The Community Organization Service Fair is part of the 2018 Women and the Environment Symposium, an annual WMEAC event series.
by Angela Fox
February is often associated with Valentine’s Day. Celebrating love doesn’t been to be exclusive to romantic love, however. Gal-entines are a popular alternative to celebrate friendships, for instance. But sometimes, we search for something more than romance or friendships – we are searching for ways to feed our own soul through giving back to the community and selfless service. What better way to celebrate February?
I was recently at a public panel discussion about bettering our community, and someone asked the question, “As a local homeowner and mother, how can I get involved?” I suspected this woman was not the only person interested in wanting to get involved in local service efforts and volunteer. While we may know of a handful of local non-profit organizations; do we know where to start or how to get involved? Furthermore, do we know what kind of help these nonprofits are looking for in the community?
Sometimes looking for a place to belong is a lot like looking for love. Meeting people and like-minded individuals can be hard and time-consuming. With the New Year starting to settle in and blustery weather outside, a warm, Saturday Service Fair makes the perfect family outing, an event for your friends or social clubs, a fun solo-adventure, or a unique date idea. This is your chance to meet local nonprofits right here in West Michigan doing amazing work for a variety of causes.Volunteer opportunities for you and your loved ones do much more than create lifelong bonds – your service deeply impacts the health and success of our community and community members. Through this event, you can connect with a few organizations and see how compatible you might be. Who knows, maybe there is a “spark” … your efforts can help make West Michigan a better place to call home.
The Community Organization Service Fair is your guide. Just like speed dating, the Service Fair will feature a wide variety of organizations who are searching for volunteers and members of the community – like you – to help. From environmentalism to politics to empowerment to arts to wellness and food, there will be a diverse sampling of non-profit organizations in West Michigan. Come out to meet new people, spread love, share resources, and give back to our community.
“This event is a great way to know what type of work is being done right here in West Michigan. Chances are you have a unique skill set to offer. There are all sorts of ways to give back and this event helps you connect your passions and talents with organizations in need.”, said Service Fair organizer, Angela Fox.
West Michigan has a unique culture of giving back. Many people have told me that it is this very culture that has caused them to move here, or has caused them to stay. There are so many opportunities to spread love in our community; the Service Fair will aid in making connections between passionate organizations and passionate individuals. Many times, too, we forget the breadth of our own community – we may live in Grand Rapids, but there is a perfect opportunity to help along the Lakeshore, or vice versa. The West Michigan community is rooted in caring and nurturing individuals who are eager and passionate about the health and wellness of our community, whether it be through musical advocacy or decorating lunch boxes for children, helping to recycle or supporting our local farmers across West Michigan.
The Service Fair is a family-geared event, as kids have so much to offer the community, as well. There will be many volunteer opportunities for kids and families featured at this event! Workshops and activities will also be held throughout the event, in addition to opportunities to participate on the spot. Workshops will focus on a variety of ways you can contribute. Each workshop is geared towards a different topic and a schedule of events will be published shortly.
One of the featured organizations is Comprenew, who will be hosting a recycling drive for electronics. Electronics donated/recycled will be responsibly recycled or repaired for reuse for those in need in our community. Comprenew’s Mission Statement:
“Comprenew strives to protect businesses, people, and the environment from the threat of improperly disposed electronic devices through best practice technology data management, asset recovery, and recycling services, while fostering job readiness and computer literacy among at-risk populations in our community.”
Cool, right? This organization, and many more will be waiting to meet you at the Service Fair. Do not underestimate how special you are and what you can offer the community. Service is the best kind of self-care, so please join us at the 2018 Women and the Environment Community Organization Service Fair for a day full of caring, sharing, giving, doing, loving, and fun.
About the Symposium: The 7th annual Women and the Environment Symposium is week-long, five-event symposium that explores the intersection between women’s and environmental issues. In partnership with The Grand Valley Women’s Center and Office of Sustainability Practices, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) will produce the 7th annual Women and the Environment Symposium, beginning Monday, February 19 and ending Tuesday, February 27, 2018. The 7th annual Women and the Environment Symposium is sponsored by Paradigm Design, Yesterdog, Brewery Vivant, Steelcase, Women’s Lifestyle, Hungry Architecture, The Rapid, Renae Hesselink, Dominican Sisters, Congress for the New Urbanism, Aquinas College Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center, Past Perfect, GVSU Center for Women and Gender Equity, and GROW. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.