Class of 2021 Explores Opportunities at Annual Service Fair

Representatives from dozens of local non-profit organizations set up tables, along with a sign-up sheet, waiting for members of the Class of 2021 to say, “Yes.”

The annual junior service fair on Tuesday, September 10, gave students the opportunity to learn more about those organizations before offering their time and talent.

“The students can see the organization’s representative's face and hear from them first hand,” said Ministry & Service Director Kelli Kinnear. “If we had said, ‘Go find an organization on your own,’ the students might miss out on an opportunity. But here, when they see a representative face-to-face, the students might say, ‘Oh, I never heard of that organization before — I’m going to go talk to them.’

That was the case for Chiamaka Ejinaka ‘21.

“Before coming to the service fair, I was interested in poverty and homelessness — and I’m still leaning towards that. But I was surprised to see that many of the organizations work with kids. It’s nice to see them doing work with the future of the nation and I hope that in my free time during the summer I may have the opportunity to work with one of those organizations.”

Ben Campion ‘21 gravitated towards a subject he was interested in — the outdoors.

“Five River Metro Parks was appealing to me. Having the service fair was a lot easier than trying to research about these organizations on my own.”

Mia Andrews-Pope ‘21 said, “There were a lot of good organizations to choose from and some I didn’t know of before. I’m looking forward to getting a different experience and finding an appreciation so that I might be able to do this more than just for school.”

That is exactly what Kinnear is hoping for the juniors’ futures.

“Overwhelmingly we have had many students who go above their required service hours — some go into their senior year and beyond. I’ve also known some cases where students end up getting hired on as staff at these non-profits because of the connections they made through their service requirements.

“I’m a strong supporter of service requirements because some of these students may not have been exposed to these organizations if not for these requirements. My thought is that by having a service requirement it will inspire students to begin showcasing one of the characteristics of a CJ graduate — someone who is in the process of becoming service-oriented.”

Posted September 11, 2019