SIDNEY — The work of non-profit agencies that provide services throughout the region will be on display at the Community Connections Expo on Tuesday, Oct. 4, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, located at 300 E. Parkwood St. in Sidney. This first-time event is being sponsored by the Shelby County Community Services Council (SCCSC), the YMCA, and 105.5TAM-FM. The expo is free and open to the public.
During the expo, the human services agencies will not only have an opportunity to network with each other, but also spread the word to the community about programs and services that are available here.
“The purpose of the expo is to raise awareness about agency services,” said Jennifer Bruns, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Darke and Shelby Counties, and chairperson of the SCCSC. “The initial idea came from a neighboring county that does a monthly gathering for new staff members in various agencies. Here in Shelby County, we wanted to make this an opportunity for both new and existing staff from non-profits to become more informed about the vast array of services available throughout the area, as well as educate the general public about those services.”
Exhibit tables representing 39 non-profit agencies will be manned by agency staff members who will talk with visitors, answer questions, and hand out information. There will be door prizes and information about volunteer opportunities for those who would like to get involved in helping others. There will be no on-site sales or solicitations as this is intended to be an educational event, not a sales pitch.
Executive Director of the Shelby County United Way Scott Barr, who was part of the initial discussion to organize such an event, was excited about the turnout of agencies.
“There has been great response so there will be a good representation of organizations that serve and strengthen our community,” he said. “The expo is a great opportunity for the general public and new employees working in human services in Shelby County to learn about the various agencies and programs they provide.”
“We have tremendous work going on in Shelby County but sometimes we tend to stay in silos, isolated in our own worlds,” said Kathy Sell, director of the Sidney office of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, one of the participating agencies. “Think how many people could benefit if we collaborate, network, and refer clients to other agencies for additional services. The expo will help us know all the programs that are available and encourage everyone to keep building connections to help those in need.”
The Community Services Council was formed to provide networking, information sharing, interagency support, and coordination of existing services throughout Shelby County. The Council meets every other month at Sidney First Methodist Church. The expo is a natural outgrowth of the ongoing work of the Council.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.