First Annual Volunteer Fair at Wilkes

Bob Grabosky

Wilkes University held its first volunteer fair on Sept. 18, 2012. There were a number of non-profit organizations participating, including Blue Chip Farms, American Red Cross, Special Olympics of Luzerne County and Center for the Village. Coordinating the event was Megan Valkenburg, director of Community Development.

Valkenburg was pleased with the outcome of the fair, despite the inclement weather that dampened the region.

“It was a good fair, but the weather hindered some students from attending,” said Valkenburg.

Some of the possible advantages of volunteering in the long run will be having activities on your resume when trying to look for a permanent job. 

Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge is a nonprofit organization that rescues all kinds of animals, from dogs and cats to exotic animals, such as giraffes. It does not euthanize the animals if they are not adopted.

Shannon Scannell, a volunteer for Blue Chip Farms, said that they rescue any animals that are on the street or abandoned. She also said that they try to find the animals loving homes with people who love animals and can take care of them.

Some organizations like the SPCA are government funded. She said these organizations tend to give up looking for a home for an animal after a certain period of time.

“The government puts their arms down when the animals are not adopted,” said Scannell.

The organization is a volunteer one that depends on the donations from the public so it can fulfill its mission, which is to save all kinds of animals. Scannell also said that Blue Chip’s method is better and more humane than the SPCA’s.

The American Red Cross depends on blood and plasma donations for those in need. The Red Cross  is similar to The Salvation Army in that they help disaster victims and children in need.

The Red Cross also has a Bloodmobile, which travels all over the area, to local high schools, colleges and work places so other people can volunteer their time and blood, giving to a good cause.

For more information, e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]

Another participant of this year’s volunteer fair was a local organization called Center of the Village, is a ministry comprised of three Presbyterian Churches that recently merged.

Their main goal is to help children through an after-school program. This program helps the children in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area that are in need. Mostly these consist of first, second and third grade students. Once school is over for the day, they go to the Village for help in reading and math.

The Village also offers a course in music and theater. The organization also gets the children outside to play basketball, baseball and ice hockey.

Ann Anderika, Volunteer for the Center of the Village, said the purpose of the organization is to get the children doing physical activities, like playing catch, which helps their balance. There are other exercises that they could do, like yoga, which is offered to the kids. It also improves the childrens’ strength and agility.

“We teach the children to read, the multiplication tables, and for the girls, throw like a boy,” Andreika said.

The organizations volunteer their time to help out students in the community and in the county. They are also trying to get the children away from the computers and go outside and play, make friends, and communicate with one another.