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Youngstown's Day of Service

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published January 19, 2009

I am humbled by the outpouring of generosity in spirit I witnessed this morning at First Presbyterian, where about fifty people gathered to discuss how we can serve our community this year. Phil Kidd, Susie Beiersdorfer, and Brian Corbin spoke about service, and we collectively discussed angles to pursue in volunteering.

I want to share some of the thoughts that came out the meeting:

We need a place that catalogs the available service opportunities by category and allows volunteers to match their interests to action. It sounds like the HandsOn Network of the Valley wants to meet this need. Formerly the Volunteer Services Agency, their brand and site launch are supposed to happen in the next few weeks. We'll see what they have to offer.

Perhaps a volunteer Expo is in order, to bring together all the Valley's volunteer-driven organizations under one roof, to help them promote their events and needs and let those who want to serve have a chance to browse and see what opportunities are out there. 

There is a desire to serve in the schools and to ensure there are outlets for youth service. Again, the HandsOn Network has something in the works for youth service this summer, and more information will be forthcoming. As for service in the schools, I want to pursue that avenue with a teacher friend and find out what opportunities there are for mentoring, tutoring, etc.

Cleanups and beautifications are a popular mode of service. Cityscape is such a successful event, and there are lots of people downtown each year. Could individual neighborhoods, driven by grass-roots leadership and in conjunction with the Cityscape event, create their own beautification events throughout the city? Our neighborhood in the Fifth Avenue-Crandall Park Historic District takes this approach already.

We also heard from several established organizations--TreezPlease, Grow Youngstown, and TimeBank--about what they offer.

I thought the event was a success, and I appreciate all who presented and attended. I look forward to following up with you soon to put our ideas into action. 


1YoungstownKidd(40 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

It was a great event and a special thanks goes to you for putting it together, Tyler. I greatly enjoyed the discussion, the new connections I made, and several of the ideas presented (a few identified above). Realistically, I think we can move on several of them. Great job and thanks for the opportunity to speak to the group.

Phil Kidd

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2jmaloney(1 comment)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for giving HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley the opportunity to speak at yesterday’s meeting. It was exciting to be a part of the positive energy in the room, and HandsOn Volunteer Network is not only proud of its history, but is excited as we look into the future.
For 24 years, Volunteer Services Agency, Inc. served the Mahoning Valley through volunteer recruitment, placement and management. In 2008, through a comprehensive strategic plan and new national affiliation, VSA became HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley with a new mission to mobilize volunteers, promote leadership and transform communities.

Mobilizing Volunteers:
7024 people mobilized to community efforts
70,000 hours of documented hours of volunteer service to the Mahoning Valley – translates into millions of dollars of skills, expertise and assistance to people and organizations needing help.

Promoting Leadership:
735 people trained and mobilized as
Non-profit Board Leaders
Community Advocates
Disaster Preparedness and Response Leaders
Volunteer Administrators
Non-profit Administrators
Project Managers
Youth Leaders

Transforming Communities:
Examples of what was accomplished in 2008
-10,000 telephone reassurance calls to people who have limited social contact
-750 Families each month receive food assistance because of RSVP volunteers
-400 veterans were provided with support services and a friendly ear
-350 people were provided with a meal and friendship at Thanksgiving through the Youth Volunteer Corps
-Children receive tutoring/mentoring
-1500 students per year at YSU experience personal satisfaction and gain knowledge from service learning activities
-Volunteer Administrators across the valley have a resource from which to gain knowledge and best practices
-900 scarves, hats, mittens and blankets knitted and crocheted for low income and homeless populations
-750 education and support visits were provided to heart patients and their families

Our new focus and growth gives us the ability to continue to lead the community in efforts to utilize the skills and talents of the Mahoning Valley to continue creating and building the vibrant community we all envision. With our national partner HandsOn Network, we work in conjunction with nearly 300 affiliate organizations to promote civic engagement and an ethic of service. We hope you join us!

In Service,
Jenn Maloney
HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley

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3TonyBudak(5 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Hi Tyler,

Thank you, and thanks go to Brian, Susie, and Phil for the organizing of this event.

It was unusual because the very idea of a meeting of communities is in of itself rather novel. Here's why!

The participants were not the usual suspects. Representatives from those large structures such as corporations, universities, and government mental health systems were not in attendance. Those organization are all driven and controlled from the top and in very rigid practices. Their systems operate much as specialized programs on your computer, like a typing, email, or photo viewer program. Notice these programs only run well if the operating system is working well.

However the audience at the First Presbyterian were the from the operating systems of society. “A major social domain—the community. By community, we mean the social place used by family, friends, neighbors, neighborhood associations, clubs, civic groups, local enterprises, churches, ethnic associations, temples, local unions, local government, and local media.” http://www.cpn.org/topics/community/r...

In the world of TimeBanking http://www.timebanks.org/ these entities are the core economy and the operating systems of society. They make it possible for organizations in the monetary economy to operate. So thanks again for bringing this audience composed of the core operating systems of society together to exchange ideas. WOW! Isn't that an usual meeting? It's a shame that we have to have a major national event to get community people together.

The second point I hope to mention regards the idea that ”We need a place that catalogs the available service opportunities by category and allows volunteers to match their interests to action.” Yes, VSA, now Hands On Volunteer Network of the Valley does have a data base of that kind of information. Yet, it’s not well known to the community that the TimeBank Mahoning Watershed (TBMW) also has a data base.

We called it the Market Place.http://tbmw.org/sites/default/files/marketplace.pdf It is open to all members of the community or core economy. TBMW is a member-run service that builds community and true security. It is a free online database program which manages both the directory of services & requests and an accounting system for keeping track of transactions. TimeBanking rewards folks doing what they love to do.

BTW the TimeBank meets twice a month, the public is invited. Check us out on the web at

Tony Budak

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