The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 24, 2013

Nonprofit groups get a boost

— Different volunteer positions require different skill sets.

Hospices need people with kind hearts to comfort families during painful times.

Women and men with green thumbs can benefit organizations looking to beautify communities with colorful landscaping.

Other organizations may be seeking  assistance with bookkeeping, grant writing, marketing, government relations and youth mentoring.

Bringing the right people and organizations together is the goal of the Lift Johns­town Project Party.

The event, which took place Thursday inside downtown Johnstown’s Pasquerilla Conference Center, attracted more than 70 nonprofits and dozens of potential volunteers.

“In many cases, people just don’t know where they’ll be able to do the most good,” said Brad Clemenson, Lift Johnstown coordinator.

The number of organizations increased by about 50 percent compared with the inaugural get-together in 2012.

“We’re real impressed with the participation,” Clemenson said.

Local chapters of some well-known national organizations participated, including the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, United Way and Goodwill.

Also present were Johns­town-based groups, including Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, Kernville Connect and 1901 Church.

“No man is an island,” said Doris Fields of Kernville Connect. “We all need help.”

Some groups had immediate volunteer positions open. Others were lining up assistance for future projects. “This is a very good opportunity for us to sign people up,” said Habitat for Humanity of Cambria County board secretary JoAnn Tomb. “We’ll send them emails whenever we’re ready to start back up (building homes) in the spring. Then, if they’re available, they can come out and help us.”

Members of Greater Johns­town High School’s Key Club and Interact Club attended.

“It’s amazing,” said Key Club member John Smith. “There’s a lot of volunteer opportunities we can take part in.”

Johnstown’s Interact Club reopened this school year after a period of dormancy. “We’re trying to volunteer ourself, but, at the same time, get the knowledge out there that Interact Club is happening again,” said club member Shayla Mathews.

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