At Connecticut Housing Partners, volunteerism is not a one size fits all opportunity. CHP’s goal is to link the interests and talents of community volunteers with the needs of residents. This means community members of all ages, 12 year olds to octogenarians and beyond, can get involved and make a difference. And the benefits go both ways. Volunteer efforts enhance the quality of life for our residents, and impact the volunteers as well: giving them new experiences, inspiring community spirit and connection, and, on a more practical side, helping develop skills and knowledge that could lead to employment within the community.
In the summer of 2017, Wilton High School students Ryan Gabriele and John Zizzadoro donned gloves and garbage bags as volunteers with CHP’s recycling program at Wilton Commons. Once a week they collected redeemables from the community…and, by summer’s end, had recycled more than 1,500 bottles and cans! That’s a big environmental benefit and a whole lot of nickels to help provide recreational opportunities for the residents of Wilton Commons.
In the fall of 2017, Brandon Comacho, a recent high school graduate, embarked on a volunteer adventure at CHP’s Huntington Place, a senior-only facility in Trumbull where he lends a hand in the office or assists the resident coordinator with activities. Though he hopes to someday pursue a career in cosmetology, he knows that volunteer work of any kind can open doors.
“Volunteering allows me to give freely of my time and give back to our elderly residents,” says Brandon. “I see enthusiasm on their faces when I arrive. I think the presence of youth brings them joy.”
And volunteering there gives Brandon an added bonus: coffee breaks with his mom who works as the site coordinator and couldn’t be prouder of her son’s endeavors.
“I have seen a maturity through the patience and care he gives to the detail in his work and also the care he takes with the people he works with. In whatever path the future may lead him, I know this volunteer program has broadened his future pursuits with an unselfish reserve for giving back and paying it forward.”