Today, many people attended the Nonprofit Volunteer and Internship Fair. Held in the Buenger Education Center, the fair included 29 local organizations. To begin the convocation, Dr. Kris Bransford spoke and he introduced Janine Papenfuss from career services at Concordia. Janine Papenfuss spoke about the many great opportunities that the organizations at this fair have which includes internships, volunteer opportunities, and careers. Then, another person came up to the podium to introduce the speakers. The first speaker was a former honor student: Katie Benke. She graduated in 2010 with a degree in political science. She spoke about the internship she had at Children's Law which is a nonprofit organization that provides lawyers for children and many foster kids. At Children's Law, she worked "behind the scenes" to help expedite the process of finding a lawyer and helping the kids. Next, Benke spoke about her unpaid internship at the Minnesota House of Representatives. There, she began as an intern to a legislative assistant and was promoted to constituency phone calls. Also, she talked about her job today where she works as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. The last two speakers were Michaela Charleston and Cindy Yang from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Charleston is a Communications Assistant and Cindy is an Operations Assistant. They told the crowd about how "The Minnesota Council of NonProfits works to inform, promote, connect, and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector." They gave us statistics about the nonprofit sector including how it employs 1 of every 9 workers and it provides 290,000 jobs. Plus, the nonprofit sector is always growing. Furthermore, they informed the crowd about how nonprofit organizations are mission based, governed by a board of directors and our community oriented. They talked about many websites including HandsOn Twin cities and MAP for Nonprofits too. After the convocation everyone was free to go around to the tables and talk to the various organizations about being a volunteer and an intern.
Concordia's mission statement is "to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living, for dedicated service to God and humanity, for enlightened care of God's creation, all within the context of the Christian Gospel." This convocation helps Concordia's students fulfill this mission. The Convocation provided many students with great information about organizations that he or she could help at in the future. Also, it makes it easier for students to become involved in the community and to help make the community a better place for everyone in the twin cities. These convocations attempt to bring people together to build a stronger community and better environment. Also many of the nonprofit organizations are faith based which strengthens people's faith. All in all, the fair was a great event to market organizations to students and to help students find a place where he or she can make a difference in the community.
I believe the convocation along with the fair was a great way to bring people and nonprofit organizations together. It not only helps students but it also helps the community. The convocation was filled with information about nonprofit organizations and about the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (although the speakers were sometimes difficult to follow). I learned that it sometimes difficult to just go up to a table and ask for information especially when you're tired and hungry like I was today. On a happier note, I did find some great organizations that I could possibly volunteer at. It might be difficult to choose because I want to do everything but I have to remember I don't have a whole lot of time during the middle of softball season next semester. I found out that a lot of the organizations that I wanted to volunteer at were tutoring kids and teens but they were all after school and softball practice falls between 3 and 6 in the afternoon so I had to find places that were flexible. In the end, I found the convocation and fair to be extremely helpful and it relieved some stress that I had about finding an organization.