Nicole Forester + Robert Newman, Find Your Light / Volunteer
This is a great time of year to think about volunteering. Any tips for those of us who would like to give time, but don't know where to start?
When I first moved to NYC, a good friend told me about New York Cares, which is a Points of Light & Hands On Network New York City affiliate. I looked them up online and found that this organization provides TONS of opportunities to lend a hand. I registered online, then went to the office for a simple orientation, and now I can volunteer as often as I want! And Points of Light & Hands On Network / New York Cares makes it easy, because you can sign up to volunteer for short-term projects or long-term, you can search by days of the week or by times of the day or by type of project! I'd also suggest asking friends for their local recommendations.
We saw your wonderful program that aired last year... The Guiding Light Cast traveled to the Gulf Coast to rebuild homes devastated by Katrina. What did you learn from that experience?
From our experience in the Gulf Coast, I learned that a LOT can be accomplished in a very short time when people just show up with open minds and the desire to help. I had NO construction experience when I arrived, yet was patiently taught so many new skills by the team leaders. I discovered that you can learn new skills very quickly when your purpose for learning them is to help other people! (And I learned how passionate I can be about screw heads dimpling the paper of sheet rock!!)
What kind of volunteer programs are you personally involved with?
I'm so impressed by the diversity of opportunities that Points of Light & Hands On Network offers in my community, yet I have to admit, I'm a creature of habit! My favorite activity is dancing with the seniors in a home and hospital for the aging here in the city. We bring the residents from their rooms into an auditorium, where we recreate the atmosphere of the dance halls of their youth. We dance together or take those in wheelchairs around for a spin to some great swing tunes and big band classics. It's so much fun to see their faces light up with our company and the energy of the music. Our evenings together always leave me feeling so full of life and gratitude.
Why did Guiding Light connect to Points of Light & Hands On Network?
Points of Light & Hands On Network brings people together to strengthen communities through meaningful volunteer action. By partnering with this organization, we found an opportunity for Guiding Light to reach out to the communities who have given back to us, by keeping us on the air for 70 years. It is our way of saying 'thank you'.