Volunteers find their cause at a North Shore Community College fair

Travis Wojcik (left), a student at North Shore Community College, chats with Clay Larsen, landscape project manager with Groundwork Somerville, about Bike to the Sea.
Travis Wojcik (left), a student at North Shore Community College, chats with Clay Larsen, landscape project manager with Groundwork Somerville, about Bike to the Sea. (Gayla Cawley)

LYNN — North Shore Community College students looking for volunteer opportunities were given the chance to engage with more than 20 community partners on Thursday morning.

North Shore Community College held its annual Community Partner Fair, which organizers said has been around for about a decade, and was presented by the Service-Learning Department and Office of Student Engagement. Students were able to meet representatives from community agencies that focus on youth services, hunger and homelessness, education and environmentalism.

Theresa Klimek, a graduate fellow in the college’s service learning department and event organizer, said the fair is meant to help students in service-learning classes who are looking for opportunities to complete service learning hours. But she said there are some students who are also just looking to volunteer.

Cate Kaluzny, a specialist in learner effectiveness and civic engagement at the college, said partners from the community are invited so students can become civically engaged.

“This is one of the ways we promote students becoming engaged in the community,” said Kaluzny. “One of the ways is becoming engaged with community partners.”

Travis Wojcik, 21, a North Shore student and Peabody resident, said he’s interested in engineering and the climate, but that transportation is always great. He was checking out a poster for Bike to the Sea — since 1993, Bike to the Sea has been working to create the Northern Strand Trail, a trail free of cars from the Malden/Everett area to beaches in Revere, Lynn and Nahant.

“I do love the fair,” Wojcik said. “It’s always good to check out what is going on in the community.”

Fanny Cai, 31, a North Shore student and Boston resident, said she went to the fair because she’s graduating in May and was looking into internships or volunteer work.

She stopped by the New American Center, a multi-service, multi-ethnic site providing culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible social service assistance to refugees and immigrants in the Lynn area. She said her concentration is specifically helping sufferers or war crimes and thinks that Lynn has a very good base for that.

“Generally, I always look into opportunities whenever there is an event going on (to) explore what the college is offering,” Cai said.

Becky Jones, a youth program coordinator with the New American Center, said the organization got involved with the fair because they’re always looking for people who are interested in volunteering with our students.

“It’s nice specifically to get people who are going to make connections to their classwork and get some new experiences while they’re there,” Jones said.

Alex Caporta, 18, a North Shore student and Lynn resident, said she works with children and was looking for similar volunteer opportunities. She was going to check out the YMCA table. She said she wants to volunteer, but she also needs 50 service hours to put on her transcript.

Ariel Asher, a program director with Camp Fire North Shore, an after-school program for kids, said the organization received a lot more interest from North Shore students than expected.

“We’re looking to expand our programs and get more people involved,” Asher said. “We want to find the right people to get involved.”

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