Spring volunteer fair: Something for everyone

On May 15, 2013, in the Bellevue College cafeteria, many groups and organizations from all around the community came together and attended the BC Volunteer Fair, designed to attract students to volunteer for varying groups that need help.

One of the groups in attendance was Birthday Dreams, a non-profit organization that throws birthday parties for the homeless children of the Puget Sound area.Keri Strong, a member of Birthday Dreams, said, “It’s important to hold events like this here at BC. We’re raising awareness for community organizations and it’s in the cafeteria where there’s a lot of traffic, where a lot of kids are going to see what’s going on.” SeniorNet, another group in attendance, is devoted to helping today’s senior citizens learn how to navigate computers and the internet. Gordon Young, the Facilities Coordinator and Instructor for the organization said, “I hope to see a lot of students come and take advantage of these classes and these meetings.”

Tom Sweetser, volunteer for the Catholic Community Services of King County in the Issaquah Meals branch, has been retired since December and stated that volunteering for the church has brought a “sense of meaning and knowing what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.” The Issaquah Meals service brings meals to senior citizens who aren’t able to cook for themselves and they also transport senior citizens to and from the grocery store to help them with their weekly grocery shopping. “It’s a small thing really, but we pick them up and help them out with their grocery shopping and they’re ecstatic about it,” said Sweetser.

The City of Bellevue Volunteer Coordinator, Shelly Shellabarqer, was also in attendance. “With volunteering, you’re able to bolster up your resume. You also are able to really connect with your community and improve your community as well. Through volunteering, you develop a skill set that you don’t learn through school. The reality of life is not what they’re teaching you in school,” said Shellabarqer.

Nicole Rogers, Police Program Coordinator, said that, “Volunteering is really about giving back to your community. It’s the ability to be a part of something greater than yourself.”