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4/07/14: Poloncarz Joins in Kickoff to 40th Annual National Volunteer Week


County Executive is joined by Volunteers from Numerous Boards & Organizations to Urge Community Participation, Involvement

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Commissioner of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Troy P. Schinzel, Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth, Jr., Commissioner of Senior Services Randy Hoak, and dozens of volunteers from various Erie County boards, committees, programs, and councils at Chestnut Ridge Park to kick off National Volunteer Week, an annual event established in 1974 and dedicated to inspiring and encouraging individuals to get active in their communities.

“National Volunteer Week provides a great opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to the people who give so much of themselves to make our community a better place to live. The energy, passion, and focus that volunteers bring to their chosen endeavors are the drivers behind successful partnerships and projects,” said Poloncarz. “Erie County is blessed with thousands of residents whose volunteer spirit is powerful, positive, and wide-reaching. I want to thank the many, many volunteers who’ve helped to make our community into what it is, and I invite others to come forward and volunteer to be a part of our progress as well.” 

In Erie County, there are over 50 volunteer boards involved in everything from cultural agencies, such as the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, the African-American Cultural Center Board of Directors, and the Burchfield Penny Art Center Board of Trustees, to statutory entities such as the Council on the Disabled, the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, and the Traffic Safety Board, to name just a few. A description of each volunteer board and its powers and duties can be seen here.

Parks Commissioner Schinzel said, “The Erie County Parks department has strong partnerships with several committed groups who help us to not only maintain and enhance our park, but also to create new green spaces for residents to enjoy. Their volunteers’ vision and energy benefit all who use the parks, and they are a vital part of our success.”

Emergency Services Commissioner Neaverth, Jr. added, “Volunteers are the lifeblood of emergency response and provide the power to protect our community. These are individuals who want to make a difference in their communities by giving back and adding to our resilience and ability to take care of ourselves. Their efforts are often overlooked but are hugely important in keeping us all safe, and they deserve thanks and praise for their outstanding work.”

“Without volunteers, seniors in Erie County would not get hot meals delivered to their homes and would also be deprived of other services necessary to maintain their quality of life,” said Senior Services Commissioner Hoak. “We depend on volunteers to help us work with seniors, and their efforts go a long way in establishing positive outcomes for the programs we provide.”

Erie County fosters partnerships and collaborations with neighborhood groups and organizations interested in taking an active role in their community and applying their volunteer energy and spirit toward projects that strengthen, beautify, and improve our region. Sprinkled across the spectrum of services and programs that Erie County provides and administers, these volunteer groups bring a committed source of creativity, ideas, and manpower to the issues they work on.

Margaret Szczepaniec, President of the Black Rock Canal Park Steering Committee, said, “The BRCPSC Inc. has worked closely with the ECDP for years to great community benefit. The open relationship fosters a creative environment in which to plan and implement innovative ideas that are mutually beneficial to the community and the Park Department alike. It is truly a joy to work with such a community minded administration and we look forward to many more years of working together.”

Friends of Ellicott President Mary McNeill added, “Volunteering is a great way to pursue your passions.  Sharing and caring in a community effort is a joyful experience.  For me, the volunteer experience is part of what makes this community my home.” The Friends of Ellicott were instrumental in the creation of Erie County’s second “Bark Park”, at the Island in Ellicott Creek park.