By Grace Apostol
On Saturday, Septe. 17, Chestertown, Md. held its second annual Volunteer Fair for the community. Hosted by the Kent County Chamber of Commerce, several of the 62 Kent County nonprofit organizations were represented during the fair that was held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to the Kent County Chamber of Commerce website page.
“The goal [of the fair] is to strengthen the ability of local service groups to meet the health, educational, and cultural needs in greater Kent County.”
Planning Committee Members Susan Eddy and Muriel Cole helped organize the event with the Kent County Chamber of Commerce.
“We have a list of organizations,” Cole said regarding the work that goes into creating the fair. “We developed a list last year of Kent County nonprofits…we maintain this list that gets updated from time to time and then we contact people [from said organizations].”
The fair hosted a variety of nonprofits ranging in many different fields of opportunities for the community to become involved in.
“People who want to volunteer for music, people who can sing, people who can act, animal care, teaching at Washington College…there is all kinds of stuff people can do and that people can get engaged in,” Eddy said regarding the different options of opportunities for volunteering.
Though this was a town sponsored event, the College was also involved within the fair. WC-ALL, the Academy of Lifelong Learning, is a WC-run organization for the teaching of all ages, and was present at the fair.
According to the WC-ALL pamphlet being handed out at the event, “The Academy of Lifelong learning at WC was founded in 1992 to provide opportunities for adult learning through classes, Learn-At-Lunch lectures, special event field trips, and travel opportunities.”
Another nonprofit focusing on academic achievement was the Kent County Public Schools organization.
Human Resources Supervisor of Kent County Public Schools Dan Hushion attended the fair to represent this organization.
“The great thing about these events is that there’s so many interesting people that come here from all over that have very interesting backgrounds and experiences and we have definitely generated some recruitment and relationships going forward,” he said. “We have a number of people who are very interested in volunteering with our school systems. It has been a very nice day so far.”
Organizations of the arts were also in attendance at the annual fair. Included in this group is the nonprofit Chester River Chorale, a group of singers within the community of Kent County.
A member of the Chester River Chorale, Penny Walker Doyle, was with the group at the fair to gauge interest from singers who may want to join the group.
“Singing with a group this size and working with a new director, Alexis [Ward], it just feeds your soul,” she said.
Doyle was also at the fair with nonprofit group Bayside Helping Our Youth Achieve Success. According to this group’s website, “the Bayside H.O.Y.A.S. are committed to providing resources so that the next generation of our community can achieve their full potential.”
According to Doyle, this organization is partnering with the College for an on-campus event on Sept. 30.
“5 pm to 7 pm, in the garden at the College, there is live music, there is a food truck, so you have to pay for your food, and we are going to have some programs on nutrition and chickens and doing good exercise; stuff like that,” Doyle said. “It’s trying to get the community and the College together and also looking for volunteer opportunities.”
The volunteer fair is also another way for students from the College to become involved in Kent County community organizations. Planning Committee members Eddy and Cole said that young people are a need within volunteering.
“We would be happy to have more college students involved,” Cole said. “Young people are absolutely essential to maintaining the services in Kent County. They are always welcome.”
Only within its second year of completion, the volunteer fair planned by the Kent County Chamber of Commerce, plans to make this an annual event, drawing in more volunteers and organizations.
Photo Courtesy of Grace Apostol
Photo Caption: The Kent County Chamber of Commerce held its second annual Volunteer Fair on High Street in Chestertown.