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AARP AARP States Virginia

Venture Into Volunteering Fair


Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.” For those who attended the Venture Into Volunteering Fair it seems there is no better way to start or continue to make their lives more enriching. This annual event was held at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

There was something for everyone to volunteer for, depending on their passions and what they care about to make our world a better place. One hundred organizations signed up and almost all of them showed up to provide information, explain their mission and their volunteer needs, and help attendees decide the best fit for them. More than a thousand potential volunteers trickled through the rows of exhibits, a candy store of volunteer opportunities for those so inclined.

AARP Virginia, one of the fair’s major sponsors, stood out with its brand new “ice cream stand” containing materials on volunteering with AARP, and symbolic of the many sweet flavors that volunteering with AARP can offer. At the next fair attendees may get their request for real ice cream😊🍦🍦🍦!

The beneficiaries of volunteering are numerous groups of people, such as children and youth, students, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the terminally ill, victims of abuse, veterans, immigrants, gender groups; those who need information and assistance with technology, with fighting fraud, health care, finances, specific life stages planning, and more. Outside of helping groups of people, there are opportunities for animal lovers, plant lovers, and those concerned with the environment. There are opportunities as well for lifelong learning, for artists, skilled artisans and professional groups; and for those who may want to be involved in civic duty or our military and law enforcement.

There were exhibitors like Create the Good that could help potential volunteers in taking optimum advantage of and navigating this somewhat overwhelming smorgasbord. Create the Good is a program by AARP and serves like a matching service for interested volunteers seeking opportunities. It is nationwide, free of charge, and welcomes people of any age, not just AARP members or people age 50 and older. Those who visit to the Create the Good website can select or find the best fit for their volunteer interests. Questions may be emailed to Organizations that register with Create the Good provide their information and needs to find potential volunteers.

An added bonus for fair attendees was information about services from which they can benefit. A caregiver who needs respite or a break would find that help can be had for free. A student may find that a scholarship that she or he did not previously know about is there for the taking. An artist might help or join a group that would spread his or her work. Someone who lives alone would learn that a daily phone call, for free, would provide security and peace of mind for self and family. These and many other services are available to many.

The fair was sponsored by Fairfax County’s Volunteer Solutions, AARP Virginia, Chesterbrook Residences, Rick Garza Consulting and Dulles Expo Center. Dulles Expo Center provided the venue free. Exhibitors include AARP, many local and national non-profit organizations, government agencies, foundations, and commercial providers of products and services.

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Photos of the event can be viewed here.

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