This April, Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is honoring four volunteers who have made significant contributions to the organization. One of those volunteers is Wilton resident Sadiqua Azad, who has been volunteering as a member of Minks to Sinks, the massive tag sale held twice each year in Wilton to benefit FCA, for the past four years. Azad, who this year will serve as a Day Chair, managing one day of the sale, says what appeals to her about the event is both the idea of recycling items instead of discarding them, as well as volunteering alongside amazing women from the Wilton community.
In addition, Azad volunteers by teaching a cooking class for FCA clients experiencing homelessness in the agency’s Community Connections program. Approximately twice each month, she brings the necessary supplies so participants can make a healthy, inexpensive, delicious meal together.
“I love it,” she says, “especially when I cook with them and they start telling me stories, they talk and you realize you have more in common than you think.”
Each year FCA welcomes more than 800 volunteers of all ages and walks of life who generously give their time, expertise, and labor. Their contributions include tutoring young people, raising funds, collecting needed goods, providing free tax preparation for low-income community members, lending expertise as a member of the agency’s Board of Directors, and much more. FCA currently serves more than 13,000 people, and without the vital support of volunteers this would not be possible.
“Our dedicated volunteers show how impactful people can be when they come together as a community to support their neighbors. We are fortunate to have their support,” says Rob Cashel, president and CEO of FCA.
The other volunteers being recognized by FCA include:
General Reinsurance Corp. (Gen Re) is a Stamford-based company with deep roots in giving back to the community. The company and its employees have supported FCA financially for more than 27 years, and now sponsor and volunteer for seasonal parties for FCA’s Foster Care and Child & Family Development departments. “It touches your heart, because you know for some of these kids it could be their only gift or party,” said Rich Manz, Gen Re vice president.
Kristi Ng of Norwalk has experienced a wide breadth of volunteer opportunities at FCA, from committee membership to fruit donor. Now chair of the Junior Board of Advisors (JBA), a group of young professionals who plan and execute many of FCA’s signature events, she has taken an active role in FCA’s internal planning, external fundraising, and client-facing events. She has been a member of FCA’s Communications Workgroup and the planning committee for the IMAGINE benefit. She has helped make fundraising events successful, including FCA’s annual Diaper Drive and Taste of Fairfield County, and has also spent time with clients by serving holiday meals and bringing fruit to the Community Connections homeless day center. “We live here, we are part of the community, and we want to give back,” she said of herself and her husband, Banji Iyun, who is also a JBA member.
Kristi Lieberman of Westport has made volunteering a family affair. Eight years ago, Kristi came to FCA’s IMAGINE benefit as a guest of a friend, and soon joined the Gala Committee to help plan the next event. Eventually, she began doing some done-in-a-day events with her daughter, Zoe, including sorting school supplies. For the past three years, the Lieberman family has been sponsoring and volunteering at the Home Care holiday party for seniors. Each year they set up the event, help with entertainment, serve food, and more. It’s an event that means a lot to Lieberman, as she recently lost her grandfather with whom she had a special bond. Last year, her mother joined the family to help set-up and serve food and her son, Lucas, played piano. She said having her kids involved has been wonderful. “I think I’m doing a good thing not only for the people at FCA but also to have my kids see that volunteering is a lifelong activity you should make time for,” Lieberman said.