Geneva library aims to play ‘matchmaker’ between service groups, those looking to volunteer – Chicago Tribune


Trips to the Geneva Public Library mostly revolve around books and audio-visual material, but on Saturday morning Geneva resident Terry Wilkins said she was looking for a way to step in and help her community.

“I currently volunteer at a few places, but they’re in Naperville and I wanted to be able to give back to the community,” Wilkins said during a two-hour event at the library that brought together more than 20 local groups seeking of volunteers. .

“I’m retired now and there are so many great causes and people and areas that need help and I’d love to give back,” Wilkins said. “It’s that time in life when you realize where you’ve been and now you need to know where you’re going.”

Paula Krapf, public relations and marketing manager for the library, said the volunteer fair was the first of its kind at the facility and officials “believe we can fill a need for good volunteers in the community.” .

“We thought we would be the perfect matchmaker and one of our librarians, Meredith Anderson, did an amazing job of reaching out to organizations and spreading the word,” Krapf said.

Krapf said organizations such as the Geneva and St. Charles Lions Clubs as well as Literacy Volunteers of the Fox Valley, Anderson Humane and other “organizations that serve different interests and abilities” participated in the volunteer fair.

“We also know that all of these organizations need volunteers and also represent a great diversity, so if there is something within the Lions’ Club and their service that interests you, that’s wonderful, and if you really enjoy working directly with the people there’s Marklund,” she said. “As spring approaches, people want to get out and there’s a realization that our community organizations really need help right now .”

Anderson, who is the library’s learning and discovery coordinator, said the fair “was a great way to bring our community partners together and find new volunteers.”

“We’re seeing a lot of people who want to come out and want to be active in the community again and it’s a great opportunity to meet some of the service organizations,” Anderson said. “I have found that the participating organizations are really excited to have this opportunity.”

At 10 a.m., a steady stream of people entered a meeting room just inside the library entrance on Saturday morning. They encountered many tables and posters promoting various organizations.

Bob Sutton from Algonquin came as a representative of Friends of the Fox and said he was a member of the group’s board of directors.

“I volunteer as much as I can and we are looking for people who are interested in the Fox River and help clean it up and educate other people on the Fox River,” he said. “People want to help. We want to be a voice for Fox River. It has no voice unless we defend it. I think people are looking forward to going out and doing things together.

Debbie Bartels from Geneva said she and her husband Bill were new to Geneva and were looking for something to do.

“I don’t really know what my sweet spot is. I want to see what’s available and I love working with kids,” she said.

Bill Bartels said he recently retired from working in computer-aided design.

“I’m curious what might be available and looking for something to occupy some time,” he said.

One of the most significant moments came when representatives from the League of Entertainment appeared at the fair.

Carol Stream resident Grant Paplauskas, who said he “is the leader of the League of Enchantment” came dressed as Marvel hero Thor and said the group “visits children in hospitals and works with organizations charities”.

“We bring smiles to people’s faces everywhere we go – we try to bring joy into the world,” he said. “We are here at the volunteer fair because we want to get involved with other organizations that can benefit from our help.

David Sharos is a freelance journalist for The Beacon-News.

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