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(Posted 6-2-04)
Contact: Sean Olson, 336-334-5371

Partnership FIVE Brings Volunteers to Garden

GREENSBORO – A program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro will give volunteers with disabilities a chance to raise vegetables for a good cause this summer.

Beginning June 9, Partnership FIVE will take volunteers to the Cooperative Extension Office Guilford County Center on Burlington Road every Wednesday to work on a vegetable garden. The volunteers will work on the garden throughout the summer, said Kim Miller, project coordinator for Partnership FIVE.  Once harvested, the produce will be donated to Greensboro Urban Ministries and several shelters.

Partnership FIVE (Fostering Inclusive Volunteer Efforts) aims to recruit volunteers with disabilities who are often overlooked in volunteer recruiting efforts.  The volunteers work on community projects, ranging from cleaning up blighted neighborhoods to delivering meals to home-bound clients, just as volunteers without disabilities do.  Dr. Stuart J. Schleien, head of the UNCG Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism said Partnership FIVE hopes to eliminate a disconnect between potential volunteers with disabilities and volunteer efforts.

“Any group of people that volunteers does so because they are asked to volunteer,” Schleien said. “But no one ever asks people with disabilities to volunteer. They are not typically seen in that light, as individuals who can make important contributions in the community. We are attempting to change that mindset.”

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