An Albany non-profit is recruiting volunteers, partnering with 15 other local organizations to help connect students and families to needed services.
Officials gathered at the playground behind the Pine Hills Elementary School on North Allen Street Monday to kick-off the week-long initiative. The goal is to deepen the pool of volunteers, mentors and tutors for local organizations to draw from to help connect students and families to the services. Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the one group of people that we can't forget are kids.
"They have really borne a huge burden, with school closing down, thinking it was only gonna be a couple of weeks. And as we all know, we are still facing very challenging times with this pandemic and we really need to demonstrate to our kids how much they matter, and that we want them to succeed. And when you're cooped up in your house with your parents as a teacher, with your brothers and sisters, with family members, having someone that you can reach out to, that other person, someone who cares, is really important."
Albany City Schools Superintendent Kaweeda Adams calls the volunteer tutors and mentors essential to student success.
"It's important for our students to make those connections between what they're learning in the classroom and what happens in the real world every single day. And so if you have an opportunity, if you have time, we encourage you to go to servealbany.org and please, volunteer. We have so many willing and able organizations here that help us in so many ways from food, clothing, mentoring our students, tutoring our students, helping them in engage in ways that extends the classroom learning, and we could not do that without all of the support that is provided to us."
Sheehan says the drive rose from the need to restore a sense of normalcy after the pandemic struck.
"The school district has just been like districts across the country, grappling with a new and unknown future and they're doing it with compassion, they're doing with a desire to ensure that our children and our educators stay healthy and stay connected. And have the ability to learn. And not just to learn, but to have the ability to access food. To have the ability to have access to the special education resources that they need. It's a huge undertaking."
The drive runs through September 5th.