October 15, 2016
More than two dozen non-profit organizations gathered at Mount Ida College in Newton on Saturday, October 15, 2016 for the Inaugural Volunteer Expo spearheaded by Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III. (pictured above in center)
“We were honored to be able to host this important event,” says Gregg Grenier, Director of Community Engagement at Mount Ida College. “At Mount Ida we are committed to service-learning and community engagement as part of both the student experience and for the entire campus. It was wonderful to see our students and community engage with the many organizations who participated.”
When Congressman Kennedy arrived, he made his way to the stage, stopping at tables along the way, engaging in conversation with the non-profit volunteers and staff, then stepped on stage to be introduced by Jill Wierbicki Abrahams, the Mount Ida College Vice President for Advancement. Abrahams presented the Congressman with a letter signed by his great-uncle, President John F.Kennedy, who had written in support of Mount Ida when still a senator in 1956 – a letter that was recently discovered in Mount Ida’s archives.
Congressman Kennedy then spoke about his time in the Peace Corps and how volunteerism and community service had impacted him. He noted that in this time of election turmoil, gazing out over the crowd, he was confident that our country was in good hands. Kennedy then continued to meet and speak with the Expo participants before leaving to go to a similar event at the other end of his District in Norton, Ma.
”This event served as a launchpad for the new Center for Community Engagement at Mount Ida,” says Grenier. “I can’t think of a more powerful way to not only show our campus commitment, but to reach out to our current, and we hope, future community partners in building this strong network.” Most striking to Grenier was the ability of small, volunteer-run non-profits to work alongside much larger ones. “You had “All Hands In,” for example, that fights human trafficking, and which is 100 percent volunteer, standing alongside the American Cancer Society that boasts 6000 employees and four million volunteers each year. The passion and excitement was the same.”
During the Expo, participants were able to engage in a service activity to be able to put their passion into practice. Individuals wrote letters to our soldiers that are placed overseas and were able to create “get well” cards for hospitalized children. It was a unique way for individuals to learn about volunteering while simultaneously being able to volunteer their time.
The Expo was co-hosted, along with Congressman Kennedy’s office, by the Mount Ida College Center for Community Engagement and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The following organizations were represented at the Volunteer Expo:
Action for Boston Community Development
AIDS Action Committee/Boomerangs
All Hands In
American Heart Association
American Cancer Society – Relay For Life
Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital
Chesterbrook Community Foundation, Inc.
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
Fallon Ambulance Service
Horizons for Homeless Children
Ignatian Volunteer Corp: New England
Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center
Mass Network of Foster Care Alumni
Massachusetts Campus Compact – AmeriCorps*VISTA Program
Norfolk County RSVP Volunteer Program
Boston Scholar Athletes
United Cerebral Palsy Organization of MetroBoston
Wayside Youth & Family Support Network