Blocks in Bloom is a program from CCE Monroe County that matches Master Gardener volunteers with neighborhoods who want to beautify their blocks by planting front-yard flower gardens. The program won the American Horticulture Society’s Community Greening Award in 2020.
This is a guest post by Professional Development and Volunteer Involvement Specialist Kimberly Fleming.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
— Fred Rogers
As we wrap up National Volunteer Week 2020 in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, sheltering at home and social distancing, it’s important to acknowledge the over 26,000 volunteers amplifying the efforts of Cornell Cooperative Extension in our communities. They have been making a difference for over 100 years and continue to support CCE even during this crisis. We know the determination, care, and passion of our volunteers. They will be critical in supporting our staff and programs as we move ahead in New York State’s recovery.
Our thousands of volunteers bring multiple ways of being, along with deep and diverse interests and skills. An energetic youth advocate might better connect to teens in 4-H. A passionate scientist could spark a new interest in a robotics club. An ambitious gardener or organizer might transform a neighborhood, supporting and encouraging others to plant flowers in their yards, while bringing Extension know-how and supplies to residents. A warm, understanding, and inclusive volunteer might understand how to empower and involve new visitors in a CCE meeting, event, or program.
In challenging times, people want to do something. With our volunteers, we have the skills, the advocates, the flexibility and relatability to address the crisis and strengthen our recovery and build connections and bridges to under-represented communities where the need for Extension programs will be increasing.
As we move into recovery and rebuilding, there is no question that the need for the helpers, and our amazing CCE volunteer force, will be even greater.
To learn how you can volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension, contact your local office.