Volunteer New York News - Stories of Good

Clubs and Organizations

June 14, 2022

From: Volunteer New York

Our increasingly connected world is filled with challenges, and the 24 hours news cycle has been dominated by the global pandemic, national tragedies, war, and changing climate. However, I’m writing today to share a few inspiring stories that magnify the power of volunteerism and how ordinary people are doing extraordinary things right here in their communities each day.

Do you know Susan, Norm, and Harshita—three of our local 2022 Volunteer Spirit Award winners?

When Susan O’Brien retired, her love for gardening led her to become a Master Gardener through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County. Through this volunteer opportunity, she created a vegetable and sensory garden at the Putnam County Veteran’s Home. With the help of her daughter, also a Veteran, this garden provides an accessible and peaceful environment to grow vegetables and flowers.

Norm Handelman is a driver with TRA (formerly WestFair Rides), which provides medical transportation services for older adults and adults with disabilities in Westchester. Norm, who himself is a senior volunteer, played a key role in helping TRA pivot their services during the COVID-19 pandemic by volunteering to deliver medications and groceries to the most vulnerable community members despite the increased health risks of the job.

Harshita Shet is a student, athlete, and dancer attending Woodlands High School in Hartsdale, who also volunteers as a community leader and women’s activist. In early 2018, Harshita created the “Feminine Dignity” campaign to help women and girls in need through awareness and by providing access to hygiene products. To date, Harshita has collected and delivered over 20,000 hygiene products.

Inspired yet? These are just a few of the voices that were heard during Volunteer New York!’s 42nd Volunteer Spirit Awards held on April 8, 2022. In fact, last year alone, Volunteer New York! inspired 35,000 people to volunteer, donating 399,000 hours of their time to 500 local nonprofits at a value of over $12.7 million to Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. This level of impact takes resources, and we rely on donors like you to inspire positive change in our region.


If you are able, please consider making a gift by June 30 to help amplify our efforts to connect volunteers to local volunteer opportunities that are solving our communities’ greatest challenges. To make a gift online today, please visit volunteernewyork.org/donate. Gifts of any size are appreciated and will help us reach our fiscal year-end fundraising goal. 

Next time the news gets you down, consider becoming a volunteer and being part of the solution. Volunteer New York! has hundreds of opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. To get started, visit our website at volunteernewyork.org, or call our office at 914-948-4452 to speak with a staff member that can help you find the right opportunity.

-- Jeanette Gisbert,
Executive Director
Volunteer New York!