C.A.R.E. fair draws crowds
August 31, 2011
HEIDELBERG, Germany - More than 500 families, Soldiers and community members packed the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion in Heidelberg Aug.27 for the 26th annual Community Activities Registration and Education fair.
The event, hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Württemberg Army Community Service featured exhibits from more than 60 local organizations such as Central Texas College, Club Beyond, the Roadside Theater, the American Red Cross, Service Credit Union, Heidelberg Dental Activity, Boys and Girls Scouts of America, Bavarian Motor Cars and others from throughout the garrison and surrounding communities.
American Forces Network Europe Heidelberg also broadcast live from the event.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a steady stream of visitors stuffed their goodie bags full of information pamphlets, prizes , candy and other freebies while they leisurely maneuvered through the mile long maze of tables and displays.
The C.A.R.E. Fair is designed to familiarize both new and not so new community members with the many services offered here by private and garrison-based organizations.
"It helps get you involved in the community and makes you aware of what's out there," said Jacqueline Henderson, a military spouse who arrived from Fort Bragg a year ago. "Sometimes when you come especially to a new country, you tend to want to be just at home and never venture out because you may be just a little bit scared or timid. But when you come here it really opens you up and the people are really friendly and they draw you in and they say 'go do this' and they of course give you free stuff," she laughed.
Adorned with colorful fabrics, poster ceramics and several shiny medieval swords, the Heidelberg Arts and Cultural Center's display table proved to be a favorite for many visitors.
"The CARE Fair in this community really happens every day," said Alvin Coleman, Assistant Director of the Heidelberg Arts and Cultural Center. "We're hoping that people can take advantage of what they see here and understand that these things are offered every day of the year. No matter what their interest, this is a great way for Soldiers and families to become connected to the right resources."
In the rear of the pavilion, representatives from the Exchange, Heidelberg International School, Department of Defense Dependent Schools, Microsoft and others screened lines of potential job-seekers during a career fair, held in conjunction with the C.A.R.E. Fair.
Jemilla Montgomery, a military spouse, sought positions in the Information Technology and education fields. "I'm looking to start my career. I got here two weeks ago from Fort Hood where I volunteered on post in the IT department and with the American Red Cross at Fort Hood," Montgomery said.
"The job fair is an extra tool for me to find out what positions are out there instead of just looking online and also you can come out and see the employers and they can meet you face to face."
The huge turn-out was definitely a welcome sight for organizers Norma Ewers, ACS volunteer coordinator, Christina Callaghan, USAG BW ACS division chief and the entire ACS staff who spent the past several weeks working to ensure that no detail was overlooked during this year's event.
"It's absolutely fantastic and we are thrilled. Every year it gets bigger and bigger," Callaghan said. Callaghan attended the first C.A.R.E. fair in Heidelberg back in 1985.
"It's great to see everyone out having a good time and it gives you a great buzz when you see people constantly coming to the tables and asking questions," she added.
"We hold it at this time of year because people are coming back from their vacation and they're getting ready to go back to school. It's a one-stop shopping opportunity for people who are new to the community or even veteran community residents to see everything that's available in this fantastic community that we live in," she said.