The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 30, 2013

Project Party will unite volunteers, nonprofits

JOHNSTOWN — If you’re looking for a way to start the new year off on the right foot, volunteering might just be the answer.

The third annual Lift Johnstown Project Party will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Pasquerilla Conference Center, 301 Napoleon St., downtown Johnstown, and the event will connect volunteers with area nonprofit organizations who are in need of assistance.

“This year we probably have over 70 nonprofits participating from Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Indiana and Westmoreland counties,” said Diana Kabo, event coordinator and an administrative assistant with Lift Johnstown. “We’re making it convenient for people to volunteer. They can come in and pick the types of work that appeal to them.”

People of all ages and abilities are being sought, with work ranging from clerical or technical tasks to physical labor and working with people.

Some of the nonprofits that are slated to participate include Bottlworks Ethnic Arts Center, Art Works Johnstown, United Way, American Red Cross, Alternative Community Resource Program, Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Best of Friends therapeutic horseback riding program and Classic Clowns.

In addition, the culinary programs from Greater Johnstown High School and Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center will be handing out samples of their food.

Also, the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in conjunction with the party.

Kabo said last year an estimated 400 people attended with about 800 volunteer positions being filled.

“We’re guessing we’ll see an increase in attendance this year,” she said. “I think the community understands that things can be accomplished through grassroot efforts. People are starting to teach their children about giving back to the community and now there’s this trend to pay it forward.”

Brad Clemenson, Lift Johnstown coordinator, added that some of the nonprofits might only need people for a day project while others need volunteers for a couple hours a week, so it’s up to the individual to decide how much time they can spare.

“A lot of people find it very rewarding to give back to the community and this party lets them get information about a wide variety of opportunities available,” he said.

The event is free and open to the public.

Any nonprofit interested in participating can email liftjohnstown@johnstownchamber.com and request a registration form.

For additional information on volunteering opportunities visit www.liftjohnstown.org and click the Get Connected link.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.

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