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Giving is second nature to Saratoga Springs special education teacher

Posted April 1, 2021 by Liza Frenette

Marion Gyarmathy honed her caring nature in her day job teaching special education students at Saratoga Springs high school.

When there’s a need outside of school, she turns her attention to The Giving Circle of Saratoga Springs. Like many volunteers, Gyarmathy is happy to help keep the wheels of caring turning.

Sometimes she works with a crew responding to a call for help by doing cleaning or yard work for a local person in need; other times she helps collect and sort supplies for hurricane relief. She’s joined others helping to do repairs at local churches.

“When I can, I jump in and give a hand. I do unskilled labor,” said Gyarmathy, a member of the Saratoga Springs Teachers Association, laughing.

The Giving Circle was founded in 2005 as an all-volunteer organization after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and partners locally with the Code Blue homeless shelter program. The nonprofit also has an international presence, and runs the Koi Koi House Orphanage, two schools, a health clinic and farming sites in Uganda.

Gyarmathy’s assistance with The Giving Circle, a non-profit, began after her contractor husband Mike started helping out with the organization following Hurricane Katrina. He journeyed to Louisiana and helped rebuild homes.

Since then, the couple has helped on many local projects — most recently, as part of a team that heroically saved the home of an elder woman in the community. Her hot water heater had overflowed, buckling her floor — all on a frigid winter day. While a crew got a new heater installed and replaced the floor, Gyarmathy helped clean up the debris and shovel snow to clear paths.

Gyarmathy has helped to put together a float for the organization’s annual Mardi Gras fundraiser, helping students make T-shirts and decorations. She has also helped a group of volunteers put together washable, cloth feminine sanitary pads for women in Africa.

“It’s all valuable work, and very important,” said Leo Geoffrion, Giving Circle president, of the volunteers’ work. “And it builds camaraderie.”

“For me, it’s just a really nice way to volunteer for our community, do something good, and spend time with friends. It feels good,” Gyarmathy said.

To learn more about The Giving Circle, visit thegivingcircle.org.

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