For the first time, the Youth Community Service (YCS)-Interact Club hosted a Service Fair on the quad on Nov. 8.
The event featured over a dozen different local service organizations, raffle games and prizes, as well as a diverse array of service opportunities and volunteer internships ranging from weeding at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve to leading activities with children at the Stanford Ronald McDonald House.
“Ultimately, what we want to do is to connect students with volunteer opportunities. We know a lot of students want to help out, but just don’t know how they can help out or where they can help out.”
Ashley Hitchings, junior and treasurer of the Paly YCS-Interact Club
The event took the club months of coordination in order to ensure the dozens of organizations were able to attend.
The club has been publicizing the event through social media, on-campus flyers and reminders at their club meetings.
“Essentially, the months before the event, we were emailing a bunch of different organizations, finding out information [about the organizations’ service opportunities], doing publicity and then reaching out to students,” Hitchings said.
Although YCS hosts weekend service events, lunchtime service activities and various drives, among other service opportunities, they wanted to make finding volunteer opportunities more accessible to the larger Paly community.
Hitchings said the intent was to host an event similar to the Job or College Fair but with service opportunities.
YCS has also hosted the annual Day of Service — a day where any Paly student can sign up to volunteer at a service organization off campus — for the past few years, as well as numerous food, clothing and other drives.
According to Hitchings, the club decided to host the Service Fair event for the student body when they realized that some students who wanted to get involved had conflicting schedules with YCS weekend events or lunch meetings.
“What we want to do is help all students find out what ways they can both have fun and achieve the biggest impact. We want to empower students that might not be club members to also get involved.”
Students ranging in volunteer experience came out to the event. Even experienced volunteers and YCS board members got to visit and learn about new organizations.
“Besides manning [the event] I got to chance to visit Boys and Girls Club today.” said sophomore and Project and Drive Coordinator Laura Kim.
Sophomore and YCS Board Member, Shanti Deivanayagam, also said that the Service Fair helped her find additional new volunteer opportunities.
“I visited the My Red Shoes table and got to learn about their organization and give them my information to be in contact with them for future volunteer opportunities,” Deivanayagam said. “Overall, I thought that this event was a really great way to meet new organizations and get more information about what they do.”