"We believe that there's never a reason to be bored in Pittsburgh," says
Pittsburgh Service Summit
organizer Tom Baker. The fourth annual Summit, to be held Feb. 26 at Carlow University "is a way for those in attendance to get activated and find out there are things to do." It's a kind of activity fair for young professionals, college students and community leaders to learn about community organizations offering service opportunities.
This year's Summit, run by Baker's local non-profit organization, Get Involved! Inc
., will feature speakers Ian Rosenberger, CBS Survivor
contestant and founder of an international humanitarian relief organization; Saleem Ghubril, head of the Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship fund; Kevin Kearns, professor of public and nonprofit management in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and director of the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership; and WTAE-TV news anchor Sally Wiggin.
After joining past conferences, Baker says, attendees have reported that they've successfully connected with a new organization to which they could lend their talents as a volunteer. Organizations working the fair, he says, have even met and acquired new board members to help them out. "That's truly what we love to hear," he adds.
Baker recalls the moments that inspired him to become active as a volunteer. When he was about six years old, "I would literally follow my dad around to events" his father was attending as a Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher and children's author. When Baker's father died, when Baker was 12, his mother continued to encourage his activism, which took root when he attended Millersville University. But after college, Baker noticed that many fellow students lost interest in serving their communities.
"Our generation has to do more to step up and be active," he says. He's hoping the Summit continues to connect people with new organizations and new causes. "We're hoping to see 300 to 400 people there. It's a one-stop shop."
The summit will also honor many individuals with awards for their work locally, including:
- Get Involved! Male and Female Emerging Leaders (Frank Macinsky and Jessica Brubach);
- Dr. Tom Baker Community Leader Award (Vivian Lee Croft);
- Patty Verotsko Award for Child Advocacy (Bill Isler);
- Get Involved! Man and Woman of the Year (Bill Strickland and Mary Hines); and
- 2013 Western Pennsylvania Rising Stars, for professionals 21-30 active in charitable service: (Matthew Arch, Branden Ballard, Olivia Benson, Mark Bezilla, Brandon Blache-Cohen, Joseph Breems, Gina Carl, Chris Cavendish, Annie Clough, Jeremy Edge, Dennis Hazenstab, Carrie Hucker, Emily Kolek, LaTrenda Leonard, Lauren Mahoney-Yohman, Mary Parker, Robin Rectenwald, Jordan Shoup, Stephanie Sikora, Mahogany Thaxton, Frank Tigano, and Abby Sadowsky Bolton.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Tom Baker, Get Involved!