Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: Lori Harvill Moore | Filed under: Volunteering | Tags: cancer, Cycle for Survival, Fred's Team, marathon, volunteer nyc | No Comments »
Each year cyclists and runners in New York City and elsewhere volunteer to raise funds to benefit cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). The proceeds go to support programs that focus on the disease at the cellular and molecular levels to uncover the best methods of treating rare cancers. The Volunteer NYC Campaign recognizes contributions made by two groups determined to see an eventual end to this disease.
Cycle for Survival Growing
Cycle for Survival is an indoor cycling event that was started in 2007 by Jennifer Goodman Linn, who had been a patient at MSKCC. To date, the group has raised $4.5 million and, according to a video on the website, has succeeded in funding 13 clinical trials and research studies. This year Cycle for Survival expanded from a volunteer NYC event to Chicago, San Francisco and 50 satellite locations throughout the world. On February 6, 12 and 13, 2011, Cycle for Survival held its yearly fundraiser, and the top ten teams alone have raised nearly one million dollars. More than 4,500 cyclists participated at Equinox Fitness Club locations in Manhattan, Chicago, and Long Island.
Some of the Cycle for Survival teams are named for a cancer survivor or for someone that is currently fighting the disease. Each of the top 10 teams has its own page, and you can see the story that motivates each person to participate at a high level. Visit the main site and click on one of the groups listed in the lower middle of the web page.
Fred’s Team Races for Aubrey Fund
Another group – Fred’s Team – has been holding marathons since 1995 to raise research funds for MSKCC. Those who started the group named the team in honor of Fred Labow, who was a co-founder of the New York City Marathon and also a patient at MSKCC in the early 1990s. From seasoned athletes to beginners, runners have brought in $42 million during the years since the team’s founding, with primary support given to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research. Since 1997, Fred’s Team has raised money specifically for research into childhood cancers, such as leukemia, neuroblastoma, brain tumors, and some forms of sarcoma.
On November 7, 2010, Fred’s Team members, in true volunteer NYC style, ran the 2010 ING New York City Marathon, and its nearly 800 members raised $4 million for MSKCC research. Earlier in the year the Fred’s Team participated in the Boston Marathon, the New York City Half-Marathon, and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
In addition to the larger well-known running events, some of the members of Fred’s Team turned other occasions into fundraisers, with volunteers participating in hikes, bike races, triathlons, and lesser-known marathons. The Fred’s Team website offers three ways to get involved: support a member, donate to the Aubrey Fund, or volunteer for the team. Like the Cycle for Survival groups, Fred’s Team has extended its reach beyond local volunteer NYC opportunities to world wide participation in its “race against cancer.”
Researchers and doctors at MSKCC continue to make strides toward better therapies and treatments for a variety of rare cancers that afflict 50% of cancer patients, according to Jennifer’s video. The advances made at this private center are a testament to the spirit and perseverance epitomized by such volunteer NYC groups as Cycle for Survival and Fred’s Team.
photo credit: Pabo76
Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: Lori Harvill Moore | Filed under: Volunteering | Tags: mentoring, tutoring, volunteer nyc | No Comments »
Volunteering in NYC Featured
CommunityService.org kicks off its new “Volunteer NYC” campaign today, focusing on the goal of creating both awareness and opportunity for those seeking to become involved in community activities. With a population of more than 8 million in New York City and 20 million when including the outer metropolitan areas, volunteers play an integral role in fostering a sense of community and shared values. To the person who benefits from volunteer assistance, the connection eases the experience of isolation and frustration.
While there are many needs, the “Volunteer NYC” campaign focuses first on education, a subject that has received much national and state-wide attention. The NYC Service site lists more than 120 volunteer NYC opportunities in education alone. Twenty-five percent of those received a star indicating that they work to solve educational issues deemed a priority by the city. The NYC Service site sets up each opportunity as a volunteer assignment, which is sponsored by one of 30 non-profit organizations. Clicking on the sponsor’s link opens a window that gives all the details about the position as well as the qualifications sought in the volunteer.
Talents are in Demand
Each assignment serves a specific function, such as mentoring or tutoring. Most of the volunteer NYC positions are designed to aid a specific age group in a certain geographical region according to a predefined schedule. Examples include middle school mentoring, after-school tutoring, helping students with writing assignments, and working with high school students who are preparing to take the SAT.
According to official sources cited in a New York Daily News article published in March 2010, the high school graduation rate in New York City was 59% in 2009. Although those results represent a slight increase over the previous year – which was 56.4% – there is more work to be done.
Assessments Tell the Story
To help volunteers best match their talents with the educational needs of students, a look at the most recent assessment results from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) offers a starting point. These figures are taken from the Nation’s Report Card for New York City, school year 2008-2009.
|Grade||Subject||% Advanced||% Proficient||%Basic||%Below Basic|
It is important to note that two assumptions were made when extrapolating this information from NCES data. First, it was assumed that the percentages must equal 100 when added, even though NCES did not provide the percent below basic. Second, that it is reasonable to back into the percentages for individual levels that NCES showed as cumulative: at or below basic in their chart includes advanced, proficient and basic.
These results do explain why so many volunteer opportunities exist to tutor and mentor middle-school students, to help them in key subjects as they enter high school. While science is a key priority subject, no statistics from The Nation’s Report Card were available for New York City students.
The “Volunteer NYC” campaign will shine a light on the efforts and accomplishments aimed at solving some of the city’s educational issues in upcoming posts. By tutoring and mentoring, volunteers help student feel confident and comfortable with their ability to learn and exceed.
photo credit: Peter Gene