''UCF is rethinking its mission,'' stated newly-elected Great Neck United Community Fund President Muriel Turk, ''We're moving into the 21st century.''
She explained that UCF will be going to the public to determine if the needs of individuals are being met. A strategic planning committee has been created and the job of the members is to see if the agencies that Great Neck residents turn to are represented in UCF. And UCF wants to know if the public is actually aware of UCF and what it does.
The strategic planning committee will be gathering demographic data, holding public meetings, and, according to Ms. Turk, basically, be ''looking for new ways to reach out to the very diverse segments of our community...to learn more about who we serve so we can serve them better.'' This, she said, could ''perhaps mean that we must readjust our commitments.''
She continued, saying, ''We really want to broaden our base and show that directors (of the Fund) and members (anyone who contributes to UCF) reflect the community...We may need to make changes to educate and incorporate...''
Additionally, Ms. Turk emphasized that one of those changes may well be ''bringing the business operations of the fund up to the standards of society at large.''
As for a broader base, UCF will be looking to bring in not only the newcomers to the community, but to bring in a ''junior board.'' High school and college students will be targeted---for the junior board or just to help out whenever they are home. ''One way to reach all segments of our community is through the children,'' said Ms. Turk. She said that UCF will be working with the schools, getting students and faculty more involved.
The entire push to ''really go out to the public,'' the strategic planning committee, is being headed by new Executive Vice President Jeffrey Bass. And, reports Muriel Turk, it's the community leaders, those involved in many aspects of the community, who come to help at UCF. Community leaders such as Mr. Bass, former UCF President (and Great Neck Park District Superintendent) Richard Arenella, Board of Education President Judi Bosworth, and many others, they are the ones who are doing the job at UCF---''Everyone involved in Great Neck is involved in UCF.''
And she stressed that ''Those at the government level who are involved with UCF are very much aware of the importance of this organization.''
''Volunteering for UCF becomes infectious, we have fun,'' says Ms. Turk, ''You make wonderful friends, meet wonderful people, people who have lots of important things to do but choose to spend time raising money for those who are less fortunate.''
Muriel Turk became involved with UCF about 10 years ago. Serving on the CLASP board, she learned about UCF---CLASP is a major recipient of funds from UCF. When she left the CLASP board, ''It seemed appropriate to become involved with the umbrella agency.''
Possessed of a strong commitment to ''pay back, give back to the community, help others,'' she felt that UCF was the right place. ''Giving back what you can, well that's what it's all about,'' she says.
Professionally, Muriel Turk is the head of programming at the Great Neck Library. She and her husband, Marty, a dentist in private practice in Flushing, are longtime Great Neck residents. Their two children, Jeremy, 23, and Beth, 22, are both graduates of Great Neck South High School and Dartmouth College. Currently Jeremy works for the Great Neck Park District as head lifeguard at Parkwood Pool. Beth is spending the summer teaching at Amherst College's EXCEL program, and in the fall she will travel to Cairo, Egypt to work as an intern in the administration at the American University. While in school in Great Neck, both children were involved in community service.
A firm believer in community service, Muriel Turk assures that ''The sense of community is very much alive and well at the fund and on the executive board.''
Anyone who would like to volunteer for office work or for a special event, anyone who has some new ideas, is welcome. ''UCF is a wonderful way to become involved in the community!''
''And it's the volunteers who do it; they're the ones who make it better for everyone in this community, they're the ones who are passionate in their desire to improve Great Neck and the wider community,'' she stressed.
Muriel Turk and the UCF office can be reached by calling 482-8101.
And remember, according to Ms. Turk, not just the directors, but anyone who volunteers, anyone who contributes to UCF is a member!