Giving back is a rewarding experience for many. Community service offers volunteers the opportunity to make a positive impact, while also meeting new people and having fun.
If you would like to begin serving in Cary, start by taking a look at the list of non-profit organizations below. There is something for everyone, whether you enjoy working with children, feel more comfortable in small groups, or have a passion for music.
Kiwanis Club of Cary
The Kiwanis Club of Cary is a community service organization that completes its own service projects, while also mentoring high school volunteers who are members of the Key Club. Jenifer Clement is a former President of the Kiwanis Club of Cary, as well as the current Kiwanis Advisor to Key Clubs at Panther Creek High School and Cary High School. Clement decided to become a Kiwanis member after being impressed by her children’s positive experiences with the Key Club. Clement stated that she is “often surprised, sometimes unexpectedly, at the fulfillment [she feels] after an outing spent with our local high school students.”
Clement’s advice to those who would like to get involved in the Cary community:
“There are so many people in the Cary community with much to offer our young people, and clubs like Cary Kiwanis welcome inquiring adults! We especially rely on people looking for ways to give to the community to reach out to us so we can show first hand how we make a difference in Cary. I encourage anyone interested in getting involved with young people to do what I did and just make a phone call or send an email and ask how to learn more!”
– Jenifer Clement, former President of the Kiwanis Club of Cary & current Kiwanis Advisor to Key Clubs at Panther Creek High School and Cary High School
To learn more about the Kiwanis Club of Cary, please visit their website. It is important to note that Kiwanis has clubs for those of all ages. Kiwanis Kids clubs are for elementary schoolers, Builders Clubs are for middle schoolers, Key Clubs are for high schoolers, Circle K clubs are for college students, and Kiwanis Club International is for adults.
Cary Central Rotary Club
The Cary Central Rotary Club completes various service projects in the community, such as Meals on Wheels and Memory Cafe. While the club is small, its members strive to make a difference. Club President Jim Stine stressed the “friendliness of the members,” as well as their desire to serve. As a member of Cary Central Rotary Club, Stine had the opportunity to build “a greenhouse for a local elementary school in downtown Cary,” a project that he enjoyed because it allowed members “to work together as a team.”
His advice to those who would like to get involved in the Cary community is simple:
“Join the Cary Central Rotary Club.”
– Jim Stine, President of the Cary Central Rotary Club
To learn more about the Cary Central Rotary Club, visit their website. Those with an interest in the rotary club are invited to attend one of their meetings at the Mayton Inn on Academy Street in Downtown Cary.
Cary Town Band
Cary Town Band Publicity Coordinator & Town Liaison Cindy Sinkez describes the Cary Town Band as “a community band,” and notes that she and her fellow band members “don’t take [themselves] too seriously.” If you have an interest in music, but haven’t had a career in the music industry, don’t worry – Sinkez says most of the members participate in the band just because they enjoy it. While some of the band’s performances have focused on more serious topics, such as honoring veterans, they have also had a dog perform with them. Sinkez admits that their performances “are indeed silly but that is what makes it fun.”
Her advice to those who are interested in becoming active in the Cary community:
“There are so many ways to get involved. Follow your passion and you will find a way to give back. The Town of Cary offers many ways to volunteer. You can make a donation to the relief for recreation scholarship program, you could run a dance class, teach a child to read etc. The Town of Cary has a volunteer section on its website. Schools, churches, sports venues, musical groups are all looking for volunteers. If you are interested in performing in a community band we are always looking to add to our ranks. Check out our website at CaryTownBand.org. CaryCitizen has an entire page dedicated to non-profits in the area. They are terrific avenues to give back to the community.”
– Cindy Sinkez, Cary Town Band Publicity Coordinator & Town Liaison
As Sinkez mentioned, the Town of Cary’s volunteer section, the Cary Town Band’s website, and the CaryCitizen’s page devoted to non-profit organizations are excellent resources for those who would like to get involved.
Cary Women’s Giving Network
The Cary Women’s Giving Network, or CWGN for short, is a committee within the Cary Community Foundation that was started by Sheila Ogle and Jenifer Robinson. Ogle explains that she and Robinson started the committee because they “wanted to expand the Cary Community Foundation’s awareness in our town.” The CWGN asks that members donate $600 annually. This money “is parlayed with other women’s donations to give meaningful donations to Cary non-profits each year,” according to Ogle. The CWGN hosts one event, a Grant Awards Celebration. While this is the group’s sole event, Ogle notes that the celebration “is certainly something to be proud of!!”
Ogle’s advice to those who want to become involved in the Cary community is centered around the duties of a CWGN member:
“It is so easy…commit to $600.00 per year for 3 years and then vote on your favorite non-profit to receive a grant. Attend one of our monthly non-profit luncheons. We meet on the 4th Monday of most months at a local restaurant and invite one non-profit group to present to us. This is supplemented with 2 or 3 socials during the year to increase our membership, celebrate the holidays or summer social. The luncheon meetings gives our members a good idea of the mission and vision of that non-profit if they submit a grant request. No one is required to attend as it purely voluntary but lots of fun.”
– Sheila Ogle, A Founder of the Cary Women’s Giving Network
For more information on the Cary Women’s Giving Network, visit this section of the North Carolina Community Foundation’s website.
Read and Feed
Through Read and Feed, disadvantaged elementary school children are given meals and the opportunity to work with reading tutors. Operations Manager Jamie Buning believes that “reading and writing are essential skills to be able to succeed in school and beyond.” Read and Feed works with Wake County Public Schools to ensure that the children who have the greatest need for their services receive them. The organization will be hosting its 2nd annual Rock and Roast on September 15th at the Marbles Kids Museum. Buning describes the Rock and Roast as “a fundraising event with oysters, drinks, dancing, and a silent auction.”
Buning’s advice to those who would like to get involved in the Cary community:
“A good list to start with is available here: https://www.carymagazine.com/charity-organizations. Otherwise, I’d say to research organizations in the Cary area that interest you and then reach out to them via email or phone to ask about volunteer opportunities.”
– Jamie Buning, Operations Manager of Read and Feed
No matter how you decide to serve the Cary community, make sure that you enjoy what you do. Dr. Kazmer and his wife Janet know the importance of service, and are active in the St. Michael School community.
Take care of your smile…and don’t forget to share that smile with others!