They Came, They Saw, They Volunteered

Molly Timmins, Opportunity Santa Fe Program Coordinator

Growing up I always volunteered– through Key Club, Circle K International, Kiwanis and with numerous nonprofits across New York, Maryland, and New Mexico. By being a part of a service club, it made finding volunteer opportunities that matched my interests and skills, easy and accessible. However, for others, finding the right fit outside of school and service clubs, it’s not so simple. That’s where the Opportunity Santa Fe Volunteer Fair comes in! We put 30 organizations looking for many different types of volunteers in the same room so that community members interested in volunteering don’t have to struggle. We make it easy!

“Been looking to volunteer for a while- this is better than trying to use Google!” -Volunteer Fair attendee

The second annual Opportunity Santa Fe Volunteer Fair was planned and hosted by the AmeriCorps VISTA team along with a few of our Santa Fe Public Schools partners. We built upon 2017’s fair, utilizing feedback garnered from surveys to make this event even better. While attendance was a bit lower this year, I truly believe that those who came were even more engaged and excited to volunteer. This level of engagement in the community was recognized by many businesses who helped to sponsor this event. Olive Garden, Walgreens (Cordova and St. Francis), Whoo’s Donuts, Trader Joe’s, and Sam’s Club generously donated food and water as a thank you to those who volunteer.

This year we implemented a passport system to encourage broader participation. Attendees were eligible for a special raffle if they visited 10 or more organizations and received a sticker from each. The passport increased the level of attendees’ engagement and every booth was visited numerous times. Every organization received sign-ups from potential volunteers and I am excited to see how many people follow through with their commitment to volunteer this coming year.

“Fabulous opportunities- Fabulous advocates- Fabulous!” -Volunteer Fair attendee

Year two was a smashing success and it has been an honor to lead the charge of planning the Volunteer Fair for the past two years; connecting individuals to opportunities. Even more so, I was excited to see the levels of engagement and enthusiasm in the Sweeney Elementary gym at the Volunteer Fair.

Santa Fe has an incredible number of nonprofit organizations looking to improve opportunities and outcomes for kids. This is fortunate given that this year’s Kids Count rankings have our state at number 50 for both Education and overall Child-. The many wonderful organizations in town can’t move the needle on these indicators without help from volunteers!

“I think I have over 20 great volunteers who signed up and over 50 who I talked with. Also, I loved the great food! I appreciate the friendliness, the wonderful organization and the sense of importance that volunteering can have in your/my life. It exceeded my expectations – thank you so much! P.S. I signed up as a volunteer for several organizations.” -Jan, Santa Fe Children’s Museum