Volunteer Fair highlights importance of everyone pitching in for community

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. An eventful day to say the least. Multiple Letter of Intent signings, a collegiate choir visit, various club meetings, the usual rendezvous with friends and teachers, lunch and a new addition to all the madness that happens within the well liked (and very much needed) 60 minute break known to all as power hour, the school’s very first Volunteer Fair.

Coming up the stairs on the way to edit this very paper, an almost ear splitting screech pierces through the air. “KITTENS!” the voice says, “In the lobby! There’s, like, a huge crowd. Let’s go!“ The pounding of multiple footsteps reaches my ears as I smile to myself and grab a camera to document the aforementioned break time madness. What seems to be the biggest hit amidst the chaos are the adorable balls of fluff brought over by the Cedar Bend Humane Society. One of the 10 volunteer organizations that attended this week’s Volunteer Fair.

Other organizations that were in attendance were the VCCV, the Allen and Covenant Hospitals, Grout Museum, Hartman Reserve, Hearst Center, Aspire TRP, Habitat for Humanity and the Cedar Valley Friends of Family.

The Volunteer Fair was originally organized by the Volunteer Club, and the project was spearheaded by Astoria Chao with the assistance of other members.

Volunteer work provides an organization with a free resource to help it meet its mission or goals. The work done is a great help to the organizations themselves and the people served. Also, while volunteering is important for the individuals and communities receiving help, it also benefits the volunteer.

Some wonder exactly why padding your resume or application with volunteer experience is impressive or meaningful at all. Well, aside from the sense of community, helpfulness and general accomplishment one gets from helping people, having these experiences on record demonstrates one’s commitment and a willingness to work for the betterment of others. Another advantage is the social network one builds through involvement.

A misconception of volunteering is that it is limited to a certain type of activity, a certain amount of time and that the activity will consume one’s free time. This makes volunteering seem inflexible and unenjoyable; however, this is quite untrue. Volunteer work comes in all shapes and sizes. You can do volunteer work from your home, in your neighborhood or in almost any setting around the world. This makes it easy to find projects that are convenient and suit your life goals. Do something for a cause you truly believe in; there’s something for everyone in the world of volunteering.

Most importantly, as a volunteer or a potential one, one should always remember that whatever you do matters and has an effect on those around you whom you perform a service for. Volunteers do so much. Volunteers deliver critical services: they deliver meals to homebound seniors or homeless youth; they answer the phone lines at domestic violence and sexual assault centers; they help in community cleanliness; they tutor, teach, coach and support people with various things like homework or personal matters or sports; and so many other activities.

Volunteers are critical partners of and participants in societies throughout the world, especially in the one right here in Cedar Falls. Join us sometime, why don’t you?

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