Volunteer Spotlight: Damien Cole

Damien Cole, a local Poughkeepsie resident and Nubian Directions YouthBuild/AmeriCorps member, is dedicated to volunteering.

Nubian Directions works to provide technology training, work readiness skills and educational support services for youth and adults to enhance the workforce. They are well known for their community development activities.

Damien is grateful to be a part of the New Directions YouthBuild & AmeriCorps program. Their most recent community service project was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, during which volunteers from the organization sorted books at United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. The volunteers spent the entirety of the day categorizing and labeling thousands of books, all of which were donated by organizations such as Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the Culinary Institute of America, and Girls on the Run.  

On Friday, February 19th several nonprofits participated in the Day of Sharing, where the books sorted by YouthBuild members came in handy! Thanks to the hardworking volunteers from Nubian Directions, local organizations were able to gather countless books and bring them back to the families they serve.

The books also were an essential part of Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2 - Dr. Seuss's birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids and books to celebrate reading!

Damien, who discovered his love for volunteering when he started at YouthBuild, has had a variety of service experiences in the community. From cleaning up litter in local parks to working at food pantries, Damien says that volunteering is important. “It gives me the chance to help people who might not be able to help themselves.” Reflecting upon his time volunteering, Damien’s favorite experience was cooking food with his fellow volunteers at Nubian Directions and then going around the city to feed the hungry. “I was happy to provide a warm meal for those in need,” said Damien.

Damien says any volunteer experience is worthwhile and encourages those hesitant to try it! “I know it might seem nerve-racking at first, but volunteering is a good experience that can teach you about the community,” stated Damien. He dreams of one day owning his own construction business. Dedicated to giving back to the community, he says he would use any leftover supplies to build shelters for the homeless.  

Damien has caught the volunteering bug and plans to never stop! To learn about the many ways YOU can help your community visit the Volunteer Portal at volunteer.uwdor.org.

―Kelsey Bradley, Community Impact Intern