University employees and students can get personally involved in the fight against poverty in Athens by attending a volunteer fair sponsored by the anti-poverty group Partners for a Prosperous Athens Aug. 28 at Clarke Central High School.
The fair begins at 5:30 p.m. in the school’s food court. Local agencies and organizations that work with low-income and disadvantaged people will have tables where people can get information and volunteer to help. Some 20-30 groups are expected to participate.
The fair will continue until 7 p.m. when the regular monthly meeting of Partners for a Prosperous Athens will begin in the school auditorium. At the meeting, PPA leaders will present a report on the group’s work to date.
UGA is one of five convenors of Partners for a Prosperous Athens, which was started in January to address Clarke County’s 28 percent poverty rate. Other convenors are the Athens-Clarke County government, the Clarke County School System, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Family Connection.
Several hundred people who have been attending PPA monthly meetings have been gathering in committees to study and discuss six issues associated with poverty.
The issues are education, housing and transportation, physical and mental health, dependent care, the local work force and the local economy.
While the committee work is necessary for developing long-range strategies, some people want more immediate, hands-on involvement in fighting poverty, said Red Petrovs, a business consultant who is vice chair of the Partners group and is organizing the volunteer fair.
“All of the organizations at the fair work directly with people in need, and they all can use more help,” said Petrovs. “This is a way for people to find a place where they can make an impact and jump in and get to work.”
Pat Allen, UGA’s director of community relations, said the fair is another way the university can support the Partners initiative.
“The university is already heavily involved through the Fanning Center, which provides primary staff support for the Partners, and through many faculty, staff and students who attend the monthly meetings and work on the committees,” said Allen.
“The fair is another opportunity to use our talents and resources for something that will benefit our entire community.”