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United Way volunteer fair designed to open doors

Chelsey Bishop • Apr 19, 2016 at 10:30 AM

In celebration of National Volunteer Month, United Way of Greater Kingsport is inviting the community to its volunteer fair on Thursday, April 21, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center. United Way and several of their nonprofit organization agencies have a variety of volunteer opportunities available.

The fair is focused on offering volunteer opportunities that build leadership skills and offer professional development, as well as “hands-on” options in order to make a difference and effect real lasting change in Kingsport. Mandi Cambre, Resource Development and Communications Manager, said that volunteerism provides solutions to community-wide problems while also filling voids in the volunteer’s life by giving them the opportunity to provide those solutions.

“We want to make the people of Kingsport aware of the opportunities they can take advantage of that can benefit them both personally and professionally,” said Cambre. “We’re hosting the fair so we can show what United Way does and show people how to get more involved. There are a wide scope of positions available from reading a book to a kid to being on a leadership committee, or becoming a board member. We want to meet people where they are in life.”

United Way has various committees that guide the organization in finance, quality, human resources and other areas, as well as vision council initiatives that focus on helping children and youth, ensuring health, safety and stability, and promoting self-sufficiency and aging with choices.

“We rely on the volunteers to guide us in how those initiatives should function and what we should be focusing on, so that we can continue to meet the needs of our community,” said Cambre. “Those are great spots for volunteers to create lasting change by addressing root-cause problems.”

Several United Way agencies, such as Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross, Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, and Meals on Wheels as well as many United Way committees, will have representatives at the fair to connect with people and offer opportunities to get involved.

“We want to have conversations with people about their needs and desires in volunteering at this event,” said Cambre. There will also be a volunteer consulting table, where attendees who are not quite sure what they might want to do can talk to a seasoned volunteer and learn where they could be a good fit.

During the fair, guests will listen to short presentations from their generational peers about how volunteerism has made an impact in their lives. Those slated to present include: Kingsport Young Professional PEAK member Tianna Storey, stay-at-home mother Cheri Boykin, Eastman Senior Counsel Brett Sago, and retiree Edd Baldock.

“Some people find having their sole identity in their jobs stifling,” said Cambre. “It’s a powerful thing to find your identity as a person who is leading change in the community.”

For more details on the volunteer fair, visit www.uwaykpt.org/news or call Cambre at 423-378-3409, ext. 16.

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