WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- When relocating for work, settling into a new routine can be difficult. Oftentimes when one spouse relocates, the other spouse and family members can struggle to turn their temporary -- or permanent -- residence into a home.
"A relocated employee starts their new job and is immediately surrounded by new colleagues and immersed right away," said Debra Budetti, director of relocation for ERA Insite Realty. "For spouses or partners who don’t have the same opportunity or desire, volunteerism is a great way for area newcomers to get involved and meet people.”
"Families can be only here a few months, or up to a few years," said Budetti. "Many people are in the area to get a project done, and either go back to their country or on to a new area afterwards." Despite sometimes not being in the area for long, more and more transient residents have a desire to give back and be a part of their new community.
Volunteer organizations such as Westchester-based Volunteer New York! work with both permanent and temporary residents to help find meaningful service opportunities. "For someone that is relocating, volunteering is one of those ways people can immediately feel comfortable and connected to the community," said Alisa Kesten, executive director of Volunteer New York!
The organization maintains a database of anywhere between 500-700 opportunities across Westchester, Putnam and Rockland County at any given time. "People can search based on what is important to them, location, professional skills or just do something for an organization that matters to them," said Kesten.
Whether someone is going to be in the area for a month, a year or forever, there are real opportunities and differences that can be made, regardless of the time period. For example, Kesten recently received an email from someone in the U.K. who was coming to New York for a short term business assignment, and wanted to volunteer. Thanks to his background and desire to help others, the business traveler linked up with a gracious charity and was able to help during his stay. In many cases, volunteer experience in professions such as finance or marketing can be invaluable to non-profits or small businesses, even if only for a short period of time.
For someone moving into the community who wants to make a difference and meet people like them, volunteering is a great place to start. "Great things happen when someone volunteers and they are new to a community. It’s an instant way to connect and instantly adds value to an area," said Kesten.