Event designed to match volunteers with local organizations, encourage community engagement
Congressman Brian Higgins and Niagara University's ReNU Niagara program announced the second annual LiveNF Volunteer Fair, an event to connect local residents interested in civic engagement with volunteer-driven organizations doing good work in the Niagara Falls community.
"Many residents express a desire to serve their community, but aren't really sure where to start," Higgins said. "This event provides a great opportunity to explore the needs of local agencies and determine where your unique skills and availability can best make a difference."
ReNU Niagara Director Tom Lowe said, "The main focus of the volunteer fair is to fill gaps: gaps for organizations that individuals can fill in volunteer capacities, and gaps for individuals who are looking for a sense of civic purpose."
The LiveNF Volunteer Fair will take place from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls. The event is free and open to the public. Dozens of organizations will be on hand to share details on their work in the community, needs and how the public can get involved.
New at this year's event is the "priceless auction." Local businesses and organizations will purchase art from local artists. The artwork will then be auctioned off at the volunteer fair to bidders who commit volunteer hours, not money, for the art pieces. The art will hang in the business/organization's office until the bidder completes his or her hours.
The event is a preview to National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 10-16 this year and represents a national drive to inspire volunteerism and community engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service stated that, in 2014, New York ranked 50th among the 50 states with just 19.2 percent of residents participating in civic engagement activities. This rate demonstrates plenty of room for improvement, even in relation to the national average. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide, just over 25 percent of the total U.S. population volunteered for an organization at least once in 2014.
Organizations interested in participating should visit www.niagara.edu/renu to register or contact Lowe at 716-205-0287 for more information.