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New Fairfield County Website Helps Volunteers

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Are you anxious to be a volunteer, but don't know how to get started?

A new website promoting volunteerism in Fairfield County has been launched that could help guide you in the right direction.

VolunteerSquare.com, a Fairfield County-based nonprofit website, announced its official launch Thursday.

The free website connects volunteers with nonprofit agencies across Fairfield County with its expansive database and "sophisticated social networking capabilities," say the website's founders.

"This is much more than a listing service. We have really built a virtual town square – an interactive online community where agencies in need can make meaningful connections with people looking to make an impact," said executive director Rachel Reese, a Fairfield resident.

"Everyone has a cause that is close to their heart and we are thrilled to help people by providing a venue for all things volunteer," said Reese.

"Volunteering is a fantastic way to not only help your community but also to stay active, keep your skills sharp and learn about an agency or type of work you may not have considered in the past," said Reese. "The opportunities in Fairfield County are endless. It's just a matter of taking that first step to find the one that's right for you."

Founder Ned Brokow of Darien believes the new website will have a "major impact.

"From the outset, we've been fostering close ties with agencies across the region, learning what they really need from their volunteers and how we can help them attract some fresh faces," said Brokow. "We think this site is the answer.

"We are proud to have some longstanding Fairfield County agencies like Stamford-based Domus, Person-to-Person in Darien and Family Centers in Greenwich on board as well as some relatively younger groups like Norwalk-based Community Plates and Neighbors Link Stamford," said Brokow. "We're looking forward to partnering with even more agencies in the next few months."

With Connecticut's unemployment rate at around 9%, VolunteerSquare.com will also be "particularly useful to those on the job hunt," Brokow said.

Some highlights of the new site include:

? Personalized e-alerts notifying users of volunteer opportunities that match their specific skills and interests;

? Interactive calendar for posting and sharing community events;

? Sophisticated, but user-friendly, social networking platform allowing volunteers and agencies to communicate directly and share photos, videos and feedback;

? Incubator function where individuals can brainstorm their own volunteer ideas;

? Automated volunteer opportunity suggestion capabilities.

Agencies connected to site also include Christian Community Action (NORWALK), Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education (STAMFORD), Fairfield Museum & History Center (FAIRFIELD), St. Luke's Lifeworks (STAMFORD), Kids Helping Kids (NEW CANAAN), Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Horizons Student Enrichment Program at New Canaan Country School, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Lupus Foundation of America, CT Chapter.

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