The Community Roundtable is hosting its annual Community Service Forum at Brandon High.

Local students interested in finding out how they can help their community while working towards a college scholarship are invited to the Brandon High School Gymnasium on Thursday, September 26, when The Community Roundtable is hosting its annual Fall Community Service Forum.

The event is open to residents of all ages looking to learn about more than 25 local nonprofit groups looking for volunteers.

Janine Nickerson, Community Roundtable President, began coordinating the event in 2013 as a way to help local charities connect with students looking to satisfy community service requirements for Bright Future Scholarships. It is now held twice a year at local high schools and is typically attended by hundreds of students.

“There are so many great organizations right here in the Brandon area that don’t have the resources to tell students looking for hours that they need their help,” said Nickerson.

The charities set up in the school’s gymnasium during Brandon High’s college night so that students can have the chance to walk around and learn about the organizations from the people who know the most about them.

“It is so much more meaningful than reading about a charity on a piece of paper or website,” said Nickerson.

Students from 10 local schools, homeschool groups and private institutions are invited to the event, and it is open to people of all ages looking to find a way to contribute to the community. School guidance counselors also attend to answer questions about Bright Futures requirements.

Nickerson explained that the forum also provides the students’ parents with the opportunity to not only find out more about the place where their students are spending time volunteering, but to find an organization they want to help themselves.

Charities in attendance fit into a number of different categories, including military, the arts, environmental and range from county-wide to hyperlocal.

“We hope that after getting the opportunity to learn about the different groups, attendees are able to find something that ignites their passion for volunteering,” said Nickerson. “Something that may follow them through their whole life.”

The mission of The Community Roundtable, founded in 1957, is to get the word out to the Brandon community about local charities. Visit or call 661-4350. Brandon High School is located at 1101 Victoria St.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.