Maryville College students were excited on Thursday, Feb. 27, for the opportunity to get involved with nonprofit organizations as they explored volunteer and internship opportunities at the annual Nonprofit Fair held by the college.
Twenty-seven different organizations came to the college to give students chances to reach out to the community. There were options for everyone, and each organization had its own unique objective in trying to support Maryville. Organizations included Young Life, Secret Safe Place, and Keep Blount Beautiful along with others.
Ellie Barnett and Kayla Ridenour from A Secret Safe Place.
Photo Courtesy of Erika Donovan.
Something unique about this fair is that each organization had a different goal. For example, Camp Wesley Woods was in attendance, searching for people who love to be outside and lead camps during the summer. There were also organizations such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls club looking for students who enjoy working with children.
Megan Barnett, the recruiting coordinator for the YMCA, was excited to speak about her cause and also share with students what volunteering with the YMCA would look like.
“We focus primarily on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility,” Barnett said.
Megan Barnett and Olivia DeHart from the YMCA.
Photo Courtesy of Erika Donovan.
Many organizations go much further than they appear to. The Boys and Girls Club of Blount County was able to tell students that they offer children a lot more than just childcare. According to Lakishia Goss, the Club provides things such as education programs, game centers, outside games, and technology centers. This gives volunteers the chance to help children within the community while also focusing on a specific area they would like to grow in. For example, teaching skills could be enhanced by working in the education center.
The YMCA booth offered things such as bookmarks, key chains, and more for students who stopped by. Many other booths offered similar items as well to give students an even better experience throughout the process.
With so many different options, students were able to spend time at the fair learning about numerous organizations. Chloe Hamlett and Katlyn Bogle were two students that attended the fair in hopes of finding the perfect place to either volunteer at or get an internship at.
“I think working with any of these organizations would be a good opportunity to use my communication skills to help others,” Hamlett said, who is working towards her writing communications major. Both Bogle and Hamlett found interest in Girls Inc. and Center Harvest Farms.
One organization that stood out was the NLA, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. This organization works through the college, and they help coordinate events similar to the fair.
Lilly Nixon-Perkins is currently a senior and the president of this organization.
This group on campus is an excellent opportunity for students to get involved in nonprofit organizations in a different way. Engaging with or in the NLA can be a way to gain leadership skills.
Maryville College students are lucky that the school offers things such as this fair, which encourage students to reach out in the community and become volunteers with organizations they might not have previously known about.