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Community Engagement, Giving Back, Speakers

Community Service Fair Highlights Importance of Volunteering, Community Engagement

On Saturday, October 28, Mount Ida College co-hosted Congressman Kennedy’s Community Service Fair at Newton City Hall, bringing together 30 community organizations to talk with community members about volunteer opportunities and the importance of public service.  This was the second annual Community Service Fair that Mount Ida has hosted with Congressman Kennedy’s office.

The event was also hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Newton North High School, and Newton South High School.

Congressman Kennedy, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 2004 to 2006, is committed to public and community service and has represented Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District since 2013.

Congressman Kennedy welcomed those gathered, saying, “It’s a pretty extraordinary thing that you have a community that is willing to roll up their sleeves and dive in to serve. To say that what actually makes our country as strong, as diverse, and as resilient as we are is not a law, a bill, or a speech coming out of Washington, but the commitment that our communities are willing to make, and do make, to each other.”

Mount Ida students, as well as high school students and others of all ages from the 4th congressional district, attended the fair. Participants had the opportunity to learn about a variety of organizations, including the Newton Food Pantry, the Peace Corps, West Suburban YMCA, the Newton Fire Department, and others.

Attendees were also invited to participate in a service activity of writing “Cards of Hope” to homebound elders that were affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Gregg Grenier, Mount Ida’s Director for Community Engagement, served as emcee of the fair and described service as “a unifier – it brings people together from all walks of life in times of joy and in times of great need. It involves individuals and groups giving their time, talent, energy, and money towards causes greater than themselves. It requires communities to band together to support not only their neighbors but also other citizens around the world.

Mount Ida’s Americorps VISTA volunteer, Lauren Dybel, also spoke at the event about her year of service at Mount Ida.

Lauren Dybel, Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA at Mount Ida started, “Like our keynote speaker, Congressman Kennedy, I believe in the power of national and community service to end poverty, I understand the value of a year of service, and I know that we all have a part to play in serving with – and learning from – our communities.

“The commitment to service is not just a fleeting thought – it is ingrained in who we are and who we want to become,” says Grenier. “This Community Service Fair was a highlight for myself and Mount Ida because it shows that we are dedicated to living out our mission to make a positive impact on the world.”

Did you miss the Community Service Fair? Learn about volunteer and service opportunities from Mount Ida’s Center for Community Engagement, or contact Gregg Grenier at ggrenier@mountida.edu or 617-928-4547.