Endless opportunities to get involved

What's your passion? Central New York let's you put it to work. It's richly rewarding, makes our region even better, and builds a networks of friends having fun and learning new skills. It's why CNY companies want their employees to volunteer.

It's easy to get involved in Central New York. Volunteercny.org is one starting point. The site is run by the United Way of Central New York, where volunteers donated more than 40,000 hours in 2017. The 180 members of Young Leaders United get together for leadership training and volunteer together.

Central New York has a long tradition of volunteering and social responsibility. It's part of the culture ingrained since our early history of community action in abolition and women's rights. Edwards has a long list of businesses that encourage volunteerism. Executives know it strengthens the community, helps employees learn new skills, and lets them develop their leadership potential. Generations have benefited from it, and the latest leaders are glad to know it's part of an expected lifestyle.


SRC Inc., in North Syracuse, is a prime example of the volunteer culture of CNY. SRC invents, designs, and builds sensor and electronic systems in the defense, environment, intelligence, and related high-tech fields. The company's mission is to keep America and its allies safe and strong. The company and its 850-plus employees in CNY are known for being involved in the community and for volunteering their time and talent. Buses of youngsters come to the research campus regularly to be paired with engineer and scientist mentors. SRC’s employees show up at dozens of events and community groups to volunteer, mentor, and coach.

Paul Tremont, SRC's president and CEO, sees many personal and professional benefits. Among the benefits Paul sees: It’s an opportunity to come together outside of work. It strengthens the workforce. It makes sure our children, our future employees, our future leaders, are getting good educations. It helps us to accomplish our mission because strong communities make a strong nation.

Central New Yorkers know that volunteering stirs up conversations that enrich lives, enrich relationships, and make the whole community better. Just about everyone pitches in. Look at the Christmas Bureau. Every December, more than 1,400 volunteers come out to make sure thousands of low-income children receive gifts, food, and books to make their holidays happier. The Samaritan Center serves meals to the hungry three times a day every day of the year and relies on 1,500 volunteers a month to do that work. Once a year, you can serve a breakfast to someone hungry before you go to work, or you can make a sandwiches at home with friends and drop them off.

For anyone who thinks they don't have time to volunteer, annual events will welcome your time, even if it's only for an hour. It might be the Komen Central New York Race for the Cure or the American Heart Association's Walk. It might be the St. Patrick's Parade. It might be helping at a festival with music or ethnic food you enjoy. If you're a skiier, you can volunteer at ARISE, help handicapped children, and meet others interested in skiing. No matter what your interest, someone will be happy to see you.


The E.M. Mills Rose Garden has been delighting visitors since 1925. It's a gorgeous garden in Thornden Park neighboring the Syracuse University campus. The garden and thousands of rose bushes are maintained by an army of volunteers. That army speaks volumes about Central New Yorkers' devotion to civic works. Not everybody cares about growing roses, but whatever you want to cultivate in your life, Central New York has a way for you to do it.