Volunteer News Archive 2011 - 2013

Volunteers Help Out at the Dutchess County Fair

September 13, 2013

Here at Astor we are incredibly thankful for all the support that we receive from our community. The volunteers that manned our booth at the Dutchess County Fair this past August is a perfect example.  All of our volunteers during the Fair showed great devotion to Astor and spreading the word about all the services we offer. It was because of volunteers that we were able to be present at the Fair from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM all seven days. What was truly impressive was the mix of people that volunteered: employees from different locations, parents, and members of the community.

 Thank you to everyone who donated their time!

To see pictures from the Fair visit our Facebook page.

KPMG Volunteers at Astor

July 3, 2013

At Astor, one of the things we appreciate the most is the support we receive from volunteers. Volunteers can make a big difference to our kids. 

On Wednesday, July 3, 2013, eight summer interns from KPMG, LLP volunteered with our children at the Lawrence F. Hickey Center in the Bronx. The Hickey Center serves children 3-5 years old with behavioral and emotional needs.

The volunteers spent time with our kids and engaged them in a variety of activities including basketball, bubble making, potato sack races, etc. The children had a wonderful time, as seen by the smiles on their faces.

Through KPMG’S Corporate Citizenship Program, they encourage all employees to volunteer within their community. 

Volunteer Steven Ciardiello said of his time volunteering at Astor, “I had a great time getting to play with and know your students and am glad that I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with both the students and the staff.” 

“Interacting with the kids was a ton of fun and really made my day. It is great to see that they have the opportunity to attend the school and receive the care that you provide,” said Kyle Mannheimer, KPMG volunteer.

KPMG’s time at Astor is a great example of how volunteerism benefits both our kids and the volunteer.  

Click Here to learn more about Astor and how you can help!

2013 Mitzvah Day Project

May 5, 2013

Each year, the Jewish Federation of Dutchess and Ulster County organizations.organizes “Mitzvah Day,” for members of local temples and other Jewish

Mitzvah translated means “good deed”, and so for third year, Astor was fortunate enough to host volunteers for a service project at our Rhinebeck residence.

A group of six volunteers cleaned up the trails, fishing holes, and fishing shed so that the kids and staff can better access them. This included clearing the paths, racking leaves and clipping branches! The volunteers worked very hard – their hard work truly made a difference!

Thanks again from the staff and kid’s at Astor!

View a slideshow of Mitzah Day activities at Astor and throughout the county Click Here.

To learn more about the Jewish Federation of Dutchess County Click Here or Ulster County Click Here.

The Notre Dame Club Lends a Helping Hand

May 2013

Notre Dame Club Volunteers honor of Notre Dame’s Annual Hesburgh* Month of Service, we welcomed the Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley this past Saturday at our Rhinebeck, NY location. At this sponsored day of volunteer work there was a group of Notre Dame Alumni, family, friends and Astor staff members working very hard to plant 165 plants that will now completely energize a new meditation area. The design for the area was professionally planned by a landscape architect who donated this service!

Astor has a long-standing relationship with the Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley and truly appreciates all their hard work on behalf of the children and families we serve. “While we work in honor of Fr. Hesburgh, who will be 96 this Saturday and honored in Washington, DC at a reception for both houses of Congress; we also work in memory of our friend Jan Weido,” says Les McCarthy, Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley. Jan was the Director of Recreations for our Residential Programs in Rhinebeck who passed away suddenly on October 1, 2011. Jan embodied the core values of Astor and was always striving to do what was best for the kids.

*The annual Hesburgh Month of Service began in 2007, aiming to honor Father Hesburgh’s 90th birthday with 90 Notre Dame clubs hosting volunteer projects in collaboration with the Alumni Association. Volunteers far surpassed that goal; 115 clubs completed 135 projects in the inaugural year and the event  As of early April, 74 Notre Dame Clubs had registered 112 projects for the Month of Service. 

“Kohl’s Cares” Volunteers Lend a Hand at Astor Antiques Event

May 5, 2012

Our 1st Annual Antiques Appraisal Event was a huge hit! Thanks to all the help we had from our Kohl’s Cares Volunteers!

Wappingers Falls Kohls Volunteer Group
Pictured left to right: Brian Devito, Jane Michnowski, Jamie
Areclay, Carmen Albanese, and Doreen Lyvers.

Thank you to the volunteers who came from Kohl’s in Wappingers Falls through the “Kohl’s Cares” Volunteer Program. 

Our Hudson Valley Reception was a great success.  The funds that we raised with your help will go to support the Jan Weido Memorial Bike Path at the Rhinebeck Residential Program.

Jan Weido was a beloved member of the staff at Astor for 25 years.  He served as Head of the Recreations Program and personally hand drew the plans for this bike path before he passed away in 2011.

Mitzvah Day – Good Deed Indeed!

May 20, 2012

Organized by The Jewish Federation of Dutchess and Ulster County, volunteers from local temples and other Jewish organizations stop by the Residence in Rhinebeck, NY to lend a helping hand.

Volunteers help out at Astor on Mitzvah Day
Christian Fekete and Jonathan Wechsler sand a
picnic table. Background: Gabe Fekete (17)

Each year, the Jewish Federation of Dutchess and Ulster County organizes “Mitzvah Day,” for members of local temples and other Jewish organizations.

Mitzvah translated means “good deed”, and so for the second year, Astor Services for Children & Families was lucky enough to host volunteers for a service project at the Rhinebeck residence for children.

Volunteers cleaned, sanded and stained 10 picnic tables from throughout the Astor grounds.

To all who volunteered: Thank you from the staff and kid’s at Astor!

Mitzvah Day volunteers at Astor

Pictured, L to R: Astor Recreation Specialist
Amanda Byrnes, and volunteers Fiona
Ferguson(12), Valeri Thomson, Kimba Baker
Fekete, Gabe Fekete (17), Christian Fekete,
Simon Fekete (14), and Matt Stapylton (17).
Rear: Daniel Chejfec, Jewish Federation of
Dutchess County Director.

Notre Dame Club Visits Rhinebeck Residential Program

May 5, 2012

The Notre Dame Alumni Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley volunteered at our Residential Facilities in Rhinebeck, NY for the Annual Hesburgh Month of Service.

Garden after The members of the Mid-Hudson Valley Club spent the day refreshing the plants in the front entrance of the Residence.

The rose bushes at the front edge of the circle were growing and blocking the view of other plants.

Mary Rice, Landscape Architect, advised and recommended they transplant the rose bushes to open up visual access to the plantings and the statue.

BeforeThree rose bushes were moved to the back side of the circle near the entry to the Residence. Two other roses were moved out to flank the opening to the statue of Saint Vincent DePaul. Once the roses were moved, an assortment of other plantings filled this new space including two different types of juniper, phlox and ferns.

The result is an open avenue of low plantings sweeping up to the statue and a perimeter of taller plantings on either side wrapping behind the statue. All of these are further set off by the dogwood and magnolia trees that already exist in the circle.

Astor’s staff members Sean McLaughlin, Assistant Executive Director, Agency Operations, and Otto Otoniel Suarez-Caraballo, Maintenance Technician, were on hand assisting!

GroupWe would like to thank A.W. Coon for donating landscaping items to support this beautiful, revitalized garden!

We are also thankful and grateful to the Notre Dame Alumni Club for all the projects they have worked on with us at various Astor locations over the years.

[1] Peter Johantgen, Joe Spiegel, Les McCarthy, Elaine McCarthy, Joe Rubsam, Linda Legault Quinn, David LeGare, Tom Honohan, Gina Honohan and Clara Maria Carrera.

Girl Scout Troop Donates 2000 Books To Astor

February 2012

Girl Scout Books Thank you Girl Scout Troop 1263, Montrose NY, Kings Ferry Service Unit!

Girl Scout Troop 1263, Montrose NY, Kings Ferry Service Unit collected and donated over 2000 books to the Early Childhood Program Poughkeepsie Head Start Center this month.

The Girl Scouts collected nearly 2000 books through collection drop boxes in their schools.  Great work girls, thank you!

Dutchess Quilters’ Donation Brings Warmth and Cheer

October 2011

First Dutchess Quilters Donate Quilts to Children in the Residence Treatment Programs

Thanks to Pat Comerford and Helen Cassidy of the First Dutchess Quilters for delivering over a dozen hand made quilts for the children in the Residence Treatment Facility and Residence Treatment Center. 

“We make every attempt to make a child’s room warm and inviting.  What is more warm and inviting then a handmade quilt?  The quilts assist us in this effort.”  said Brian Day, Associate Director of  Childcare, who was on hand to receive the quilts.  

Pat Comerford and Helen Cassidy of the First Dutchess Quilters

Girl Scouts of the Hudson Valley Donate Cookies to Astor

June 2011

Girl Scouts - Arlington, NY school district On June 9th, eight members of the Girl Scout troop from the Arlington School Disctrict (Hudson Valley) collected and donated over 70 boxes of cookies to the children at the Residence.

Thank you! One of the girls in the troop, who receives services from one of Astor’s outpatient clinics, recommended Astor as the recipient of this donation.

Mitzvah Day Volunteers Dig In to Help Astor

May 15, 2011

Volunteers working on the Gardens at Astor on Mitzvah DaySunday, May 15, 2011 was Mitzvah Day, a concerted effort on a single day to bring the entire Jewish congregation together to volunteer in the community, performing a “mitzvah” — a good deed — by helping those in need, and by helping the community at large.

A group of volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Dutchess County volunteered their services at Astor’s Residential Programs in Rhinebeck, NY, where they spent the day working on the gardens. On behalf of the children and families we work with, we want to extend our sincere appreciation to the volunteers who gave of their time and talent: thank you!

Notre Dame Club Sponsors Seven for “Sisters Under Sail”

 May 2, 2011

The Mid-Hudson Valley Notre Dame Alumni Club
Sponsors Seven Astor Kids for “Sisters Under Sail”

Sisters Under Sail shipThe Mid-Hudson Valley Notre Dame Alumni Club raised funds to help seven Astor girls participate in an “outward bound”-type experience with Sisters Under Sail Corp. Six girls will have the opportunity to participate in a one-day sail beginning at West Point Military Academy and one girl will participate in a six day sail beginning at Liberty Landing in Jersey City to West Point.

This is a wonderful opportunity for our girls — many of whom have had challenges in their lives whether through mental health, behavioral and/or educational issues — like 17 years old Wanda, who has been in our Therapeutic Foster Boarding Home for over six year.

Sisters Under Sail Information

Her mother’s substance abuse issues and her father’s incarceration led to both their parental rights being terminated. Wand has experienced multiple foster care and group home placements due to defiant behavior. This young lady has shown tremendous growth and resilience in her current therapeutic foster care placement. She maintains good grades and is working on completing a pre-nursing program by the end of her senor year. Wanda will be the first person in her biological family to graduate high school. Her career aspirations include becoming a Registered Nurse!

Thanks to the Mid-Hudson Valley Notre Dame Alumni Club for securing funding to have our girls have this wonderful experience with Sisters Under Sail, whose program mission is to build confidence and self-esteem, increase social conscience and teach teenage girls how empowering it is to work with their sisters towards a common goal.’

During both the one- and six-day sails, the girls will have the opportunity to meet with a female officer, who will speak with the girls about her own leadership experience in the Army, as a woman and answer questions they might have. Monsignor Brian Donahue has been invited to do a reading and blessing to conclude their successful and safe voyage. They will also have the opportunity to tour the West Point facility.

For more information about this program and how you can help, please contact Les McCarthy, Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley, Sisters Under Sail Event Chairperson at 124 Skyline Road, Ancramdale, NY 12503; or Sonia Barnes-Moorhead, Astor, at (845) 871-1117.

Notre Dame Alumni Club Hesburgh Day of Service

April 30, 2011

Notre Dame Volunteer Group PictureOn April 30, 2011, six members of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley volunteered at Astor’s Residential Facilities in Rhinebeck, NY where they spent the day readying the facility for the summer. They worked extremely hard, always with smiles on their faces, as they raked and cleaned up the pool area, including sealing the benches; trimmed trees; weeded the garden; installed growing box sets; and installed a fence to keep the deer out.

The Notre Dame Alumni Club has worked on several projects with us at various Astor locations over the years and we are continually thankful for all that they do for us!

Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture

“The hard work they did directly impacts the kids – making the pool environment and gardens a better place for them. I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful group they were! They approached these projects like Notre Dame approaches a game with Southern California: with great focus, commitment and dedication! We are so fortunate to have been the recipients of such a wonderful group,”

said Jan Weido, Recreational Director.

Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the volunteers who participated in your annual Hesburgh Day of Service at our campus on Rhinebeck. Because our programs are under serious financial pressures due to the many cut backs in government funding, donations of time and talent are needed now, more than ever. The work that your club members completed on Saturday was indeed a significant contribution to our efforts to provide a special place for the children who are placed in our care. The Notre Dame Alumni Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley has become an important partner in Astor’s goal to make sure that all children have a childhood we know they need and deserve,”

said Astor’s James McGuirk, Executive Director/CEO.

Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture Notre Dame Volunteer Group Picture