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KidsMatter Volunteer Fair 2021

KidsMatter, a group on a mission to serve local children, put on its annual volunteer fair yesterday.

The event, held at the Fort Hill Activity Center, invited people of all ages to drop by and learn more about volunteer opportunities in the community.

According to KidsMatter CEO and Executive Director Nina Menis, “We had a lot of young people come through. We’ve also had a lot of families come through that are looking to do something together. We had many adults come through that are looking for opportunities to volunteer.”

The volunteer fair serves as a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering but unsure about how to get involved. This year the event featured about 20 nonprofits and organizations, including Giving DuPage, Hesed House and Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.

Pandemic Impact

Some organizations that rely on volunteers took a hit when the pandemic first started and the emergency shelter-in place order was imposed by the governor. But since the state has reopened, so too have volunteer opportunities.

According to Menis, “For organizations that have just gone through the whole COVID experience, sometimes it’s hard to get volunteers to come back. Tonight they’re so excited to meet many, many people that are interested in getting back to volunteering. And then, also, for the people who are volunteering, it’s not only fun and rewarding to give back to an organization but also there’s a lot of research that says it’s really good for your health, makes you happier, increases your immunity. So, there are a lot of health benefits to volunteering.”

Moving Forward

For those who may have missed the fair, KidsMatter has a list on their website of groups who are happy to get an extra hand.

According to Menis, “I think volunteering is just a wonderful way for you to become connected to your community. … I do really believe volunteering is a great way to get back involved in the community and really feel like you belong in Naperville. So, I encourage everybody to take an opportunity to get involved.”

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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