Although volunteering and altruism are recognized factors in healing people with a range of disabilities, these individuals are not typically welcomed into community service environments.
Under the leadership of Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR, Afya’s Founder and CEO, teams of graduate-level Occupational Therapists have developed a strong program to help. People with psychiatric, developmental and physical disabilities are wholeheartedly welcomed at Afya’s warehouse, where they have the opportunity to heal through volunteerism, and can learn vocational skills to use as they enter the work world. This program is financially supported by a charitable grant from UJA-Federation of New York and the Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation.
On August 1st, Afya honored volunteers from Westchester School for Special Children, Special Citizen, Arc of Westchester, Devereux School & Adult Program, YAI, Special Citizen Spectrum Space, Another Step, Ability Beyond, Hawthorne Foundation, Jawonio, Yonkers Public Schools, Riverdale Mental Health, Community Based Services, SAIL at Ferncliff Manor and Abilis at their warehouse, located on the 2nd floor at 140 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers.
This special, heart-filled group of volunteers are normally not included in community-based volunteer work, but their commitment and hard work at Afya is invaluable. With the help of these volunteers, they were able to sort over 100,000 pounds of disaster relief supplies and deliver these products to Puerto Rico. Special awards were given to key volunteers.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senator and Democratic Conference Leader, opened the award ceremony. All recipients received certificates from Westchester County Executive, Westchester Board of Legislators, New York State Senate and the Mayor’s Office of Yonkers.
The Afya Foundation collects surplus medical supplies, hospital equipment and humanitarian provisions from the New York healthcare, corporate and private communities, and sends them abroad to support ongoing health initiatives worldwide. Danielle Butin founded the not-for-profit organization in 2007 after a life-changing trip to Africa, during which she witnessed a lack of the most basic medical supplies, and spoke to health care providers who felt unequipped to deliver adequate care. Since then, Afya has shipped over eight million pounds of desperately needed supplies to 75 countries. By keeping these tons of perfectly usable goods from reaching the landfill and waste incineration facilities for which they were destined, Afya creates a unique win-win situation – creating meaningful opportunities that promote healing for volunteers, positively impacting the local environment, and delivering medical supplies to the most underserved populations across the globe
For more information on Afya’s work, visit the Afya website