More than 700 students from six high schools attended Cayman’s first Student Volunteer Fair.

The fair brought students together with 20 nonprofit organizations that informed the teens about the various voluntary and community service work they can get involved in.

The Youth Services Unit of the Ministry of Education, Sports, Youth, Agriculture and Lands, organized the event, which was held at the John Gray High School Gymnasium on June 22.

Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly urged attendees to take advantage of the opportunities the fair represented for both giving back to the community and deepening their sense of civic responsibility.

“As Minister for Education, I am pleased to see such a large turnout of students, voluntary groups and teachers,” Ms. O’Connor-Connolly was quoted as saying in a press release.

“As a caring community and a responsible government, we must provide opportunities for our youth to develop into hardworking and compassionate adults,” she said. “My ministry believes that education twinned with structured voluntary work is an excellent way to achieve these goals. Only by giving to your community can you truly become invested in it.”

She thanked the Youth Services Unit, particularly the unit’s Youth Services Coordinator James Myles and Programmes Officer Camille Angel, for bringing the event to fruition.

The minister said she hoped that the fair would become an annual event.

Head of the Youth Services Unit, Katherine Whittaker, addressing the participants, which included teachers and principals, said, “We want all young people to become engaged in community projects and causes as one of the means of finding their place in our society. We want them to understand the importance of giving without expecting anything in return, to experience the joy of volunteering and to be a part of a group of like-minded people, making valuable contributions to the cause of their choice.”

She said there was a cause and an organization for everyone. “And for those organizations that don’t yet exist or where there are gaps, we want young people to learn how to meet such needs,” she added.

“It’s important for our young people to be exposed to the realities of life and to be encouraged to know that they can help no matter their age,” said the National Council of Voluntary Organisations Coordinator Mona Lisa Meade. “This is a great event and we are so happy to be able to share what the NCVO does and offer up ideas of simple ways the students can assist us and our clients by volunteering. I hope this event continues to grow and through it we can encourage our youth to live a life of service.”

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