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By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | January 30, 2014

Volunteer fair will connect nonprofit groups with potential volunteers

DE PERE — The Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey is responding to the call from Pope Francis to commit to serving the poor and marginalized. On Thursday, Feb. 6, the center will hold “Making a Difference,” its first-ever volunteer fair.

“We started to talk about adding a bit of a service component,” said Judy Turba, director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality. “A few of us got together and said, ‘Let’s get representatives from different organizations together, all at one time and all in one space.’”

The volunteer fair will allow service organizations to increase awareness about volunteer needs. For members of the community, the event is an opportunity to find out how to get involved and which organization may be a good fit, said Turba.

Casa ALBA Melanie, St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter, Brown County Jail Ministries, Family and Childcare Resources of N.E.W., Literacy Green Bay, Unity Hospice and Palliative Care, De Pere Christian Outreach Thrift Store and Pantry, New Community Shelter, Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, Marion House and Wellspring will all be represented at the volunteer fair, which will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Volunteer needs at St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter in Green Bay have increased due to the increase in guests served, said Jackie Ebert, volunteer coordinator at the shelter.

“We do have an excellent base of volunteers, amazing people, but we need more,” she said. “We are doing more programming including community mentorship, and need people in that area.

“We are thankful for this opportunity to be a part of this,” added Ebert. “Any time people can put a face to the shelter, it is beneficial. I look forward to being able to answer any questions people may have.”

Volunteer services needed at the homeless shelter range from mentorship to everyday operations, including answering phones, assisting in the locker room and doing laundry.

“We can use people of all talents,” said Ebert. “A lot of people are intimidated by the shelter. They think, ‘I come from a different place.’ They will find out that the guests are just like you and me.”

Family and Childcare Resources of N.E.W., located in Green Bay, provides education, programs and support to families and early childhood professionals. Paula Breese, executive director, who will represent the organization at the volunteer fair, said that the volunteer needs for the organization are “always changing,” so new people are needed.

“We have big events like our duck race in which we need volunteers,” said Breese. “We are a small nonprofit, so we also need people with marketing experience and administrative skills.”

“Fly a Kite Fest” is another Family and Childcare Resources event in need of volunteers.

“We can use help with concessions, ticket sales, kids’ games and serving as a runner,” said Breese. “We have a wide age range of volunteers. We provide orientation and have you work side-by-side with staff and other volunteers.”

In November of last year, the Norbertine Center for Spirituality held a panel discussion on homelessness, which drew a large crowd. Turba said that she hopes attendance at that event is a sign of a strong interest in outreach by community members and of a good turnout for the volunteer fair.

Registration for the volunteer fair is appreciated. To register or for more information, call (920) 337-4315, email [email protected] or go to www.norbertines.org.

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