OAKLAND — Thinking about volunteering in the city's public schools or youth programs? Representatives from about 15 local organizations, including the school district, will be on hand at a volunteer fair Sept. 12.

The Montclair Community Action Group, which grew out of a phone-banking network for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, organized the event. Carolyn Burd, one of the lead organizers, said the members took to heart the president's call for community service.

Burd said the thinking was simple: "How can we get more volunteers into the schools and make it easy?"

Tony Smith, the new Oakland schools superintendent, will open the event with a few remarks. Burd said every neighborhood will be represented at the fair.

Participating nonprofit groups include the Faith Network of the East Bay, Project BUILD, Lafayette School Mentoring Program, Experience Corps, Superstars Literacy, WriterCoach Connection and the Oakland Public Library.

The Oakland school district closed HEROES, its previous volunteer program, last year after losing outside funding. Now, an advisory team is working on a long-term plan — and on some immediate concerns, such as the $80 fingerprinting fee that some volunteers now have to pay, said Risha Riley, the Oakland school district's volunteer coordinator.

She said a new online tool for schools and volunteers likely will be launched this fall. The fair is giving such efforts a boost, she said. "It's like a jump-start."

Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog at www.ibabuzz.com/education. Find her on Twitter at twitter.com/katymurphy.

volunteer fair
  • When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 12
  • Where: Oakland Main Library's West Auditorium, 125 14th St. (entrance on Madison Street)
  • Getting there: Close to Lake Merritt BART station; free event parking at 13th and Madison streets and in the 1500 block of Madison Street
  • For more information: www.montclairaction.com