Daily Point of Light # 1709 Aug 22, 2000

There is now a place in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York where young people can go to search for volunteer opportunities in their community. The Volunteer Center of Sachem High School has a goal of getting the students of Sachem involved in opportunities that interest them and promotes their involvement in their community. They have short term as well as long-term opportunities available throughout the school year. The Volunteer Center is an after-school club that students can join.

Most importantly, the Center has introduced students to volunteer opportunities in their community. The Smithtown Guide Foundation and Riverhead Foundation for Marine Science and Preservation came and spoke to the students about opportunities of service in their organizations. Students have already participated in several fundraising events, and they are in the process of planning future events.

The Center has volunteered in the Walk for Beauty, raised money for Breast Cancer Education and research and they have participated in the “Twelve Days of Charity” which is an event designed by the volunteer center that raised approximately $1500. The proceeds from the Twelve Days of Charity went to the Make a Wish Fund, Little Angel Fund, Guide Dog Foundation and Rainbow Kids. They are working on a pancake breakfast for charity, a park stewardship with Suffolk County Legislator, planning a blood drive and a mobile mammography unit for staff and community members. They are in the planning phases for a program called Welcome Wagon. This will help welcome new students to the school and give them an initial network of support.

To date, the Center has raised over $3000 for various charitable organizations. They have learned more about their community and have made a commitment to make it a better place. Some of their programs were unique – the Twelve Days of Charity, park steward program and welcome wagon- yet the volunteers worked to make them a success. The Volunteer Center’s activities have been their own publicity. Through their planning, dedication and hard work, other clubs and groups are getting more involved in events planned by the Center and creating new programs of service.

The club runs throughout the school year. There are opportunities within the school as well as other opportunities supporting the community at large. Many times, the media portrays our youth as being a lost generation with no compassion or regard for others. The Volunteer Center at Sachem High School dispels this myth, and the volunteers are showing the community they are productive youth and they care also.