November 18, 2013 | Press
Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), a not-for-profit that benefits and proudly supports more than 3,500 individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injuries, will expand on a work- readiness volunteerism program in collaboration with Long Island Maritime Museum, on the Great South Bay, and part of the Suffolk County Park system.
The pilot program is for differently-abled individuals from FREE who volunteer at the West Sayville-based museum twice-a-week as part of the museum’s “Collections Care Crew.” Beginning in spring 2014, the program will be available to school districts so that special education students can participate.
The “Collections Care Crew” wash, polish and maintain a collection of beautiful wooden boats at the museum where the boats are displayed. FREE individuals, working in teams, volunteered from May through October of this year and will again in the spring.
FREE’s volunteerism program provides unpaid work experiences to participants who are assessed for potential future employment. It is more structured and routine than typical volunteer work, fostering a positive work ethic and a sense of what it is like to be employed.
“FREE’s collaboration with Long Island Maritime Museum has been highly beneficial to our individuals and we look forward to growing the volunteerism program to imbue others with greater self-esteem and the importance of teamwork and communication so that they become work-ready,” remarked Robert S. Budd, CEO for FREE.
“We have been fortunate to have the FREE ‘Collections Care Crew’ with us for the season! This well-supervised group was always there week in and week out, keeping our Small Craft Building and the 60 display vessels within the building in top shape. These old wooden boats require extra care to maintain them properly and we appreciate the work that the Crew did. We look forward to having them back in the spring,” said Stephen M. Jones, Executive Director, Long Island Maritime Museum.