FLINT — HandsOn Genesee, the volunteer center for Genesee County, brings its annual Volunteer Expo to the University of Michigan-Flint campus this week in conjunction with University Outreach. More than 30 charity and nonprofit groups looking for volunteers will be on hand to talk to people who are interested in volunteering. There will be food, door prizes and more.
“It’s like one-stop shopping to find out what kind of volunteer opportunities are available in the community and how to get involved,” said Julia Zaher, Director of HandsOn Genesee. “ Visitors can find out how their interests and skills match up with the needs of great nonprofit organizations here.”
The Volunteer Expo is free and open to the public. It takes place from 3-7 p.m., Oct. 6 at UM-Flint’s University Center which is located next to the Recreation Center. Free parking is available in the Mill Street Ramp adjacent to the Recreation Center. A free shuttle will run between Mott Community College’s Prawl Center and UM-Flint during the Expo to make it easier for MCC students to attend.
Groups such as the Flint River Watershed Coalition, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Salem Housing and the YWCA will be on hand to talk about the many volunteer opportunities within each organization.
Resource Genesee recently rebranded its volunteer center as HandsOn Genesee. The organization is part of the HandsOn Network of volunteer centers nationwide.
Along with the name change comes the launch of a new tool for volunteering in Genesee County. A new website, www.handsongenesee.org, will serve as a one-stop portal for volunteering in the greater Flint area. Nonprofit organizations can list their volunteer opportunities on the website and volunteers can sign up for them online.
“It’s exciting because Genesee County has needed one website where volunteers and nonprofit organizations could easily find each other,” Zaher said.
When individuals become a member they create a volunteer profile detailing their interests, special skills and availability. They can then sign up for or express interest in specific volunteer opportunities online. Members can also create teams and sign up to volunteer as a team. In addition, the website creates a civic transcript, a listing of all the verified hours of volunteering a person has completed. The transcript will be valuable for students and others who need verified service hours. Membership is free.
“ We are still training nonprofit groups how to use HandsOn Genesee.org,” Zaher said. “In the months to come you’ll see many more volunteer opportunities being listed.”
To promote HandsOnGenesee.org, anyone who becomes a member and creates a personal profile by Oct. 15, will be entered into a drawing to win and iPad 2 16GB wifi.
HandsOn Genesee received grants from the Ruth Mott Foundation and the Michigan Community Service Commission to assist with the launch of the new website and rebranding of the volunteer center.
The Volunteer Expo is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, ELGA Credit Union, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, and Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.
For additional information call 810-232- 6285 or go to www.handsongenesee.org. — G.G.