Last year, as a brand new Norfolk City Councilwoman, I was introduced to numerous organizations, new and old, created with noble passions and ideas for solving the community’s problems. At the same time, a fast-growing sentiment I heard from many around me was, “I want to help, to make a difference, but I’m not sure how, or where to start.”
In response, Engage Norfolk was created to connect these dots. And did we ever!
On a Sunday afternoon in February, over 1000 engaged and concerned citizens from all walks of life and political affiliations flooded the host school with enormous enthusiasm, talking with community leaders, signing up for volunteer opportunities and their civic leagues, and learning how they could turn their abilities and concerns into actions and become leaders in their communities.
Core to the event was our CivicFAIR, which provided attendees an opportunity to learn about volunteer and advocacy opportunities from more than 100 organizations ranging from the environment, social justice, the arts, education, political organizations/candidates and more.
After the day was over, 80% of our CivicFAIR participants said they had more signups than ever from similar tabling events. The comment I heard over and over was how valuable it was for organizations to get a chance to explain to people in depth what their organization does and what they needed from volunteers. And, in the weeks that followed, donations and volunteer sign-ups increased, and 95% of our CivicFAIR organizations said they wanted to do this again!
And, so we are.
With the New Journal & Guide and WHRO as co-sponsors and community partners, we are launching our 2nd annual Engage Norfolk event on February 11th from 1-5pm at Norview High School. We welcome and encourage community organizations to sign up to participate in the CivicFAIR. Registration is free and open to all organizations offering the opportunity to engage citizens at www.engagenorfolk.com.
[The only CivicFAIR requirement: please outline an opportunity (or more) for attendees to engage with your organization, a specific date/time for a volunteer event, opportunity to advocate/lobby on a specific issue). Space is limited, and tables will be provided on a first come, first served basis.]
Come help us fill the gap between you and the people who want to help you be successful in your journey to improving our vibrant community. See you there!
By Andria McClellan
Norfolk City Councilwoman