City of Columbia volunteer Sean Spence says his involvement with the Adapted Community Recreation Program at Paquin Towers initially stemmed from fears about the Program’s 2009 budget: “I attended a meeting about a reduction in funding for the Adapted Community Recreation Program, and I realized the need to get the community more involved in supporting those efforts.”
From that recognition grew a funding effort, known as CARE@Paquin, made up of more than 150 volunteers and donors. Over the last thirteen months, this small non-profit organization has raised $11,000; it donated $5,000 of that money to the City for the Adapted Community Recreation Program, and invested $5,000 for the program’s long-term benefit. The Adapted Community Recreation Program, part of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, provides low income Columbians with disabilities a variety of classes, activities and trips. Spence says that CARE@Paquin is on track to donate at least $5,000 again this year, due in no small part to the strong partnerships that have formed throughout the city. Says Spence, “I’d like to think I played a small role in helping the community at large recognize this program.”
Spence says that volunteering in Columbia provides him the opportunity to participate in activities that touch a diverse range of people. “Volunteering for the City affects all of us, rich or poor, black or white, down-town and around town. It’s a great way of making an impact on everybody.”
Spence also coordinates the volunteer efforts of the Columbia Rotary Club in its participation in the children’s Punt Pass & Kick event, which he has done for the last four years. And Spence is co-planning with Margaret Hickem a community-wide tribute dinner for Mayor Darwin Hindman to take place March 27, 2010.
– Submitted by volunteer Sarah G. Madden