Cambridge Celebrates Human Service Agency Volunteers


                                           Cambridge Human Services Commission







Caspar Staff & Volunteers with Ellen Semonoff, Asst.
                                                                                         City Manager for DHSP and Robert Hurlbut, Exec.
                                                                                         Director of Community Foundation.

The City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) last week held a special event, “Celebrating Volunteer Spirit,” to honor the various human services agencies and their volunteers who really make a difference in our community.

Cambridge Mayor David Maher extended a warm welcome on behalf of the city. “From my many years of working in non-profit agencies and in government, I know that when the non-profit agencies come together with local government and the business community, their combined efforts to enhance the community really make Cambridge a very special place to live, ” Maher said. He also noted the extraordinary contributions made by dedicated volunteers who provide many different types of services in local agencies, ranging from programmatic work with individuals and groups to providing advice and guidance as members of boards and committees.

The City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs, the Human Services Commission and the Cambridge Community Foundation sponsored the celebration at the Citywide Senior Center.  Each year, the sponsors invite the local human services community to come together for an event which may vary from a public hearing on community needs, to a dialogue on a particular topic in human services, to an appreciation function for the essential work done by the service providers.  This year featured the “Celebrating Volunteer Spirit” theme. The human services agencies funded by the city with Community Development Block Grant monies were invited to bring volunteers to be honored.


Ellen T. McLaughlin, Executive Director of Tutoring Plus of Cambridge, Inc., addressed the group on "Harnessing the Power of Volunteers", including tips on how to recruit, train, communicate, engage and value volunteers in an organization. She remarked that consistent communication with volunteers is crucial and that these efforts should be tailored to the ways in which individual volunteers prefer to receive information.


Adam Compain, an Account Manager at Google, spoke about “Free Google Tools to Help You Better Service the Community”, demonstrating how these resources can help with administrative challenges and improve communication and collaboration so that more of agencies’ valuable time can go toward helping the community. In a presentation leavened with humor, some of the tools he demonstrated included Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Forms, Gmail, Calendar,  Translator, Contacts, YouTube and Google Grants for non-profit use in advertising.


Acknowledging the role of volunteers in helping service providers stretch limited financial resources, especially in these challenging economic times, Assistant City Manager for Human Services Ellen Semonoff and Cambridge Community Foundation Executive Director Robert S. Hurlbut Jr. presented certificates of appreciation to honorees, including:

Elizabeth Gilmore, Board Chairperson of The Guidance Center;
Susan Corcoran, Community Legal Services;
Counseling Center volunteer Karen Laidlaw, CASPAR Board Member;
Richard Kelley, Jarrell Lee and Adam Travis, Philips Brooks House program volunteers;
Jean Mike Remy, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House afterschool program volunteer;
Bruce Martin, Young People’s Project volunteer; and
Tim Garrity, Cambridge Camping Association volunteer.


For more information, contact Stephanie Ackert, Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs at 617-349-6204 or .

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