Monday, March 18, 2013

Multicultural Leadership Program’s Board Networking Fair

The Multicultural Leadership Program’s Board Networking Fair that was held at Country Financial, Saturday afternoon, February 9, 2013, proved successful. With twenty-five planned not-for-profit organizations at the event, the participants of MCLP 2013 had plenty of board and committee opportunities presented. Twenty-five different tables were set up in a circle around a huge room. At each table there were one or two individuals representing the organization, eagerly hoping to recruit future board members that had passion and desire for change. Among the organizations was Faith in Action of Bloomington-Normal, the representative was a former graduate of MCLP Lori Harvey who is now the president of the organization. Faith in Action works towards making sure senior citizens are properly cared for.

The room was silent, as the organizations awaited the arrival of the MCLP participants. Before the event began I had a chance to sit down and talk with Denny Steele, representative from the Western Avenue Community Center. The community center is dedicated to giving people opportunities and hope. The programs are organized based on education, the after school club includes children from grades K-5th and the teen clubs focuses on junior high girls. Furthermore, The Center focuses on the growing Hispanic community offering interpretation services, Latino counseling services and women’s support groups. Mentoring programs which include “State Farm executives who make great role models,” work with youth. Steele hoped the fair would result in a potential board member from MCLP.

Noise immediately entered, as the participants joined the event. Instructions soon followed, as the participants were told that this was a mock speed dating event. The MCLP students were given six minutes to evaluate whether or not a particular organization was the right fit for them. At the tables organizations were ready with pamphlets full of information, business cards, and some even had pencils. However, the participants were ready as well passing out business cards and asking the organizations several questions. After six minutes the bell rang and complete chaos broke out, as individuals shook hands and moved on to the next table. Some participants wanted to talk to a particular organization, but were beat to the seat. Choosing another nearby organization drew connections that may have not been made otherwise.

MCLP would like to thank the following not-for-profit organizations for giving participants a networking opportunity:

·         American Civil Liberties Union

·         Big Brother Big Sister of Mclean County

·         Bloomington-Normal YMCA

·         Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal

·         Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College

·         Children’s Home and Aid

·         Collaborative Solutions Institute

·         Community Health Care Clinic

·         Easter Seals

·         Ecology Action Center

·         Faith in Action Bloomington-Normal

·         Heartland Community College Foundation

·         Heartland Head Start

·         Home Sweet Home Ministries

·         Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

·         Illinois Theatre Consortium

·         Kiwanis Club of Bloomington, IL

·         Labyrinth Outreach Services to Women

·         The League of Women Voters of Mclean County

·         Marcfirst

·         Mclean County Museum of History

·         Mid-Central Community Action, Inc.

·         PATH

·         West Bloomington Revitalization Project

·         Western Avenue Community Center