Santa Fe New Mexican

How to help? Come to the volunteer fair


Retired physician Lynn Bickley leans over the desk of a Santa Fe Public Schools student, helping her solve tough science problems. Retired academic Judy Reinhartz creates a curriculum for our public school teachers linking literacy and math. Liz Delfs and Gary Clendenen open their stable of miniature horses and donkeys to students with language challenges, who love reading aloud at their own pace and without judgment. Profession­al cooks use their talents at Pete’s Place, the storefront where folks who are homeless can get a bite to eat and a place to sleep. Magali Campos juggles child care and work while finding time to coach teens at a local leadership academy,

helping them find their voice and advocate for their community.

What do all these people have in common? They love to volunteer. They have a strong need to return to the community some of the gifts they have been given over the course of their lives. They also believe in the notion that America is greater when we generously share our time and talent with one another.

We all have reasons why we don’t volunteer: we’re too busy, we don’t believe we have any talents to share, on and on. However, when we remain within the comfort of our own world, we miss opportunit­ies to experience the satisfacti­on that comes with helping others. Some of us really want to volunteer but don’t know where to start.

Enter the Santa Fe Volunteer Fair. Now in its third year, the fair brings together dozens of local agencies and organizati­ons in one convenient place. This year the fair will be at Mandela Internatio­nal School, 1604 Agua Fría St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. You can walk up and down the aisles as if you were at a farmers market, gathering informatio­n and exploring the fit between your interests and various organizati­ons. The fair is open to all ages and filled with many choices. There is also a strong need for bilingual volunteers.

Want to mentor a kid? Tutor a student struggling in reading or math? Teach a child how to care for animals, manage money, build a robot or dance? Want to hold newborns or provide companions­hip to home-bound seniors? It’s guaranteed you’ll find the niche you’re looking for.

As a thank-you for dropping by, we’ll have food, fun door prizes and plenty of folks ready to help you find your way.

Consider what could happen when you share your time and talents with others by volunteeri­ng. While volunteeri­ng is a rewarding way to give back to your community, the one who benefits the most just might be you!

Ralph Holcomb is a retired social worker who is in his second year of volunteeri­ng as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Opportunit­y Santa Fe, a birth-to-career collaborat­ive.

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