Volunteers show they care on this ‘Day…’

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
Activity was spurring outside Bristol Adult Resource Center on Jerome Avenue,
where a number of volunteers from GE in Plainville joined together to complete a variety of projects together.
From building a ramp for the outdoor shed to constructing flower boxes for the greenhouse to painting the walls of the kitchen and hallway inside the facility, about 50 volunteers from GE used their skills to complete a variety of projects at BARC during United Way of West Central Connecticut’s 24th annual Day of Caring.
Many of the volunteers work in the areas of engineering, project management, sales, and manufacturing.
Every year employees of GE have volunteered their time completing different construction projects for BARC. Last year, they built most of the tables that are located in BARC’s greenhouse.
“I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” said Peter Greenwood of GE. “I’m here to help people.”
Greenwood said by getting involved he has come to know BARC staff members and the people they serve.
“They really appreciate our support and help,” said Greenwood. “This is an example of how GE gives back to the community.”
In addition, volunteers painted outside the greenhouse, built a portable vegetable cart, built a new roof for the shed, and painted two bathrooms as well as an office. Every year volunteers ask BARC staff in advance what kinds of projects to focus on, and they create a list of priorities to fulfill during the annual event. Other volunteers lend a hand to complete projects on other BARC location sites, including Lake Avenue, Maltby Street, and Peck Lane.
“We look forward to Day of Caring every year,” said Daneen Peterson, director of Day Services at BARC, adding how staff would not be able to complete those projects alone. “We’re thankful for the people who came out during the day to help out.”
“Their help is so much appreciated,” added Executive Director Judy Gebben.
Day of Caring, an annual event sponsored by United Way, is a chance for individuals, businesses and groups in the community to give, advocate and volunteer. The event provides hundreds of people the opportunity to volunteer at non-profit organizations in the community.
Formed in 1992, Day of Caring started as a way to help employees of local corporations interact with human service agencies, and has grown since its inception. This year’s Day of Caring brought together nearly 500 volunteers, who completed 46 projects at 21 non-profits in the four communities United Way serves: Bristol, Plainville, Burlington and Plymouth. From Barnes Group, Inc. to Bristol Hospital to Kohl’s, this year’s volunteers came from a variety of companies and organizations.
At Imagine Nation: A Museum Early Learning Center, at least 20 volunteers from Cigna HealthCare were scattered throughout the museum. Sarah Picard joined some of her fellow coworkers outside to help get the playscape ready for the children, completing different tasks such as cleaning out the sandboxes.
Picard, who has been volunteering for Day of Caring for five years now, said she enjoys seeing the children there smile.
“They were so excited,” said Picard.
Meanwhile, Jim Sirigos from Cigna spent his time inside one of Imagine Nation’s preschool class rooms giving back to children. Whether reading them a story or taking them for a community walk, Sirigos said this was his first time volunteering at Imagine Nation, and he enjoyed every minute of it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” said Sirigos, adding how he hopes to volunteer at the museum again. “They’re great kids.”
For Denise Barnes of Webster Bank, volunteering at Imagine Nation on the Day of Caring was so rewarding the first time she decided to return this year. A volunteer for the Day of Caring for four years now, Barnes spent time with children upstairs in the art center making palettes and then helped clean up afterwards.
“It’s a joy to be able to do this,” said Barnes.

Cigna employees Stacey Messier, left, Kim Blake, and Julie Martin participate in this year’s United Way of West Central Connecticut’s ‘Day of Caring.’

Cigna employees Stacey Messier, left, Kim Blake, and Julie Martin participate in this year’s United Way of West Central Connecticut’s ‘Day of Caring.’