By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
A dozen agencies from the Colorado Springs community filled the atrium of Building 210 as the Airman and Family Readiness Center held its first Volunteer Info Fair here June 4.
More than 50 members of Team 5-0 attended the event in order to speak with representatives from agencies looking for volunteers for various events.
“[The agencies] had lists of people signed up and ready to volunteer,” said Heidi Goodbar, A&FRC community readiness consultant and volunteer program manager. “They are anxious to do another one in the future.”
Goodbar said the fair served a dual purpose as it reintroduced the A&FRC’s volunteer program to the base and it gave Team 5-0 members looking to volunteer a way to connect with local agencies.
“This is a program that we wanted to try to revitalize,” Goodbar said. “Just bringing it back and getting it going.”
This was the first event Goodbar has held since arriving at Schriever in February and she said she was amazed at the amount of volunteer opportunities available. While preparing for the event and looking for agencies to participate, she discovered that there are more than 2,000 non-profit organizations in Colorado Springs.
“I was amazed as I went through this process at the amount of opportunities out there,” she said. “There are so many ways people can get involved.”
Some of the organizations in attendance used the event as a way to not only gain new volunteers, but to also strengthen their relationship with local military members.
“We were honored and grateful to participate in this event,” said Kyle McGuire, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado-Pikes Peak recruitment and enrollment specialist. “Not only because it was an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about Big Brothers Big Sisters and our ongoing need for more male mentors, but also because as an organization we are constantly on the lookout for quality, positive and dedicated people to serve as role models for the youth in our community; and experience has shown that we consistently find these people serving in the military.”
McGuire said 25 percent of the mentors currently in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are military members. He said Big Brothers Big Sisters has also worked with the military to develop programs for children of deployed and killed-in-action members with additional support and guidance.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters-Pikes Peak and this community are indebted to the military for their selfless service, both professionally and altruistically,” McGuire said. “Over 15 percent of the children we serve come from [deployed or KIA] families and we feel privileged to be in a position to facilitate such a positive impact on them.”
Heather Vozzola, Flying W Ranch Foundation volunteer coordinator, said her organization has been highly satisfied with all military volunteers, but especially with groups of Air Force volunteers.
“I have found that Air Force groups are one of the most productive groups of all,” Vozzola said. “The Air Force comes out and finds the most efficient, safe way to get things done and we are so thankful. They have such heart for the work [they do] to support their community.”
Vozzola said the intimacy of the event gave both organizations and attendees a better opportunity to really learn whether they are a good fit for each other.
“This event was a great way to meet people one-on-one and see what their interests are,” she said. “As a volunteer organization, I want my volunteers to be excited to work with us, so it is nice to have a good fit between the work and the people.”
Goodbar said based on the feedback she’s received from both attendees and the agencies she’ll likely plan another fair in the future. She hopes to be able to bring more of those 2,000 non-profits to Schriever as well.
“I know that we’ll do this again on a bigger scale and I’ll invite more agencies,” she said.
In addition to matching volunteers with organizations, Goodbar said she was also able to start putting together a list of members interested in volunteering. She said while she isn’t able to actually place people with organizations, knowing who wants to volunteer allows her to pass along opportunities when they arise.
“I don’t place anybody, but I’ll get them the information and refer them,” Goodbar said. “Maybe [an organization] has an event and they need people. I can send that request out to this list and let them know that there’s an opportunity.”
For more information, contact Goodbar at 567-7341.