Community News — 05 November 2009
All Grades Turn Out For Volunteer Fair

Twenty-two nonprofit organizations and offices from around Alexandria were on display for high school students Monday and Tuesday during Volunteer Alexandrias Youth Volunteer Fair at T.C. Williams.

Some had movies, some had snakes, but all had information and potential service opportunities for Titan students all of whom were welcome to participate in the exhibition for the first time this year, instead of in previous years when the focus was on the schools junior class.

Many students passing through during their lunch period Tuesday were drawn to the corn snake on display from the Jerome Buddie Ford Nature Center, for which Director Mark Kelly was hopeful to get Alexandria youths involved.

Kelly said establishing that link with nature in an urban area could prove vital as the environment becomes an increasingly dominant issue in decades to come.

We just want to provide the opportunity to connect with nature in some way, Kelly said. Sometimes well get a number of children [involved], other times we get teachers coming down to the center with their classes.

Like Kelly, Susanne Arnold, program chair of Alexandrians Involved Ecumenicallys ALIVE! House, was looking to get as many kids involved as she could with the exposure on T.C.s King Street Campus last week.

By noon, Arnold already had more than three dozen signatures and emails for students who might lend a hand at her groups fundraising walkathon with Fannie Mae on the National Mall November 21.

Volunteer Alexandrias Executive Director Melinda Patrician said she would like to see the volunteer fair lay the groundwork for a school-wide community service requirement beyond a small requirement for T.C.s 700-plus juniors.

Wed like to see everybody doing some community service, not just those kids that are already drawn to the service clubs, Patrician said.

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Alexandria Times Staff

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