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Explore the Best Places to Volunteer in Albany at the 2019 Ignite Volunteer Festival

Editor's Note (8/31/2020): In place of the traditional Ignite Volunteer Festival, Christ's Church Albany is hosting a Serve Albany Mentor Week from August 31 - September 5 to connect mentors/tutors with students. To learn more about the event and how to volunteer as a mentor, read the article here. We will provide details on the 2021 Ignite Volunteer Festival when they are announced.

From the vibrant downtown area to the wide variety of restaurants, shops, and arts venues, there's a lot to love about the City of Albany. If you take pride in being part of this community, then one of the best ways to give back is by volunteering for a local cause.

The Albany area is home to numerous organizations that could use a helping hand to further their mission. To find the right volunteer position for you, attend the 2019 Ignite Volunteer Festival on November 17 and connect with over 40 non-profits at the Albany Capital Center.

promo image for ignite volunteer festival

It's Time to Ignite Your Volunteering Spirit

Hosted by Serve Albany, an initiative of Christ's Church Albany, the Ignite Volunteer Festival was created to introduce community members to all the great volunteer opportunities the city has to offer. Each year this volunteer-centric event brings together the best of Albany's food, art, music, and non-profit organizations for a fun and educational day.

At Ignite, you can talk with representatives from local non-profits and hear about their unique goals. Then, you can decide which causes you feel strongly about and learn how you can make an impact.

two women at a booth

The list of organizations at this year's festival includes Capital City Rescue Mission, IPH, Trinity, Rebuilding the City, HATAS, FOCUS Churches, Habitat for Humanity, Grassroot Givers, Albany Public Library, Mission Accomplished, Tru Heart, City School District of Albany, and others.

Whether it's spending time with patients at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center or participating in programs at the Albany Public Library, there are many volunteer positions waiting to be filled in the region.

man at an educational booth

Enjoy the Festivities & Get Involved in the Community

The 2019 Ignite Volunteer Festival on November 17 will run from 12:00pm-4:00pm at the Albany Capital Center. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can walk around, check out the non-profit booths, listen to the featured speakers, and have fun at this amazing community event.

Music, Art & Food

musicians playing instruments

You can't have a festival without music, and at Ignite, there will be performances from DJ Trumastr, DJ HollyW8D, Justin Clark, and the Albany Jazz Band. When paired with the art displays by the Albany Center Gallery, you'll be able to experience a sample of Albany's flourishing music and arts scene.

Speaking of samples, don't miss out on the food tastings from Mazzone Hospitality, Public House 42, Honest Weight Food Co-Op, AMA Cocina, Albany High Culinary, and New World Bistro Bar. Enjoy the fantastic flavors provided by local chefs.

Panel Discussions

Serve Albany has added two enlightening panel discussions to the 2019 Ignite Volunteer Festival. Each event will educate attendees about different volunteer-related topics.

At 12:30pm, the first panel discussion will focus on the impact of volunteers who have professional expertise in publicity, design, business strategy, finance, and other specialized skills. The discussion will be led by Carolyn Grosvenor, MD, MPH (Albany VA Medical Center and University at Albany), Gary H. Striar (Regional Chief Executive Officer - American Red Cross), Charmaine Ushkow (Director of Community Engagement - Times Union), and Kathy Lanni (Chief Community Officer - SEFCU).

Later on at 2:00pm, there will be a second panel discussion about "Why is Volunteering so White: A Discussion about Race and Volunteering." Albany is 45% People of Color, 30% African American, yet many of the volunteer roles are filled with white people. Join Serve Albany for an important conversation on the importance of adding diversity to serving our city.

Presented by Citizens Action, speakers will include Superintendent Adams (Albany Schools), Paul Collins-Hackett "Batman" (Pulse), Tracie Killar (South End Cafe), Clyanna Lightbourn (Citizens Action), Jessica Wayde Coles (Power Breakfast), and Alfredo Medina, Jr. (University at Albany).

Volunteer of the Year Awards

large meeting room with chairs and lights

The Volunteer of the Year Awards at 3:15pm will recognize 40 individuals who were nominated by their non-profit as "Volunteer of the Year." Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will make a special appearance and speak at the awards ceremony.

Find Convenient Parking Options Near the Albany Capital Center

Planning to attend Ignite at the Albany Capital Center this year? You'll be happy to hear there are free parking options close by. For those who arrive early, you can get a spot in the Albany Capital Center and Times Union Center parking garages. The Albany Capital Center parking garage is located at 7 Wendell Street, and the Times Union Center parking garage is located at 100 Beaver Street.

There are two paid parking options that directly connect to the Albany Capital Center via enclosed walkways: Renaissance Albany Parking Garage at 49 Howard Street and Empire State Plaza Visitor Parking Lot at S. Mall Arterial, V Lot.

Join Serve Albany Today & Make an Impact

woman signing clipboard with people nearby

Serve Albany is more than just the host of Ignite, it is also an initiative of Christ's Church Albany. Founded in 2013, the church believes that serving others and giving back to the community is the best way to live, which is why they started Serve Albany.

Their goal is to make it easy for anyone in Albany to help solve problems facing people in the city, such as hunger, poverty, loneliness, and sickness.

Now is the time to make a difference in your community. Visit Christ's Church Albany's website today for more info on Ignite and their mission »

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