Kids’ volunteer opportunities abound at local fair

DeKALB – DeKalb County KEYS (Keep Engaging Youth to Succeed) and Kishwaukee United Way will host the third annual Care or Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair for DeKalb County middle and high school youth and families from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at the Hopkins Park Terrace Room.

Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, vote, and be philanthropic, according to the UCLA/Higher Education Institute. In addition, young people who volunteer just one hour a week are 50 percent less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or engage in destructive behavior, according to the Search Institute.

In a 2013 survey of DeKalb and Sycamore teens, 51 percent said they volunteer in the community at least one hour per week – 5 percent more than said they volunteered in 2007, said Mary Hess, asset specialist at DeKalb County KEYS Initiative and Ben Gordon Center’s prevention and education program.

The Care or Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair is free and open to students in DeKalb County middle and high schools and their families and is designed to facilitate volunteer connections and help ignite the volunteer spirit. Last year, more than 20 local organizations were on hand to talk about the various volunteer opportunities available.

New this year, volunteer mentors will be on hand to answer questions about why they volunteer and how it has made a difference in their lives.

“We are excited to co-host the volunteer fair again this year in conjunction with a great community partner, KEYS. The promotion and coordination of volunteer service opportunities is integral to our mission,” said Dawn Littlefield, Kishwaukee United Way executive director. “We want to strongly encourage students and families to join us for this one-stop volunteer ‘shop’ to learn how they can give back to others through volunteering.”

For more information, contact Mary Hess at 815-756-8501, ext 111.

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