Fall Volunteer Fair showcases non-profits

By Tagui Martirosyan

More than 35 local organizations joined Cal Poly Pomona for its 10th annual Fall Volunteer Fair on Tuesday. The event was hosted by the Center for Community Engagement, and it gave students, staff and alumni the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the surrounding community

“It’s the whole philosophy, the learn by doing,” said Christina Moreno-Donato, academic internship coordinator at the Center for Community Engagement. “We encourage students to actually be involved.”

Project Sister Family Services was one of the participants in the event. The organization sought volunteer counselors for a 24-hour hotline that provides immediate assistance to adults and children who have been sexually assaulted. The organization has been active since 1972 and strives to reach out to sexual assault survivors who are afraid to speak up.

“We answer the phone, and if they have to go through like a sexual assault exam at a hospital, we accompany them. We’re there by their side, holding their hand [and] we’re there for them for their support,” said Ariana Saldivar, a volunteer for Project Sister Family Services. Volunteers must participate in a six-week training program, which prepares them to handle situations and calls from individuals seeking help.

The INSAN Foundation was another participant at the event. The 50-year-old foundation assists people in need of basic necessities. Its main concerns are hunger and homelessness, education and leadership development. Saba Hafeez, coordinator for projects and developments at the ISAN Foundation, said ISAN has had about 40,000 service projects in the last four years.

“It’s not only the school most recruiters are looking for. They’re looking for people who are creative people who do something other than going to school. ” I’ve seen many of my friends go into the field just with only a degree, and they can’t get anywhere,” said fifth-year computer engineering student Mark Alvarez.

“I’m looking for experience related to my major, being able to connect with others, get more experience with the community [and] get more involved,” said Caroline Gomez-Pena, a second-year manufacturing engineering student.

For some students, finding time to devote to volunteer work is an issue.

“I wish I had more time to volunteer because I love engaging with the community, helping the community and just making connections, but classes and other clubs related to my major interfere with that,” said Gomez-Pena

With the numerous opportunities non-profit organizations have to offer, students can find opportunities to volunteer that won’t conflict with their school schedules. There are organizations that offer volunteer opportunities that only require onetime commitment.

Bronco Volunteer at the Center for Community Engagement is trying to assist on-campus clubs and organizations with getting involved in volunteer work.

“We try to be a central resource for everything volunteering and community, getting into the community and making a difference,” said Megan C. Samaniego, the volunteering coordinator at the Center for Community Engagement..

Bronco Volunteer works with approximately 100 non-profit organizations. The Center for Community Engagement and Bronco Volunteer work to match students with volunteer opportunities that relate to their field of study.

“We want the city of Pomona to be glad that Cal Poly [Pomona] is present, so we want to make a difference in our backyard ” because we have the resource, we have the students, we have enthusiasm and we just want to give back,” said Samaniego.

Fall Volunteer Fair

Tagui Martirosyan / The Poly Post

Fall Volunteer Fair

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