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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 08:23 Written by Kevin Bryce Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:42
Volunteering at one of the many FOCUS Centers located across the country is one of the most rewarding ways to get involved with the hands-on operations of FOCUS North America. Each month, an average of 500 volunteer hours are logged at each Center.
“It’s Orthodox Christians coming together through FOCUS and leveraging their talents to help those who need it the most,” Executive Director Nicholas Chakos said, “But while they come to help others, it’s often the volunteers who experience the greatest transformation in their lives.”
While FOCUS’ aim is to provide assistance to the homeless and working poor by moving them off of the streets and into sustainable housing and employment so they can live self-sufficient lives, the volunteers who serve with FOCUS go above and beyond providing basic outreach services. They bring true friendship and compassion to those they serve.
“I think I get a little bit more out of it than the other people do,” said Albert Salsich a volunteer, “I’ve made some friends here, not just among the volunteers but among the people who come in. It’s a community.”
Salsick first began volunteering at a local FOCUS clothing giveaway. So inspired by his experience that day, he continued to come on a weekly basis. He now volunteers twice a week and wishes he could volunteer more.
“Twice a week is not enough for me,” Salsich said, “I wish I had more time to come down.”
Volunteering with FOCUS has given him a new perspective of the city where he has lived his entire life. “I was a teacher for many years in the Suburbs. I just never spent any time in the city, and so I’ve gotten a whole new view of my hometown and what life is like. I’m just sorry I missed that so many years ago.”
FOCUS North America’s volunteer program is the largest Orthodox volunteer network in the nation and is growing exponentially. Through FOCUS, volunteers of all ages can participate in hands-on activities serving the poor. Visit www.focusnorthamerica.org to learn how you can volunteer at a FOCUS Center or on a short-term volunteer team.