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GIVING BACK : Halasz gives back by volunteering at Children’s Games

January 11, 2019
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Sunita Halasz loves the Adirondacks, and with that love comes the desire to help out in any way possible.

She and her husband, Steve, recently volunteered for the 2019 International Children's Winter Games in Lake Placid as a way to give back and watch their son compete.

"It's just so exciting to part of the community that we all live in," Halasz said. "I always say that the Adirondacks are like a 6 million-acre neighborhood."

Article Photos

Sunita Halasz, of Saranac Lake, stands in front of banners for the 2019 International Children’s Winter Games at the Lake Placid Conference Center on Monday, Jan. 7. She volunteered during the event as a way to help out the community and watch her son participate in cross-country ski races.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

Her 9-year-old son Galen competed in cross-country skiing this past week.

"This gives me an opportunity to not only help out where he is racing or hanging out, but it also helps me to feel like I'm giving back to the Children's Games and Lake Placid who are giving so much to our family."

Halasz and her husband both cross-country raced in high school and college. She said it's wonderful to see her son competing in an international event at such a young age.

"I was just saying to my husband it feels so right that we have chosen to live here all these years because now our son is getting to do something that we would've dreamed to do ourselves."

Halasz said there wasn't a rigid structure to how the volunteers operated at the ICG, which she enjoyed.

"It's really fun because anywhere I show up, I just say 'How can I help out now?'" One day had her handing out uniforms and swag to the competitors, while the next had her setting up the biathlon penalty loop at the Olympic Jumping Complex. "It's such a huge event with so many little details," Halasz said. "There's a huge number of volunteers, but I think all of them are busy and being utilized."

This isn't Halasz's first venture as a volunteer. Helping out with kids programs and local organizations is consistently an important part of her life. She coaches teams in both the Saranac Lake Youth Soccer League and the Dewey Mountain Youth Ski League. She's also a volunteer board member for Historic Saranac Lake and helps coordinate the North Country Homeschooling group, of which her son is a part.

Though she moved to the Adirondacks from Rochester two decades ago, Halasz said most volunteer experiences have her making new friends.

"We've lived here for like 20 years or something, and I'm always surprised when I don't know people. The games have introduced me to all sorts of people that I haven't met before from all sectors of the community."

Halasz said she was excited to see fresh faces, especially of those from a younger crowd. "One of the things that we're concerned about was that there is a huge group of volunteers in Lake Placid, but everyone's always moving up in age, and they want a younger group of volunteers. In Saranac Lake, we want that as well. I saw a bunch of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid teens volunteering for the games, but I would encourage those kids to spread the word in their schools. There are always ways to be involved in the community at whatever point of life you're in."

Halasz said her family enjoys volunteering because it is a vote of confidence for the future, similar to the idea of karma - put good in, get good out.

"My parents were always volunteering in one way or another," she said, "and I think they passed it on to me. But it's not just something that comes through generations. I really think it's the Tri-Lakes area. We all pitch in because we all love this place so much."



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