NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Engage Norfolk was created to be a one-stop-shop for all things civic engagement. Organizers say the goal is for Norfolk to become the most engaged city in the commonwealth. Those who participated last year say they’re coming back for more.
Inside Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop, you’ll find passion with a purpose.
“We use the building of wooden boats and other nautical activities to teach math, science and life skills,” said founder Tom Brandl. “Our motto is life skills through boat building.”
He founded the organization about two years ago. The group brings under-privileged kids to the workshop after school.
Last year, the organization attended Engage Norfolk and found other local groups with similar goals.
Brandl said, “If we can work with other non-profits, it kind of enhances what we do, and we can enhance what they do to better help the kids that we service.”
That networking happened thanks to the event spearheaded by Norfolk city councilwoman Andria McClellan. She said, “The call after last year’s event was “when are you going to do it again?”
More than 1,000 people turned out for last year’s event, which included a civic fair, workshops, and meet and greets with local officials.
“People really want to give back, and this is a really great opportunity to figure out how they can connect their passion to some action in our community,” said McClellan.
She believes change happens at the local level and it takes more than comments on the internet to make it happen. McClellan said, “Our world has become hitting a like button is enough, and that’s really not enough.”
That’s why she created Engage Norfolk, which is a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to make a change.
“One person can make a difference and everyone should try,” McClellan said.
Engage Norfolk is coming up Sunday, February 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Norview High School. The event is free and you can register online.