For many area nonprofit organizations, the rhythm of daily operations can leave few resources to tackle special projects.
That’s why the 18-year community service day collaboration between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, known as Celebrate Service …Celebrate Yates(CSCY), is so well-received by nonprofit leaders who welcome volunteers to help with spring cleaning and other projects.
And Sunday’s (April 12) annual day of service set new records, with a volunteer corps of students and community members some 297 strong chipping in at a record 32 nonprofit work sites around Yates County.
“As far as what it means to us, we really appreciate the help,” said Dick Smith, trustee for the Bluff Point United Methodist Church.
Smith was all smiles Sunday, welcoming four women from the Catholic Daughters of the Americas at St. Michael’s Church in Penn Yan to help rake stones pushed by snowplowing from the parking lot into the surrounding grass over the harsh winter months.
“We just couldn’t get it done otherwise,” Smith added, estimating a congregation where as many as 80 percent of parishioners may be seniors unable to labor long and the other 20 percent busy young families with little time to serve. A similar challenge faces St. Luke’s Episcopal in Branchport, where CSCY volunteers, including members of the Penn Yan Rotary and Keuka College women’s soccer team, reported to serve.
One of the Bluff Point volunteers —new Penn Yan resident Deborah Smith — said CSCY was one of the first local events she heard about after joining the Catholic Daughters.
“Good cause, great day, good exercise — all kinds of benefits are coming out of it,” Deborah Smith said, adding the event was also a great way to meet people in her new hometown.
At another corner of the church lot, the nearly 70-degree temperatures and bright sunshine found Deb Thurling in high spirits.
“I’m hoping to bulk up my muscles to bowl better on Tuesday and beat Pastor Judy [Wunder of Bluff Point UMC] and her husband in our senior league,” Thurling quipped.
Thurling’s enthusiasm was matched by four Keuka College students trekking the steep hills of Route 364 near Delooza Road with Rev. Jeff Childs of the Penn Yan United Methodist Church for the church’s two-mile stretch of “adopted” highway. Asked what exotic findings they’d uncovered, senior Brianna Jackson and junior Lakeisha Ford launched into a few bars of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” while sophomore Dakota Warren held out a skeletal bone from a cow. And not just any bone —Warren insisted her classroom training in occupational therapy classes confirmed it was a lumbar bone.
Other findings included a hubcap, a tire resembling a hula hoop, metal building pipes, parts of a house shingle, “and a little sign and a stick to make music,” according to senior Rachel Guthrie.
“I love this!” Guthrie said of her first CSCY experience. “I do highway cleanups at home in North Rose. It couldn’t be a better day.”
And it wasn’t just the great weather or the opportunity to give back that found so many volunteers relishing the moment. At the Yates County Habitat for Humanity site in Dresden, freshman Alyana Murphy said she likes “paying it forward,” but added, “It’s nice to know more about the community where I go to school, and I like how people from the College and community get together to help each other.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by four members of the Keuka College men’s golf team, assigned to the Keuka Lake chapter of the Izaak Walton League on Guayanoga Road. All four students, all first-time CSCY volunteers, were marveling at the quiet they’d discovered while stacking logs and moving brush as three members of the women’s soccer team tackled the windows and floors inside the clubhouse.
“It’s so peaceful, going from the campus to this,” said freshman Mike Parrow, while the sounds of small wildlife and a running stream nearby were heard. “We’re coming back, and we’re going fishing.”
The foursome knew they’d miss next weekend’s hunter safety course due to a golf match in New Jersey against Rutgers-Camden but were hoping to catch an upcoming chicken and biscuits dinner hosted by the Walton League May 2, said freshman Rory Doremus.
“I told them I got the applications right inside and we’re always looking for new members,” Skip Johnson, chapter president, said with a chuckle. “This is fun. I love working with the kids and everything.”
Indeed, many children and families participated this year, increasing the makeup of the volunteer corps to a 58 – 42 percent split between the College and community members, organizers reported.
And perhaps Kristine Mattison, a pre-K teacher at Penn Yan Elementary School serving at City Hill Cemetery in Penn Yan, could be the poster child for the value of starting young when it comes to community service.
“I grew up helping clean the City Hill Cemetery—it was my spring, summer, and fall job. And I still do. A lot of people have family buried here, including some of my relatives. Everyone works together to keep the cemetery clean and ready for visitors. Everyone here is having a great time,” she said.
CSCY is underwritten each year, thanks to the generous support of local businesses and merchants serving as sponsors. The 2015 Day of Service sponsors include: Arc of Yates, American Legion Post 355, AVI Fresh, Chrisanntha Construction, Eaves Family Dental Group, Ferro Corporation, Finger Lakes Realty, Graphic Connections, Keuka College Student Senate, the Office of Alumni and Family Relations, the Office of Student Affairs, Keuka Spring Vineyards, Knapp & Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 2030, Lyons National Bank, Phelps Sungas, Stork Insurance, and Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Golf Classic.
Miracle worker. A joy and a blessing. Compassionate and professional.
These are among the adjectives people have used to describe Penn Yan resident Sandy Carlson, who will receive the 2014 Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service Tuesday, Aug. 12.
The award will be presented at a noon luncheon in the Geiser Refectory in Dahlstrom Student Center at Keuka College.
The Stork Award was established by Keuka College to recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the College’s commitment of valuing individual initiative for the common good. The award was named after the first recipients of the award, Penn Yan residents Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork, in 1991.
Described as one of the first people to bring a meal to someone in need, Carlson volunteers her time and talents to such organizations as the Once Again Shoppe, Keuka Comfort Care Home, CROP Walk, and the Yates County Public Health Medical Reserve Corps. A volunteer with the Red Cross, Carlson worked in New York City after 9/11 and in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
A graduate of the Genesee Hospital School of Nursing, Carlson worked at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital’s emergency room for more than 30 years and now serves as a substitute nurse in the Penn Yan Central School District.
A deacon, elder, youth leader and trustee of the First Presbyterian Church, Carlson also serves on the session and is a member of the kitchen and sanctuary committees. An active member of the church’s women’s group for more than 40 years, she serves as the chair of both of the church fall and spring rummage sales.
A board member for the Yates County Christmas for the Needy, Carlson buys toys and stores gently used clothing year-round so that they can be distributed as needed. She also collaborates with her daughter in New Jersey to collect donations from her community for Penn Yan. In addition, she works with various stores which offer discounted items for the needy.
Tickets for the luncheon are $12. Seating is limited, so advanced reservations are advised. Make checks payable to Keuka College and mail to: Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478, or reservations may be made online at events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 6.
For more information call (315) 279-5238 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keuka College’s Community Luncheon Series will continue Wednesday, Jan. 22, with a talk by a former nuclear engineer who has written a novel about the assassination of President Kennedy.
Stan Wilczek Jr., assistant professor of business and management, will discuss “Did Oswald Act Alone? Author Believes He Did, but His Book Tells a Different Story,” at noon in the Gannett Room of Lightner Library.
Wilczek is convinced Oswald acted alone Nov. 22, 1963, but his novel, Last Witness, is filled—as the jacket of the book describes—with “secrets, seductions, sex, lies, cover-ups, and conspiracies.”
“I love writing fiction,” said Wilczek, “because I can write whatever I want.”
He has published three other mystery thrillers: The Kept Secret, The Soma Man, and Death’s Revenge.
Wilczek spent 30 years in the nuclear and utility industry, the last third as vice president and corporate officer. He earned an associate degree in engineering science from Mohawk Valley Community College, a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from SUNY Buffalo, an MBA from Syracuse University, and graduated from Harvard’s Advanced Management Program.
Tickets for the luncheon are $12.75, $2.50 of which goes to the Penn Yan Keuka Club Scholarship Fund. The fund provides an annual scholarship to a local student attending Keuka College. Seating is limited, so reservations are advised.
Make checks payable to Keuka College and mail to: Office of Alumni and Family Relations, Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y. 14478. Reservations may also be made online at http://events.keuka.edu. The reservation deadline is Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.
For more information, call (315) 279-5238 or email email@example.com.
The 2013 Donald and Corinne Stork Award for Community Service was presented to Penn Yan residents George and Carolyn Schaeffer at a noon luncheon Oct. 15.
Keuka College established the award to recognize those individuals who exemplify its historic commitment to the value and benefit of using individual initiative for the common good.
The award was named after the first recipients of the award, Penn Yan residents Corinne Stork and the late Donald Stork, in 1991.
Among the organizations that have benefitted from the Schaeffers’ time and talents are Milly’s Pantry, Food for the Needy, Christmas for the Needy, Yates County Democratic Committee, and Branchport Elementary School.
The Schaeffers also teach social ballroom dance lessons for free through the Penn Yan Adult Education Program.
Stephanie Meindl Dikey, a 2002 graduate of Keuka College, will sign copies of her debut children’s book, The Adventures of Phoenix & Tucson: The Great Rescue, Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan.
Dikey’s pet dog (Phoenix) and cat (Tucson) were rescued animals and the book is about their rescue and the special bond they created, according to Dikey.
The book includes a section targeted toward teachers and features several lesson ideas.
“Teaching is at the core of these stories,” said Dikey, who teaches third grade in Webster, “and I want kids to get excited about reading and writing.”
Dikey plans to turn The Adventures of Phoenix and Tucson into a series.