Spotlight: Rochester’s Volunteer Expo

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With the opening of every new specialty restaurant, upscale bar and luxury loft apartment building, the perception of our city’s direction is changing and evolving.  Colored lights on our buildings and vibrant urban social scenes are at the heart of our progress meters, and with great cause… they signal the revival of a city that stood silent for decades.

But when you peel back the shiny layers, the fundamental core of any progressive community movement lies in the everyday people that are willing to roll up their sleeves and put in the hard work to create real change.  From organizations that fight to end hunger to motivated groups that help power our underprivileged youth, volunteering is the backbone of tangible progress in our cities.  But in a world of overwhelming social, environmental and health issues, the task of simply finding where we can help is often overwhelming.

An upcoming event in Rochester looks to quell this dilemma by connecting prospective volunteers to scores of non-profit organizations in a single location.  Rochester Young Professionals 2nd Annual Volunteering and Board Expo gives people the chance to engage with representatives from local charities that support the community every day.

“The Expo is a unique opportunity for people interested in volunteering to learn first-hand about what organizations actually need and how they can personally help,” says Amanda Sharpe, Co-Chair of RYP’s Volunteer Division.  “The chance to have face-to-face conversations with potential volunteers allows these agencies to demonstrate their genuine desire and need for community involvement.”

The event is made possible through generous sponsorships from the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and is coordinated in partnership between Rochester Young Professionals, United Way of Greater Rochester, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and Roc City Coalition.  The collaboration between these groups showcases just how important it is for non-profits to work together as a team to fulfill our community’s greatest needs.  Just as importantly, the event allows people in the community to connect with a cause that is close to their heart.

“Young professionals come away feeling like they can genuinely make a difference and that’s no small feat,” says Sharpe.  “And, the personal connection can really help to solidify a volunteer’s commitment.”

Personally, I was tremendously impressed with last year’s event.  I often describe it as a  job fair where everyone wants you.  The two takeaways that attendees can expect to leave with are a better sense of where you can contribute in your community, and just how many amazing organizations are working hard every day to make Rochester a better place.  If you share this same goal, or are even simply curious, this is the event for you.

The Expo is December 6th from 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm at Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Avenue in Rochester.  For more information, see the event on Facebook or visit the Rochester Young Professionals events page.