Get Connected Volunteer Expo 2020

Volunteers gather information and meet with representatives of service agencies at the Get Connected Volunteer Expo.

Volunteer Center will present its third annual Get Connected Volunteer Expo from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, June 17, at Glenbrook Square Mall. Volunteers will gather near the food court in the lower level of the mall at 4201 Coldwater Road, at Coliseum Boulevard, in Fort Wayne.

The Volunteer Center has more than doubled in size since its inception.

Volunteer Center has been operating as a nonprofit organization since 2004. It evolved out of a program called RSVP which began in the mid-70s. Many nonprofits, civic organizations, faith-based organizations and health organizations throughout Allen County work with Volunteer Center to fill vital roles.

Attendees will speak directly with agency representatives, and learn about their missions and current volunteer needs all in one location. More than 30 organizations had registered to participate by June 2.

Glenbrook Square COVID-19 precautions will apply.

Opportunities for volunteering from home will also be available.

In an interview, Executive Director Ana Etter spoke on the need for talented volunteers to tackle tough projects.

“We currently have about 2,000 volunteers that are registered through our website portal,” Etter said. “At the portal, volunteers can create a profile, and a nonprofit can post their need. Our volunteers are people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Etter said in the agency’s early days the volunteers were typically 55 and older. Today, younger generations are signing up to gain experience in those organizations.

“We just went through a strategic planning process, and I feel the real exciting thing at the center right now is that we continue to evolve and fill our role in the community,” Etter said. “Right now, we work with over 100 nonprofits and civic-based organizations.”

Volunteer positions include phone surveys, data entry, social media duties, fundraising events, financial literacy and tax preparation. The center also provides volunteers who help people eliminate barriers in the legal system.

The goal is to train those partner organizations “so they can better interact and manage their volunteers,” Etter said. “Ultimately we want to provide a positive experience for everyone.”

“As our country slowly emerges from the pandemic and into our new normal, individuals are looking for ways to reestablish their connections and get back in the swing of things,” Etter said in a statement. “The Volunteer Expo provides a perfect opportunity to connect with area leaders, reignite your passions and make a difference in our community. There is much work still to be done and we can all do our part to help.”

The Volunteer Center is at 3401 Lake Ave., Suite 4, Fort Wayne. For more information visit volunteerfortwayne.org or call 260-424-3505.

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