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Volunteer Fair connects students with community partners

From walking dogs to helping kids, the campus community can find a variety of groups to get involved with at the upcoming Volunteer Fair.

The fair is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Elliott Student Union Atrium.

As of Tuesday, 18 community partners will be in attendance to advertise and promote their organizations to potential volunteers.

“The Volunteer Fair is held each semester to give our students, faculty and staff an opportunity to connect with our local and surrounding community partners to find volunteer events/opportunities,”
said Kristie Brinkley, assistant director of
Student Activities with Volunteer Services.

The timing of the spring Volunteer Fair happened to overlap with the Martin Luther King Jr. events on campus.

“Martin Luther King was all about service so it just falls naturally and works well together,” Brinkley said.

Students will be able to walk around the atrium and talk to different groups
to get educated on how they can help.

Brinkley said there will be lots of information at the tables, from flyers to brochures and people to talk to about the different organizations.

“They’ll have a sign-up sheet where students can sign up individually or as a group and then that agency can get back in touch with them to help with their volunteer opportunities,” Brinkley said.

The Volunteer Fair has taken place at UCM for over 20 years.

“I think it’s very important for people to get involved because it enhances their journey as a person and/or student, etc.,” she said. “It makes a person well-rounded and helps them to explore the world around them.”

Megan Eagan, junior pre-medical student, said she attended the fair when she was a freshman.

“I remembered being overwhelmed with the possibilities of making a difference and getting involved,” Eagan said.

A good way for people to network and make friends is by going to the fair.

Eagan said she has made a lot of her friends from college through volunteer work. She has also practiced better time management.

“Being involved, for whatever reason, makes me manage my time better and enjoy school that much more,” Eagan said. “It makes me enjoy school because it puts in perspective how much education truly is a privilege, and there are a lot of people that don’t get an opportunity to get a higher education.”

Brinkley said volunteering is a holistic experience.

“Volunteering helps a person by giving back, gaining leadership skills, feeling a sense of accomplishment and cultivates a commitment to service that will be with you always,” Brinkley said.

The fair is meant to focus on helping those who live around us.

“We are all humans and we all need help at one point or another in our lifetime, so I hope I’ve made a difference in someone’s life who was in need of some help,” Eagan said.

Numerous organizations will be at the fair in need of volunteers.

Powell Gardens, nursing centers, Knob Noster State Park, Paws-4-Autism and the Warrensburg Parks & Recreation Department are just a few of the groups scheduled to be in attendance.

To find out more about volunteer opportunities, contact Brinkley at krbinkley@ucmo.edu or visit Union 217.

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