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Canton Main Street to Host Volunteer Fair on Feb. 6

January 27, 2016 Arts and Entertainment, Community, Environment, Government No Comments

2016 Volunteer Fair red header flyerBy John Fitts 

CANTON – For some, the concept of volunteering might seem daunting but local organizations are often in need of an extra set of hands – whether one can help on a regular basis or just perform the occasional task.

On the afternoon of Feb. 6, Canton Main Street is inviting the community to a Volunteer Fair – a chance to learn a little about the different organizations that do so much for the town, whether it’s supporting kids on the field, serving on a town board, helping the elderly, curating fresh local food, helping the less fortunate or facilitating the arts. There will also be some children’s activities and chance to win prizes.

The event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 6, in the lower level of the Canton Community Center at 40 Dyer Ave. Organizations will tell participants about their groups and volunteer opportunities.

“Generally, the organizations don’t have a forum like this to explain to people the value they bring or the value individuals can bring to town,” said Amy Parchen, president of Canton Main Street.

Canton Main Street is looking to provide just that venue and hopes to make the event an annual one.

Recent studies the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) indicate that some 25 percent of Americans volunteer on a formal basis and some 3 to 5 help their neighbors in some way.

And in addition to helping a community, that organization also found that volunteers have a better chance of finding employment.

Service also helps on the college resume and many parents have expressed interest in finding opportunities for their teens, Parchen said.

But often times, people don’t realize how valuable their time can be, even if limited. Additionally man want to help but don’t know where to start, Parchen said.

Volunteer Fairs are a good way to facilitate that and area communities have found success with the idea.

“There’s something that’s of interest to just about anybody who would volunteer their time and don’t know where to start,” Parchen said.

And community facilitation is a major goal of Main Street, Parchen added.

“Main street really picked up on it,” she said of the volunteer fair idea. “That’s our vision – to be a community building organization that involves all the stakeholders in town.”

Among those participating at the event are Focus on Canton, Canton Historical Society, the Farmington Trails Council, Canton Athletic Booster Club, League of Women Voters, League of Women Voters, the Collinsville Farmers Market (Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion), Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association, the Hartford Marathon Foundation (Collinsville Classic 10k), Canton Main Street and the Town of Canton. Additional organizations are also expected to participate and local girl scouts are volunteering at the event itself.

Organizations that would like a table at the event can email amparchen@att.net. There is no charge, just a requirement that someone from the group be at the event and bring any fliers, sign-up sheets or other information they might have. Tables, chairs and refreshments will be provided.

Those who can’t make the meeting but are interested in volunteering can fill out a survey form at http://bit.ly/CantonCTVolunteer.

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