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THURSDAY, SEPT. 6 — Looking for volunteer opportunities? The city of Lansing, along with a host of other local nonprofit community organizations, has you covered.
Mayor Andy Schor launched a community-oriented initiative aptly labeled “Serve Lansing.” The program — first announced earlier this year during Schor’s State of the City speech — offers a one-stop-shop for regional advocacy groups to recruit local residents into a wide range of ongoing and upcoming public service projects.
“Serve Lansing is a blueprint for citizens and community partners to volunteer,” Schor said. “It’s having that single point of entry. It’s a plan to organize volunteer efforts and a commitment on behalf of the city to identify community issues and, along with our partners, to volunteer and coordinate to address them.”
Local residents today can visit micauw.galaxydigital.com to view a listing of various organizations that are looking for some additional help. The Capital Area United Way, for example, needs dozens of volunteers to prepare a community garden on Elizabeth Street. Others are looking to host families for exchange students.
The Cristo Rey Community Center needs volunteers for an ongoing clothing drive. Big Brothers Big Sisters is requesting additional school-based volunteers. The Tri-County Office on Aging is on the lookout for a workshop trainer to guide various community-based classes. The extensive list only continues to grow.
“Our goal is to assist in convening these community partners and aligning volunteer efforts around three initial focus areas that have been identified as needs by our citizens,” Schor added. “We can all serve our community and our fellow citizens in some capacity, so I encourage everyone here to get involved.”
The three initial focus areas of Serve Lansing are to increase citizen engagement, bolster community beautification efforts through removal of snow, grass, leaves and trash and to craft proactive response plans to emergency disaster situations — much like the widespread flooding that rattled the city earlier this year.
The American Red Cross, one of the partnering organizations for the initiative, plans to assemble teams of volunteers to help install complimentary smoke detectors at homes throughout the city. Do1Thing, another community partner, will focus its efforts on ongoing emergency response and preparedness planning.
“Change and positive impact happens when you work together to heighten the end result,” said Jeff Scheible, President and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing — another partner tied to the recently announced project. Other organizations include Michigan State University and the Americorps.
“We know Serve Lansing will grow and succeed, because our community is filled with extremely caring and giving people,” added Teresa Kmetz, President and CEO of Capital Area United Way. “We encourage everyone to get involved. We can make our neighborhoods safer, healthier, more resilient and connected with your help.”
Civic organizations can post volunteer opportunities after they register online. Individual volunteers can also craft a profile on the United Way’s “Get Connected” portal.
Visit micauw.galaxydigital.com for additional details, or join the conversation on social media by searching for the official “Serve Lansing” Facebook page.
— KYLE KAMINSKI