Apply to be a volunteer (note: student volunteers fill out a different application):
Download Community Member Volunteer Application (Word Document) and mail completed form to: Sharon Kaplan, Director of Volunteer Services, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, 612 West State St, Ithaca, NY 14850 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fill out the online form here now!
This position will provide 2-3 academic credits (upon approval) and requires 8-10 hours per week over the semester. It is two-thirds administrative and one-third client support. The candidate must be available Tuesdays 4:30-7:30pm. The remaining hours are flexible, but need to be completed during regular business hours.
- Provide support for fundraising activities—event promotion (social media, website, postering), logistics
- General—help manage donor database, organization of client records, mailings, other projects as assigned
- Research—may include finding information about cancer, treatment, support programs, supplies
- Answering phones, greeting clients, general office help, occasional moving and lifting of boxes
- Assist with planning and implementation of annual events: Retreat for women with cancer (Spring) or Walkathon (Fall).
- Assist staff with other duties as needed.
Client support duties:
- Accompany Director of Client Services to Cayuga Medical Center to visit with and provide support to cancer patients.
- Set up and clean up for Tuesday evening groups.
- Attend support groups as an observer.
- Qualifications: Attention to detail, working knowledge of website design & social networking preferred, creative problem-solver, good eye for formatting (documents, signs, spreadsheets), strong communication skills, compassionate, sense of humor, and positive energy! Experience with cancer patients helpful, but not required.
To apply, send your letter of intent and resume/CV to Sharon Kaplan, Director of Volunteers.
- Write press releases, prepare and record radio ads, public service announcements, and other PR tasks. Design ads and promotional materials. Manage social networking information. Update website. Write content for website and other outlets. Create marketing campaigns for specific programs and events.
- Qualifications: Excellent writing and organizational skills. Must be able to work independently and meet deadlines. Junior or senior Communications major preferred.
To apply, send your letter of intent and resume/CV to Sharon Kaplan, Director of Volunteers.
- Volunteers are a regular presence at Cayuga Medical Center, in the chemotherapy suite as well as the Radiation Medicine waiting room. They greet patients as they arrive for appointments, talk with family members, serve coffee and food, and other non-medical patient support. During the Spring and Fall semesters, these shifts are only available through the Patient Care Advocacy Team/PCAT program.
If you are interested in a shift over the summer, please contact Sharon Kaplan, Director of Volunteers.
How do you use volunteers?
Volunteers fill a variety of different roles within our organization. Below are a few examples of the work they do.
- Non-Direct Client Support
General office tasks and projects
Help at our annual Walkathon & 5K Run
Serve on our board or one of our committees
Assist with fundraising, PR, and/or Marketing
Staff educational displays at public events
Tend our gardens
Fix and/or build things around our office
- Direct Client Support
Provide information and support at the CRC office or Cayuga Medical Center
Write friendly greeting cards to clients
Transportation to medical appointments (arranged through American Cancer Society)
Click here for further information about volunteer opportunities.
You can also contact Sharon Kaplan, Director of Volunteer Services email@example.com or 277-0960.
Do I need to be a cancer survivor?
No. Some of our staff and many of our volunteers are people who have not had cancer themselves, but are committed to helping in a variety of ways.
What is the training?
The type and duration of training depends upon your volunteer position. For volunteers who routinely provide direct support to clients, you’ll receive an initial 6-hour training in confidentiality, active listening skills, boundaries, cancer basics, and more. You will be expected to attend monthly 1 ½ hour meetings for all direct client service volunteers. For volunteers who help at special events, such as fundraisers and outreach, training will be provided for your specific task on the day of the event.
What is the time commitment?
This depends upon the type of volunteer position you choose. Some of our volunteers work only one day per year at the Walkathon & 5K or some other event. Others are able to work 3-4 hours per week. Many volunteer just a few hours each month.
Can I volunteer in the evenings and on weekends?
We do have opportunities for people with limited availability. Please check with the Director of Volunteer Services to inquire about current openings.
Do you perform a background check?
Yes, if you will be working directly with clients. CRC covers the cost of the background check. We also ask you to provide us with 3 character references.
Cancer Resource Center Office (note: due to COVID19, this is on hold at this time)
Volunteers staff our reception area during regular business hours. They answer phones, greet visitors, meet with clients, and do projects as needed.
Cancer Support at Cayuga Medical Center (note: due to COVID19, this role is limited to health screening tables at this time).
Volunteers are a regular presence in the chemotherapy suite as well as the waiting room of Radiation Medicine. They greet patients as they arrive for appointments, talk with family members, serve coffee and snacks, and offer general support.
Volunteers assist individuals and their family members with financial issues related to their cancer diagnosis. They may help with any of the following: organizing bills, identifying resources to help pay for medical bills and expenses, filling out forms, appealing insurance company denials, etc.
Volunteers are needed to give occasional rides to medical appointments for clients who don’t have reliable transportation or are too weak to drive. They may also be requested to accompany the client into their doctor’s office to provide support during the appointment. We partner with American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery Ride program to provide this service.
For people who are looking to volunteer in a meaningful way, but are very limited with their time, an option is to maintain regular correspondence with clients via letters/cards, phone calls or e-mails.
Our biggest fundraiser of the year requires hundreds of volunteers and months of planning. Take part in the action by helping with flyer distributions, contacting local businesses, identifying team leaders to raise money, and much, much more.
Be part of the group of volunteers who help us with light maintenance and small repair issues for our office building.
Board, Committees, & Internships
Board of Directors
The board of directors is responsible for policy development and oversight of the entire organization. Board members play a key role in CRC relations with the greater community.
Development, Finance, Client Services, and other committees are comprised of community members, board representatives, and staff. Individuals with a genuine interest in the mission of CRC, who communicate well with others, and who bring a wide range of interests and backgrounds are sought to complement the roles of board and staff.
Students from Ithaca College, Cornell, and TC3 help CRC staff with a variety of tasks and projects. Click on “College Student” below for full job descriptions as well as how to apply.
Videos:Brené Brown on Empathy Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care The Power of Empathy: Helen Reiss TED Talk Transforming Health Care through the Paradigm of Palliative Care:
Free Online Learning Opportunities
Introduction to the Science of Cancer (Ohio State)
Introduction to the Biology of Cancer (Johns Hopkins)
Cancer in the Community (Royal Marsden Hospital)
E-Training for Patients and Advocates and the Community (Cancer Information and Support
As a long-time member of the Ithaca community, Sally Grubb has volunteered since she first came to town in 1978. Her volunteer and professional lives have been varied and long. She was very active in her children’s school as well as several local bookstores. Sally worked for TCPL as Exhibit Coordinator, just recently retiring from that position. She has served on many different boards, including the Ithaca City School District, the City Federation of Women’s Organizations, and the Community Arts Partnership. Sally has been touched deeply by the support she received at CRC during her own breast cancer journey. Her family and friends have also been affected by cancer. It was this personal experience that motivated her to give back to her community once again. This time, as a Reception volunteer with the Cancer Resource Center, providing support and information to those who, like herself, have been affected by cancer.
Brenda Zavaski is a retired Special Education Teacher/Elementary Principal. She presently serves as a Trustee on the Lansing Central School District Board of Education. Brenda battled breast cancer in 2016 and was a client of CRC. Recognizing the importance of their support & services, she has been a volunteer since the summer of 2017.
Brenda had worked at the CRC office until the beginning of the pandemic. Now she makes friendly phone calls to clients from her home as well as making contacts for Peer-to-Peer support.
Brenda’s husband is also a volunteer at CHOA. They live in Lansing and enjoy their time at the lake; especially when their three adult children, spouses and grandchildren visit.
Barbara Groo lived most of her life in New York City, where she worked in IT on Wall Street. She volunteered at Hospital for Special Surgery from 1986 until 2015, when, in a dramatic change of pace, she moved to Ithaca to be closer to family. Barbara soon realized she wanted to continue her volunteer work in a hospital setting. She became a Client Support Volunteer in the chemo suite, fulfilling her desire to help cancer patients ease the fear and anxiety of going through treatment. After volunteers were suspended from Cayuga Medical Center due to COVID restrictions, Barbara switched gears and signed up to prepare COVID test kits. While she enjoys helping with whatever is needed, she greatly misses the wonderful patient interaction and looks forward to returning to the chemo suite. The CMC staff miss Barbara's bright energy and the positive vibe she brings to everyone she encounters. Barbara also finds satisfaction in writing cards to some CRC clients once a month. She adds a personal touch by including upbeat vignettes from the NYTimes or the newspaper.
Beth Lalonde grew up in Canada and came to the US to attend school. She and her husband moved to Ithaca in 1995, when she took a position as a biology researcher at Cornell. While raising two children, Beth was actively involved in her kids’ school, music, and sports activities. When she retired from Cornell in 2015, she started looking for a place to volunteer in the community. But life had other plans for her! Beth was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after retiring, and subsequently spent a year in treatment. She found the CRC staff very supportive while dealing with her own cancer diagnosis and was impressed with the variety of services they offer. So, once she felt better, CRC seemed like a logical place for her to volunteer. Beth started out as an office volunteer, then soon became a financial advocate for clients who need assistance with financial matters related to their cancer diagnosis. She feels like her experience with cancer has been an advantage in her interactions with CRC clients. She truly understands the toll cancer treatments take and finds it really rewarding to help support others during their own cancer journey.
Marcie Kreydt joined the CRC volunteer team after working as the Southern Tier Regional Director for Camp Good Days & Special Times for the past ten years. This is an organization that provides programs for children, adults and families impacted by cancer. She pioneered many successful events like the “Classic Courage” Cornell hockey game and the Pink Gala, which both raise money for the Women’s Oncology Programs at Camp Good Days. Marcie facilitates the CRC Caregiver's Group on the first Tuesday of every month and serves as CRC's Family Support Coordinator. When Marcie is not busy serving her community, you can find her at home or traveling with her husband (a cancer survivor) and three children.
Karl Paulnack is a long-term survivor of pancreatic cancer and completed a month-long inpatient stay, including a Whipple procedure, at Tompkins Community Hospital (predecessor to Cayuga Medical Center) in 1994. Currently on a final sabbatical from Ithaca College, where he served as dean of the music school since 2013, he feels passionate about giving back to the place that supported him through his cancer journey. Karl is a nationally recognized pianist, educator, author and speaker, and remains active as a performer, presenter, board member and consultant to a number of musical and educational organizations. Karl’s goal is to engage in meaningful personal support with patients undergoing cancer treatment. In addition to volunteering as a COVID screener at CMC, Karl provides gentle support to CRC clients over the phone. Karl lives in Ithaca with Dave, his husband of 28 years, and their dog Mato, 85 pounds of love and mischief in a Labrador/Bulldog mix.
Faith Kessler, LMT, CSW, trained at the Swedish Institute in NYC, where she learned massage techniques designed to improve circulation and lymph flow, and has been practicing therapeutic massage since 1995. Her practice continues to evolve as her interests lead her to learn new modalities, most recently energy work and cupping. As both a cancer and childhood abuse survivor, Faith brings a loving sensitivity and a unique intuition to her practice. She appreciates and values the special trust between client and practitioner. Volunteering at CRC has allowed Faith to give back to a wonderful organization whose services were immeasurably helpful to her during her own cancer journey several years ago. Providing care to those feeling vulnerable and depleted enables her to feel connected and use her extensive experience to soothe others in the way she knows best. For this she is truly grateful.
Jess is an active member of her community who likes to make connections. She enjoys being around people and animals and has previously volunteered with several organizations. One of her goals includes learning American Sign Language so she can make more connections with people of different languages and cultures. She likes to be positive and spread joy. Jess enjoys writing poetry, which led her to bring her creative writing skills to CRC. She joined CRC as a volunteer so others know they are important and not alone. Her connection with people who are facing cancer motivates her to encourage others to continue their journey with a smile.
Alicia Duran is a senior and accelerated master's student at Cornell University. She is majoring in health care policy and is working towards a Master's in Health Administration. She became involved with CRC this past summer as a remote administrative assistant and is continuing her position into the academic year, helping with everything from research to data entry (and lots of stuff in between!) Alicia hopes to turn her passion for helping her community into a mission-driven career in health administration. Outside of work and academics, Alicia enjoys trying new restaurants in Ithaca and going fruit picking at nearby farms.
Rebecca McTavish moved to Ithaca from Australia at the end of 2019, while her husband completes his PhD program at Cornell. She earned a Bachelor of Music specializing in the Classical Trombone and has years of experience in administration and customer service. It is easy to say that she has a ‘stable’ obsession with popcorn, and loves to contribute to the community in any way she can. She has found the staff and volunteers of this non-profit organization very dedicated and welcoming. Rebecca is a perfect addition to our Reception Volunteer group, able to graciously assist clients as well as help with an endless number of projects.
Veronica Del Manzano
Veronica Del Manzano joined our group of Financial Advocate Volunteers in March 2019, and provides our clients with assistance navigating the challenges that come with paying for cancer treatment. She has extensive knowledge about the insurance world due to her work as an agent with PW Wood and Son, Inc. In a past life, she and her partner owned and managaed a restaurant in Puerto Rico.
John Zavaski serves as a Client Support Volunteer at CMC. He does a weekly shift in the chemo suite, talking with patients, serving snacks, and generally doing what he can to make the patients and caregivers more comfortable. His calm, friendly demeanor puts people immediatley at ease. John is no stranger to the hospital environment, having retired as a Laboratory Supervisor at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. In addition to volunteering for CRC, John also teaches Microbiology to Nursing students at TC3.
Some of you may recognize this man as the former Executive Director of CRC. Bob Riter just loves us so much, he came back as a volunteer! He regularly facilitates our Men's Breakfast Club on Friday mornings as well as contributes to the monthly e-news. In his free time, Bob enjoys hanging out with his dog Sunshine, napping, and attending various groups and presentations related to cancer. He is an accomplished Aquaciser & seriously enjoys going out for breakfast.
After unexpectedly losing her father to cancer, Amy Chapman really wanted to get involved by helping others in the community. She heard about the Cancer Resource Center through some local people, who said it was a wonderful organization. CRC has always had a great reputation, and after volunteering with them she can see why! Amy has witnessed firsthand how busy it can get at the CRC office. She feels like the CRC staff have so much to do and are incredibly appreciative of their volunteers. She is grateful to be able to help them by lessening their workload of general office tasks.
Linda Nobles knows how hard it is to focus on anything when you have cancer. She has been a caregiver to many friends with the disease and realized that she wanted to continue to help others through volunteer work. As the former Associate Director for Benefits Analysis at Cornell, Linda knows a great deal about healthcare plans and how they work. She thought she’d put her knowledge to work as a Financial Advocate for CRC clients who need assistance navigating the sea of information and resources related to their cancer diagnosis.
The first thing you notice about Nancy Whitebird is her huge heart. After her own cancer journey, Nancy offered to volunteer with the Cancer Resource Center in an effort to return the support she received from our organization. She immediately jumped into her role as Reception Volunteer, followed soon after by Peer Mentor. In both of these positions, Nancy showed kindness and compassion toward everyone. Soon after, she started writing cards to some CRC clients who needed a pick-me-up. Once the pandemic hit, Nancy signed up to make weekly calls to clients identified as needing extra support. Most recently, she brought her experience with and love of horses to CRC's collaboration with the Ithaca Equestrian Center. Nancy served an integral role in helping CRC launch this new project.