Civic Engagement Fair encourages students to get involved with the community


Alexa Weisbond

Richard Lemmo, Community Outreach and Public Information Officer is seen tabling at the fair for the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.

Alexa Weisbond, Reporter

Civic Engagement and Leadership held the Civil Engagement and Leadership Fair to give students one on one time to meet organizations in the community to learn how they can have more of an impact and get involved. The fair featured a variety of local community organizations and nonprofits including California Lutheran University Career Services, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, Ride On, Reading Awakens Dreams by Donating and many others.

Franky Pagel, the lead of the Civic Engagement Fair this year, who also serves as an intern for Civic Engagement and Leadership, explained that the goal of the fair is for students to meet local organizations and nonprofits that will inform them on how they can have a direct impact on the community.

“One of the biggest things being an adult is figuring out how we can actually impact our community and this is just another step forward for students to be able to do that,” Pagel said.

Community Outreach and Public Information Officer Richard Lemmo said Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District is a publicly administered program that has been around since 1961 and is predominantly in the neighborhoods of Oak Park and Simi Valley.

“We have over 50 parks, 80 miles worth of trails; we do programs, organized programs, sports leagues, classes all the way from Mommy and Me all the way up to what we call Active Adults, which are 50+ senior citizen programs,” Lemmo said.

Lemmo said that he was very glad to have the unique opportunity of tabling at the Cal Lutheran Civic Engagement Fair, especially because high school and college-age students are a target demographic of Rancho Simi’s hiring and they are used to having students try to balance a work and school schedule.

“We’d rather have somebody that we know is committing to education and then we’ll work around your schedule. Not every organization does that and I think that’s unique to Rancho Simi,” Lemmo said.

Another organization tabling at the event was Ride On, which Chief Operating Officer Sara Jones said is a nonprofit that provides horseback riding opportunities for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. Jones said Ride On has two different programs including an individual riding program, and their therapy services program.

Welcoming all volunteers, Jones said that Ride On does not require volunteers to have any type of special experience or background to get involved.

“We don’t ask a huge amount of your time. If you can just commit to once a week that would be awesome and we’ve got all sorts of different things that you can get involved with at Ride On,” Jones said.

Edward Kang, senior student employment coordinator & career counselor at Cal Lutheran Career Services, said the event is important, since it provides students with the proper tools to get involved outside of the campus community.

“I think it’s a good sort of merge between the goals of career services, which is obviously to connect CLU students and alumni as well, but in this case students, with work opportunities and also the piece of civic engagement, right, finding employment opportunities in the local community,” Kang said.

Pagel said that Civic Engagement and Leadership looks forward to the future as they work to give students more opportunities to get involved outside of the campus community to truly make a difference in the larger community.

“Our plan for the future is to just really directly help students in whatever way we can when it comes to civic engagement and leadership, meaning directly giving back to the community, or being able to help each other as students, as faculty, as people in the community,” Pagel said.