped foster an environment where Henry Street seniors can be healthy and happy.
Working hard to not only give back to Henry Street clients but also to youth in need of positive role models, Credit Suisse volunteers who participate as “Bigs” through Big Brother Big Sister, brought their “Littles” to help out this holiday season. Wrapping presents for seniors of GCSC, Credit Suisse volunteers also wrapped presents for the young clients of Henry Street’s Community Consultation Center whose lives have been affected by a family member living with HIV/AIDS.
Said Project Director of HIV Services Lela Charney: “The Credit Suisse volunteers were amazing, and we were most grateful that they could give much needed support!”
Giving Back to Seniors: Allen & Overy, American Express, MAC AIDS Fund and Morgan Stanley Pitch In
Helping to prepare and serve hundreds of meals to the elderly clients, some of Henry Street’s most dedicated corporate partners helped swiftly serve nutritious meals to the seniors throughout the season.
Allen & Overy
Giving back twice in December, Allen & Overy volunteers participated in the lunch and dinner service at GCSC. A new partner, Allen & Overy has been active not only at the Senior Center, but has also participated in projects to help enhance services for the youth at Henry Street’s Boys & Girls Republic and made a positive impact on women in Henry Street’s Third Street Women’s Residence.
Returning Allen & Overy volunteer Anne Brown, who most recently leant a hand at the Henry Street Senior Center, said, “Your organization is doing a fantastic job with the community, and the appreciation shows in the eyes of the attending seniors.”
Reorganizing the seniors lounge with enthusiasm and skill, serving meals and wrapping presents for Henry Street’s clients, the volunteers from American Express accomplished their tasks well and with incredible care. Said volunteer Sonya D. Basset: “I enjoyed helping and serving the elderly. Seeing their smiles while serving them food was fulfilling. Thank you!”
MAC AIDS Fund
Since 2006, Henry Street has received generous support from MAC AIDS Fund, which helps Henry Street develop and provide innovative programming to minority high-risk youth through peer-education, street outreach, workshops and referrals to HIV testing. As a part of their ongoing commitment to Henry Street, and their mission to support innovative services for people affected by HIV/AIDS, two dynamic groups of MAC Cosmetics volunteers helped seniors in honor of World AIDS Day.
Giving back to the seniors was a rewarding experience for the groups. It was particularly significant for the MAC volunteers, many of whom work to promote and sell the very products that provide the funding for HIV programming. Said Executive Director David Garza: "We are grateful for their outstanding commitment to Henry Street, people affected by HIV/AIDS and their dedication to volunteering to serve our community.”
Sending volunteers year-round to the Senior Center, Morgan Stanley sent two groups of volunteers this December to help Henry Street Settlement seniors enjoy prompt meal service and the joy of fresh and friendly faces.
Ernst & Young: Helping Job Seekers
Clients of Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center received some expert help this season thanks to volunteers from Ernst & Young. Participating in a resume and mock interview workshop, the Ernst & Young volunteers helped the Center’s job seekers develop essential skills they need to find a job.