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Yorktown Offers Volunteer Groups Networking, Help

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -Supervisor Michael Grace revised a famous presidential quote Tuesday evening by asking volunteer organizations in town what their government could do for them, since they had done so much for their town.

Grace invited representatives from different organizations in Yorktown to the inaugural Community Affairs meeting, chaired by Bruce Apar.

“This is a very inspiring group of people in front of me. You really are the muscle, the heavy hitters of this town and my hat’s off to all of you for doing what you do out there,” Grace said in the standing-room only board room. “One of my initiatives of my administration is to try to get out your concerns and to find out how the Town of Yorktown can support you, to try and figure out a framework where the town can be supportive in your efforts — maybe to create a cross-pollination to bring people from one group to help out another group, to expand your horizons, to expand your contributor base.”

Tuesday’s event morphed into a meeting of the minds and networking for organizations to explain their mission, what they need from each other and the town and the potential to explore other possibilities for engagement within the community. Organizations including Support Connection and Young Yorktown Advocates United addressed the crowd of dozens of volunteers, as well as other organizations such as the Yorktown Lions Club and the Lakeland Education Foundation.

Ideas were suggested, such as a giving day, a database of volunteers and other organizations in town and a community calendar so organizations don’t plan events in rapid succession. Stories were told of beginnings years ago, such as Kids 2 Kids International, and of new beginnings such as the want for a farmers market in town or Yorktown Smart Growth.

“Rather than promote what I do, I want to promote that we work together, I would say let’s not just bump into one another,” said Director of Support Connection Kathy Quinn. “Let’s help each other.”

Several speakers said they would like to see Yorktown’s Town Board help organizations in planning events and putting forth their missions rather than halt and hurdle them in the form of fees or other negotiable requirements.

Apar, who is both a volunteer at other organizations as well as in his own Harrison Apar foundation, suggested the evening was a way for government to work with the goal of helping the people who already help so many others.

“I think it’s an interesting concept if you think of what we're doing as reverse lobbying," he said. "We’re the ones who should be influenced, we’re the ones who should be courted not the other way around and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

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