By Michael Bernaschina, Staff Writer
On September 18, the Johnson Center of Civic Engagement hosted a Volunteer Fair in Mellon Lounge from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We wanted to give students the opportunity to see what service organizations they can be a part of,” said Pam Frontino, assistant director of leadership and engagement and the JCCE, who oversaw the event.
The Volunteer Fair featured a number of different service organizations, all of whom came from the local Selinsgrove area and the surrounding towns, or were associated with the university.
A common theme among the organizations was self-sufficiency and helping those in need to achieve that.
“Our mission is to reduce poverty in Snyder County through missions that focus on self-sufficiency,” said Emily Mrusko, development director of the Union- Snyder Community Action Agency, located on Bridge Street in Selinsgrove.
Similar things could be said about other organizations involved, such as HandUP, Haven Ministry Inc., and the By Grace Transitional Home. HandUP runs a recycling center located in Milton, as well as a store, and programs including job training, emergency assistance, and various food initiatives. These operations serve to generate funds to help those within a 50-mile radius of Milton.
Haven Ministry Inc., located in Sunbury, is a homeless shelter and food pantry, while the By Grace Transitional Home takes in women and children.
“We work with women on things like budgeting, household management, parenting, getting their GED, getting their license, and other skills that will help them be self-sufficient,” said Stephanie Burke, an administrator at the By Grace Transitional Home.
The By Grace Transitional Home also offers parenting classes for women, as well as tutoring and other programs for children.
Other local organizations represented at the fair included Shepherd’s Pie, whose mission is to feed the hungry and reduce food waste, the East Snyder Regional Recreation Association, which maintains the East Snyder Park, the Friends of Rudy Gelnet Memorial Library, who raise funds for reading programs at the local library, the Regional Engagement Center, and Martha’s Table. Representatives from the Danville State Hospital and the Dauntless Hook and Ladder Co. were also present.
Also represented at the fair was Setebaid Services, Inc., an organization which runs multiple camps throughout the state of Pennsylvania that act as supporting environments for children with diabetes.
“It’s a regular camp, it’s just that the kids all have diabetes,” said Linda Neyhart, Setebaid’s business operations manager.
“Setebaid is ‘diabetes’ spelled backwards. They couldn’t come up with a name, and one boy said ‘Let’s call it diabetes backwards because it turned my life around,” she said.
University groups such as SU Campus Garden, the Community Food Action Team, and the River Corps, which is associated with the JCCE, were also present at the event.
“I overheard a lot of good conversations taking place between our community partners and students,” Frontino said
She commented that she came away from the event feeling positive.
“I felt like a lot of the community leaders left with good lists of students who were interested in volunteering,”.