Our Highlights

Celebrating National Volunteer Week

Volunteer Week 2016This week, enCourage Kids is celebrating the selfless individuals who play a major role in the success of our organization – our dedicated volunteers! They are an essential part of our well-oiled machine and one of the many reasons why our organization can impact so many lives.

Volunteers are the heartbeat of enCourage Kids,” shares Executive Director Michele Hall-Duncan. “They are all so very important to us and close to my heart because I started as a volunteer almost 24 years ago.”

This year we are saying goodbye to some of our amazing veterans and hello to newcomers who are ready to step up and work hard to fill their shoes. If you have ever been interested in volunteering, go for it! You never know what it could lead to and how much it can help people. Volunteering is also a great note to put into your resume for potential employers down the line, using websites like https://www.arcresumes.com/local/new-york/ to help with putting it all together and making it appealing.

Saluting a Veteran

Christine has been with us since 1991 and has recently announced her retirement. She started with our organization when we were still granting wishes and even while facing her own health challenges, she never came up short in helping the enCourage Kids children and families. In 1996, Lupus had attacked her heart and liver, making transplants her only option. While awaiting her transplants in the hospital, she managed to grant 20 of her overall 170 wishes!

Volunteer Week 2016

Dedicated enCourage Kids volunteer, Christine, has recently announced her volunteer retirement.

“Christine has touched the lives of so many children in over two decades as a volunteer. She understands in a very real way what it means to overcome medical challenges,” says Michele. “She has no idea how much I admire her and am proud to call her a friend.”

Christine has also volunteered at our Annual Gala, Golf Outings, and Auctions. She has always put our enCourage Kids families needs in front of her own – which Christine says has helped her cope with her own health issues. “Volunteering with enCourage Kids and working with the kids has humbled me. To see their spirit and unwavering courage, I was reminded constantly of how truly fortunate I am. Although my health may have been compromised, I am so grateful for the gift of being able to give back.”

Christine is a true example of selflessness and love and we will miss her terribly.

It Takes Two

Two more of our valued volunteers, husband and wife team Chip and Kristin, are starting a new chapter in their lives as they venture across country to sunny California. For several years they have volunteered at various fundraising and program events, including our annual Camp Pontiac weekend. Chip was also part of our NYC Marathon running team in 2015, helping to raise nearly $50,000. They have both brought undeniable joy and happiness to our families and we send them all the love in the world and thank them for their selflessness and dedication.

Volunteer Week 2016

Portrait of Kristin and Chip taken during our 2015 Holiday Party for enCourage Kids families.

All in the Family

As some of our longer-term volunteers move on, we are thrilled to welcome new ones to the mix. Angelae, another one of our faithful volunteers, is an animated and loving woman who jumps at any volunteer opportunity we have, and does so with a permanent smile on her face. She recently introduced her daughter, Victoria, to our enCourage family, as they volunteered together at our recent Gala. Angelae is a large asset to our organization and we are so happy that she has brought the next generation of her family to be a part of our family here.

Volunteer Week 2016

Portrait of Angelae and Victoria taken at our 31st Annual Gala.

Student Life

This year we have been fortunate to begin working with students in the communities that we serve. Students from NYU’s Project Outreach and the University of Albany have built wonderful relationships with our organization, as they have volunteered their time and talents for a number of our programs.

The student volunteers of NYU’s Project Outreach have hosted two holiday themed Escapes for our families. Josh, a Project Outreach member who helped to coordinate these events, explained how important Project Outreach’s relationship with enCourage Kids is to the students. “They [Project Outreach members] have enjoyed working directly with the incredibly warmhearted children of the enCourage Kids Foundation and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the organization and the families involved.”

Volunteer Week 2016

NYU Project Outreach volunteer has some fun with one of our enCourage Kids at our Spring Festival.

At the University of Albany, the students have set up Halloween parties and volunteered at our annual Super Hero Sprint. Ema, Assistant Director of Residence Life at UAlbany, says that these events give the students the chance to see the world around them and experience life and the community that they might have otherwise overlooked. “I think that students are sometimes secluded, in a way, because they are experiencing the on-college lifestyle, that they forget what the world is all about. It’s important for us to bring these programs to them so that they can have a better understanding of what awaits them when they are a graduate of the University.”

Volunteer Week 2016

Volunteers from the University of Albany pose for a photo with one of our enCourage families at our annual Super Hero Sprint.

We are extremely appreciative for the opportunities that these student programs have given our families and are so thankful to have young, energetic, and committed volunteers involved in our organization. We hope to keep our relationship strong for years to come.

Thank You

While many enCourage Kids volunteers will say our programs, children, and families have impacted their lives, it is the volunteers who often leave a lasting impression on them and each member of the enCourage Kids family. We honor and thank each and every individual who has dedicated their time and talents to give back to our organization. To Christine, Chip, and Kristin – we wish you the best of luck in the future and hope you know that you will always have a home here at enCourage Kids. To our newest volunteers, we are so excited and thankful to have you join our family.

Volunteer Week 2016

Our fun-loving volunteers and staff at our annual Camp Pontiac trip.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with enCourage Kids, please contact Casey, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator, at casey@encourage-kids.org

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