This week’s interview features Hometown Helper David Obey, who’s entering his 10th year of volunteering with Long Island’s Family Service League.
There are two programs I volunteer for through Family Service League. One is working at The Community Thrift Shop, pricing donations. Family Service League one of six non-profit organizations that runs the thrift shop, which provides revenue for those organizations and also provides an alternative shopping experience for people who need it. Generally I price donations that come in. Since I price, I don’t put out anything that I wouldn’t buy; it’s torn, ripped, stained, or pilled, we don’t put it out.
The other Family Service League program I volunteer with is an after school homework help program, which is run at the Manorfield Family Center in Huntington Station. Generally students come in anywhere from around third grade up to high school. We sit down with them and help with their homework, if they need it — they don’t always need it. It varies, but on any given day, probably 10 or 15 kids come in. It’s a one hour program, starting at 4 and ending at 5. I’m sure there would be more students in the program, except they need someone to drop them off and pick them up. That can be an issue for a lot of people.
I am retired now, but at the time I started with Family Service League I had a winding down consulting business. I had time. I have a very close friend who’s on Family Service League’s board, and I knew through her about FSL’s volunteer opportunities. So ,I went to meet with the person who was in charge of volunteers at the time and I chose the two programs I’m now involved with, filled out paperwork, and that was that. That’s how I started, in November 2010. Family Service League is a wonderful organization. They do any enormous amount on Long Island, and I’m proud to be associated with them.
Biggest Takeaway So Far:
When I started with the after-school homework help, the first child I worked with was a second grader named Kimberlyn. Her two younger sisters weren’t even in preschool at the time, and her older sister was in fourth grade. Now Kimberlyn is a tenth grader, and to this day I still work with her. I’ve worked with her sisters too — her two little twin sisters are in the fourth grade and her older sister is a senior in high school — but Kimberlyn is the one I’ve worked with straight through.
Advice to Those Considering Volunteering:
Just do it! I tell everybody: anybody who has time, and are looking to fill it up, there are many many many people out there who need you. Go out and find them. There are many opportunities to help. Just go out and do it. You’ll find you’ll get as much, or more, out of it than the people you help.
For more information about volunteering with Family Service League, contact Mary Winterle at (631) 470-6772, or via email at [email protected]—li.org. More about Family Service League’s programs and services can be found on their website.
Know a volunteer who you would like to celebrate? Email [email protected], and let us know!