“I love preparing taxes because I love the interaction with customers and other volunteers. I see the same people year to year, I even see some of them out in the community, on the street or at the grocery store, and they’ll say ‘Hey, you did my taxes!’ It feels good to be of service. It just hurts me to know that people have spent their good, hard-earned money to have some big preparer do their tax return that wasn’t all that hard to do in the first place.”
Anika, is a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Center for Prevention community volunteer. Anika has been a member of Arts Us Center for the African Diaspora community in many roles: as youth, leader, parent, volunteer and board member.
"I volunteer because I recognize a tremendous need for this organization in my community - and because I know firsthand the difference exposure to these opportunities makes in the life of a young person and the difference a volunteer can make for a nonprofit." - Anika
ARTS-Us develops young leaders through art, science and culture of the African Diaspora.
On the day after Christmas, 2006, my husband and toddler and I drove to southern Minnesota to buy a puppy from a breeder I found in the newspaper's online classifieds and had been communicating with for a few weeks. I was ignorant at that time that dog breeders could legally have hundreds (more than 500) of adult breeding dogs that are caged 24 hours per day, seven days a week. I did go home with a puppy that day. He was sick and -- because he had not received any human interaction -- seemingly feral. I now know that puppies sold online and in pet stores -- even if they're registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) -- come from these large-scale commercial breeding facilities/puppy mills. And now that I know, I have to tell everyone. I volunteer for Bailing Out Benji because it is a credible nonprofit with volunteer chapters across the United States. We educate the public about large-scale commercial breeding facilities (puppy mills) using current data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency charged with their regulation. Bailing Out Benji is featured in the global documentary, Dog by Dog, in the January 2017 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, and in the Huffington Post. To learn more, go to www.bailingoutbenji.com!
Seena volunteers at Walker Art Center and is passionate about art in all of its forms and believes wholeheartedly in access to the arts for every BODY. As an arts advocate, Seena loves the opportunity to partner with members of the Twin Cities community to ensure that the diverse voices of our artists are seen, heard and represented. Seena has spent a great deal of her career working with arts organizations advocating for more inclusive spaces. Most recently as member of the 2018 gala committee for the Guthrie Theater and the Minnesota Opera’s outreach committee working to create awareness around Fellow Travelers—an opera about the lavender scare of the 1950’s. She knows that when organizations and institutions are authentically welcoming and inclusive, they can grow their audiences and create positive community relationships and partnerships that yield unimaginable results. Seena is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Walker Art Center. This past year she served on the Acquisitions Committee, the Governance/Nominating Committee and the Search Committee (for the new Executive Director). She currently co-chairs the Individual Giving Committee and Avant Garden 2019. She thoroughly enjoys working with organizations that are serious about and intentional in the work of inclusion—knowing that it is not easy and that discomfort is often a part of the process.
Where I volunteer:@bailing_out_benji
I have been involved with animal welfare in many aspects for 35 plus years. With my experience and knowledge, it is motivated me to get further involved in helping make a better tomorrow for all animals. I have been a volunteer with the following non profit organizations and participate in many important roles.
It all started five years ago networking shelter dogs on a national level through my Instagram pages (Mncause4paws) and (seniormuttsmatter)
Through doing this I knew I needed to get more involved so I joined Ruff Start Rescue. I have been with Ruff Start Rescue for close to three years now doing everything from adoption event lead, transports, wellness clinics, working with the fundraising committee and other events throughout the year.
I recently joined Bailing Out Benji which is a non-Profit organization that is dedicated to educating the public and providing them with the most current and accurate data regarding the puppy mill industry. We are on both Instagram @bailing_out_benji and Facebook.
Working with animals and helping is something I'm very passionate about and hope through my dedication and love for them I can inspire others to volunteer too.
I’m Stu Borken. Presently 77 years along and doing pretty well. Retired from a medical practice 7 years ago. A couple back surgeries and a couple knee modifications added to the interesting life events and has resulted in me being able to fulfill my feeling of obligation to my community. This feeling of a need to assist those around me began at one religious service when a pamphlet was distributed requesting assistance in cooking for people in need in the South Minneapolis area. I was comfortable in the kitchen, so I applied. No experience was required. I started at St. Steven’s parochial school kitchen learning with others on how to prep an oven roasted barbecue sauced chicken. Thirty years later I’m still doing it with my wife, Sue Ellen and my son, Aaron. I added another Loaves and Fishes site to my kitchen work at Bloomington Creekside Community Center where I head up a kitchen where we make The World’s Greatest Chili for about 125 diners. Then I found the volunteer site on my computer and, on occasion, volunteer at St. Gabriel Church kitchen in downtown Hopkins. Volunteering has allowed me to fulfill my obligation as a member of the community. I will look for more to do, I’m not done.
I wanted to make a difference in someone's life and not just for a day. I knew that BBBS would match me with someone who truly needed it. I met my ""little"" when she was 5 and instantly hit it off and now she's 19, in College and is truly my little sister, my forever family. "
"I have volunteered with this organization in the past at their bowlathons and at the state fair with them because I truly believe that parenting is a choice, and that women have the power to make that decision for themselves without judgement in the healthcare that is provided to them. This organization is working endlessly to create environments that are free from oppression when it comes to reproductive health. My passion regarding access to reproductive healthcare is beyond strong and I will always be involved in this realm of work. Keeping people informed about their options and allowing access to healthcare is incredibly important to me."
I volunteer in an organization called Big Partner Little Partner. Once a week I meet with a 6 year old from the town in which I live. I volunteer in hopes of making a difference in this child’s life and becoming more connected with my community. Volunteering also creates relationships with the people around me. With intentions of working with children in the future, volunteering with Big Partner Little Partner strengthens skills that I will need.
Patrica volunteers because she loves people! As a warm-islander from Jamiica, Patrica has a wonderful easy-going personality and loves to make new friends. She came to Minnesota in November 2017 to be close to family and she is extremely proud of her son who is a student at Anoka Hennepin Technical College. Pat is also a student herself with Summit Academy studying to be a Communty Health Worker. Despite some personal hardships, Patrica is always enthusiastic and happy to volunteer! Patrica has been volunteering with us at NorthPoint since September and has assisted with our Children’s Book Shelf, School Health Screenings, Food Shelf, and Toys for Tots Registration. She came to know about NorthPoint volunteer opportunities through our 800 West Broadway collaboration (with Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minnesota WorkForce Center and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center).
Sandy has volunteered at over 20 Camp Noah events, totallying over 800 hours of service bringing hope and healing to children impacted by disaster.
I was diagnosed with high grade bone cancer as a seven year old. The treatment of nearly a year of chemotherapy and a leg amputation was long and hard. In 2008, I joined my family in co-founding Brighter Tomorrows to ensure that no family has to face childhood cancer alone and that is why I remain highly involved today.
A well-dressed older couple walks into the Humane Society. I’m on dog adoption duty. They ask me for the oldest dog that we have at our site. I bring them around to a half-blind 14 year old mutt. They ask to visit with him in an adoption room. I scoop him up, leave them with them and go onto other duties. I check back in after a few minutes, to see if they have any questions. They say they don’t and ask me to wrap him up, he’s going to go live with them on their houseboat for the rest of his life. I have a slight sniffle, assuming my allergies must be kicking in.
I volunteer my time with the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection. While serving on the Commission on Judicial Selection is technically a volunteer role, it really is more about public service. The judiciary has an immense impact on all of our lives, and most often, it’s when we are at our more vulnerable that the judicial system can alter the course of our lives. Having judges who are compassionate and fair is essential to ensuring we have a judicial system that works for everyone. Because of this, it has been humbling and a huge honor for me to play a small role in providing input into the selection of judges in our great state. I never imagined I would have the honor of participating in such a process (especially as a non-lawyer), but thankfully, I live in a place where our most powerful leaders and systems still provide opportunities for everyday citizens to affect change.
Beth volunteers with We Can Ride. We Can Ride is an equine-assisted therapy program for those with special needs and disabilities and for Beth, this program fulfills her purpose of service to others. Beth is THE person who makes the logistics of the barn run efficiently and smoothly because she spends at least 2 days a week fixing, updating, and problem solving everything around the barn. She's an engineer by trade and it shows; she figures how to fix or improve everything from inventing a manure conveyor, to problem-solving how to waste less hay in the paddocks, to inventing a container to wheel around as you empty water (no more sore arms!). We rarely have to suggest a project because Beth is so attuned to making everything "right" and safe. Beth also helps care for the horses directly by helping with the feeding. This may not sound like much, but it is hard work. It means mucking and throwing bales of hay in all temperatures. And a bit of fun time with the horses. Perhaps what we value most is Beth willingness to help us improve our program. It is a rare person, let alone a volunteer, who comes with great suggestions for improvement and offers them so willingly.
Jackie has been volunteering with We Can Ride for many years and, in her 80’s now, still helps several hours a week. It keeps her young and vibrant. We Can Ride is an equine-assisted therapy program for those with special needs and disabilities and Jackie helps lead a horse in the therapeutic riding classes at least once a week. Her skill keeps the riders and horse safe, while the rider reaps the benefits of meeting their personal goals. For some riders, these are physical strength; for others, the goal is social interaction or verbal skills. She helps make this happen. She also does all of the things most volunteers don’t want to do – the boring, unexciting parts. For example, she mends and washes horse blankets, organizes and cleans the office, tags tack for a tack sale, and on and on. The place wouldn’t run without her.
Bren has brought her whole self to our program and is an inspiration of giving. Bren volunteers with We Can Ride (WCR). WCR is an equine-assisted therapy program for those with special needs and disabilities. She has been key to the success of one of our newest programs – Equine-Assisted Learning. These group sessions give individuals group and personal goals that they reach through working with the horses. Bren tuned in to these people (mostly kids) and was very effective at coaching them, and helping them achieve their goals. For some, this meant they will be more able to live in an adult world and take care of themselves because they now have skills like working as a team and task completion. But Bren took on additional roles in 2018. For example, she partnered with another volunteer, Laura, to envision and plan our 2018 Open House. Together they planned the activities; Bren was the creative genius, finding us a theme, creating collateral for the event, making it fun (she created a scavenger hunt book for kids), and helping with the goals of education and getting new volunteers. The event drew about 100 people. Finally, Bren helps us care for the horses. She feeds them and is so attuned to animals that she often is the first to notice a horse is communicating a want to us.
Laura is an inspiration for her positive attitude, flexibility, number of hours she volunteers, the myriad roles she has played in 2018, and, perhaps the most, for the impact she’s made on those around her.
Laura volunteers with We Can Ride (WCR). WCR is an equine-assisted therapy program for those with special needs and disabilities. We offer physical therapy with a horse partner, as well as horsemanship (therapeutic horseback riding) lessons. Laura mostly volunteers in the physical therapy type as a sidewalker (support to the client while riding). In doing this, she has helped clients expand their ability to walk, increase core strength, make them motivated to exercise, give them relief by letting them stretch muscles that are constantly tense, and with one girl, make it possible for her to have the energy to run and play like a normal kid. She came every Thursday for several hours throughout 2018.
But Laura took on additional roles in 2018. For example, she partnered with another volunteer, Bren, to envision and plan our 2018 Open House. Together they planned the activities, and Laura was a huge part of making the event practically zero cost to the organization; she got decorations, marketing and supplies donated. The event drew about 100 people.
Laura also helps us care for our wonderful partners – the horses. She rides once a week to keep them in shape, cleans tack, helps when the vet is around, and is always already with a kind scratch. You can see her here on her favorite horse, Ace.
Cora has been volunteering in the K-5 tutoring and enrichment program at People Serving People for 5 years. The kids are drawn to Cora’s calm and welcoming demeanor. She is very patient and meets the kids where they are at. Cora is a pro at redirecting and getting kids back on track. Cora describes her volunteer experience in this way: “There is just something about the energy at People Serving People that keeps me coming back. Spending time with the kids here re-charges me. Their positivity, humor, and resiliency brings light to my week, and fills me with a sense of hope.” We’re grateful for Cora and her dedication to the kids staying at our emergency shelter.
It’s not surprising that Staci White is passionate about learning, given that her mom, dad, grandmother and uncle were all teachers. She is equally enthusiastic about passing on the message that a good education opens the door to a better life. Staci has spent 19 years working as a mechanical engineer, the last six with Donaldson Company, a worldwide filtration systems business. She’s also an active Junior Achievement (JA) volunteer who has taught programs ranging from kindergarten to middle school to senior high. Staci’s introduction to JA came when she began working at Donaldson, which is a strong supporter of the program. “I think I called JA and said, ‘Are there any middle schools or high schools near here where you need help?'” Staci says. “That’s how I got started.” Staci says that she’s particularly drawn to working with older kids because she enjoys the energy that occurs in the classroom. JA offers curriculum tailored to a variety of ages. Staci says that when she taught kindergarten, the program focused on community and teamwork. When she taught seniors, the lessons were about ethics. And, for middle school students, the focus was on planning for the future. “From my own experience, I probably got the most satisfaction from those 7th graders,” she says with a smile. “In middle school, the kids are still really interactive. They just have this energy, and they will connect with you on day one, and they’re really excited for you to come back the next week. You’re helping them connect the dots and think about their futures.” Staci can draw a direct line back to her own childhood when it comes to her decision to become an engineer. She took a field trip to a local college as an 8th grader, and as part of the college’s presentation, a speaker talked about chemical engineering. She says, “At that moment, I decided that’s what I wanted to be.” “For me, I’m all about choices and people owning their actions,” Staci says. “In the JA program, it will come up during class that a student wants something really badly. I’ll say, ‘Do you remember when we talked about such and such? How do you think you’re going to be able to get that?’ I want to train them on how to think, how to look forward to what they want and how to make a plan for getting there. And, I want females to see that they can go into a technical field. I always hope that I help some young person imagine, ‘I could be that, too.’ ”
I would like to share a story of a special person who volunteered for me. This volunteer’s name is Casey. He was in his 90’s when I assigned him to visit a younger gentleman by about 20 years who was a resident in our care center. The resident had some health problems that warranted a feeding tube for him to be able to receive nourishment, but he was very active coming every day to work out in the exercise room located just across the hall from my office. Casey on the other hand was legally blind but could compensate very well getting around on our campus where no one even knew he was blind. Casey had been a very successful sales person for many years before retiring here at Lake Minnetonka Shores with his wife who needed 24/7 care. So it was easy for Casey to talk to anyone. Casey visited this resident faithfully a couple of times a week for years even though he eventually needed a walked and then a scooter to get around. Casey would stop by my office periodically to share some of his talks with his assigned resident. One day Casey came and asked me if it would be o.k. for this resident to come to his apartment to watch Monday Night Football. He thought that would help the resident to feel more at home doing something guys do. Then he asked if it would be o.k. for him to serve this resident a beer. After checking with nursing staff and getting permission, Casey and this resident shared many a Monday night together watching football and Casey offering a beer to the resident, even though Casey didn’t drink, he still bought the beer. The resident enjoyed this time very much and the two developed a very special friendship. About a year ago, Casey developed some health problems that affected his balance and he no longer was able to make the long trip to the care center. To my surprise, this care center resident continued to make the trip to Casey’s apartment so they could maintain their friendship. The resident now became the volunteer to Casey helping him feel better knowing someone cared about him. This past fall the care center resident had some health issues that required him to be hospitalized but we felt he would eventually have his health restored and return to our care center. About that same time, Casey’s health also declined dramatically causing him to be admitted to the care center. The resident did return and was able to make a few visits to Casey before he had to be hospitalized again, but would return. Casey died shortly thereafter at age 97. To my amazement, the resident also began to have more health issues as he was in the hospital and passed away shortly after Casey’s death never returning to the care center. I can’t help but wonder how much more fun having a beer and watching Monday Night Football is like in heaven for those two guys. I miss them both very much.
In November, Kelsey was recognized as an outstanding volunteer at PPL’s annual Achievement Awards. A volunteer with PPL since 2016, Kelsey has helped in a variety of roles totaling almost 200 hours! Not only has she been an amazing weekly job coach in our computer lab at the Learning Center, she has also volunteered her time and expertise in our reentry-to-work short-term training class as well as at the front desk. She is well known as someone who personifies a caring attitude, dedication, professionalism, and patience when working with participants, PPL staff, and the community. Her positive energy and enthusiasm have helped many participants make progress toward their employment goals. Kelsey has also made a big impact with the volunteer program this year when she was the first to answer a call for volunteers to help us table at volunteer, philanthropy, and resource fairs. She has expanded our capacity to participate in events held by key funders and college/corporate/community partners and enthusiastically and effectively shares the PPL mission and how community members and students can connect their passions to our work through volunteering. Kelsey warmly engages every visitor to PPL’s table by effortlessly blending metrics on PPL’s impact with personal stories from her time at the Learning Center. We’re so grateful to have Kelsey as a spokesperson for our work and a recruiter for our opportunities. Kelsey has been such an asset to PPL that she was actually hired at the end of November as well! She is now an Employment Specialist, and a very welcome addition to the PPL staff team.
I started volunteer coaching with Girls on the Run Twin Cities in Fall 2013. Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. I had just moved to St. Paul and was looking for a way to connect with my new community while doing something I love. I have continued to be a volunteer coach because it brings me a tremendous amount of joy and it’s incredibly rewarding to help young girls activate their limitless potential. I also believe that we all benefit when our community does well. For those looking to give back, I suggest finding a gap in the community that you can fill. There are volunteer opportunities for every passion, skill and schedule. (photo added to folder)
I volunteer through many organizations, especially through Gopher Athletics @gophersports I am on the women’s golf team at the University of Minnesota and there are many volunteer opportunities through them. Some of these include working with homeless shelters, speaking to students in classrooms about different topics, making blankets and gift bags for underprivileged kids and more. One event I did that had a huge impact on me was Camp Odayin (@campodayin) which was where me and a few other student athletes visited the children’s camp for kids with heart disease. It put so much in perspective for me, and we really enjoyed hearing the stories and having a blast with the kids! Another fantastic event I got to be a part of was ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) @aces4kids and enjoyed time with kids that work with that organization! @christine_portillo
Christina is a student from Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) studying Human Services. She began her internship with us in September and will continue through mid-December and is working with our Client and Family Services Department and the Eviction Prevention Program. Christina comes to us with some wonderful skills and personal experience that makes her perfect for this position. Christina and her family came to Minnesota 12 years ago from Gary, Indiana. Christina says her mom could not be more thrilled that she is doing her internship at NorthPoint because they received so much help when they first moved here. Christina’s mom and 6 children received help with housing and food when they needed it the most. Christina’s childhood experience inspired her to pursue a career in Human Services. She will graduate with her associate’s degree in May 2019 and has hopes to continue on to Metropolitan State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She is considering working in Child Protective Services to help families stay together “because systems don’t always work and I want to help parents keep their kids.” Christina has shadowed client intake meetings with staff member Grace Palmer and attended Financial Budgeting classes for clients with staff member Aliyah Primus. Christina says, “it is wonderful to see clients get valuable information to help them see how they can reach future goals and receive assistance that really changes their lives. Even small steps help clients see a way forward.”
As a young teacher she would go on day trips, bike outings and picnics with fifth grade students in Milbank, SD and spend weekends in activities with them. Although Lois had a career as a music teacher, beginning 1947 she organized a musical group called treble Clef which sang in the community of Livingston, MT and every other year would give a musical for which Lois created a theme, songs to go with the theme as well as a script for the storyline. They would often perform at nursing homes or retirement centers. After she moved to Minnesota, she began volunteer work at the Science Museum for 25 years as lived across the street. When they moved to the river, she continued to volunteer but only for a few more years as it became a long walk. She gave many volunteer hours as a tutor at the Southeast Asian Ministries, she corresponded with 8 prisoners throughout the years - two of which she still writes to. Of course, many volunteers’ hours with church activities. 6,000 hours of volunteer time at St Joseph's hospital playing piano on the Mental Health floor, worked in several departments at the hospital such as oncology, pastoral care, gathered patient's experience folders, helped with patient's waiting for surgery to update records, and prepared packets to be given to emergency room patients. During her stay at Presbyterian Homes in St Paul, she created many musical events such as sing-a -longs and Name That Tune which she would do on alternating weeks. She also had themed sing a longs for these events for songs with love in the title, or a city or a color. She would research these songs, play them by ear and have enlarged sing a long sheet to give to the attendees which she would create herself on the computer. She used a program called Note Finale to create these pieces. She continues to entertain playing the piano whenever she can find people to sing. She would rather people participate than entertain playing alone.
SHIFT Circle and SHIFT In Facilitator: , Transition Coach and the innovator of the SHIFT Circles based on the work of SHIFT Founder Janet Hively. Susan has lead these sessions from the beginning and continues to bring new facilitators into the fold. What she does: She works with people who are “stuck.”Through facilitating personal growth through life changes, she help provide a vision for the future for midlifers in transition who are trying to determine both a personal and professional path.
This volunteer has been a mentor with Kids ‘n Kinship for 8 years! She is amazing! Her and her mentee love to get together and go to movies, have dinner together, go on walks and explore different areas like Como Park. The mentee’s Dad shared, "She (her mentor) is so great and that is one thing my daughter will always do is go with her - she looks forward to it every week.” The mentor has stayed with her mentee through many challenges and everyone is seeing great progress in the mentee’s willingness to try new activities and her outlook at education.
Philomena Morrissey Satre
She is the Past SHIFT Board Chair, Program Committee Co-Chair, Employer Relations Chair and currently serves as the Co-Chair of our SHIFT Leadership Advisory Council. Philomena serves as Director of Diversity & Inclusion and External Strategic Partnerships. She joined Land O’Lakes in June 2017, bringing more than 30 years of human resource experience in diversity and inclusion, community relations, work life and wellbeing. Before joining Land O’Lakes, she worked at Wells Fargo & Company. Her previous roles included VP of Organizational Effectiveness Development, Diversity and Inclusion; Community Outreach Consultant; and Senior HR Consultant.Read more Philomena has extensive experience in developing and implementing diversity strategies, including internal initiatives and community-focused pipelines. Previously, Philomena participated in a Middle East Fellows project, in partnership with Hamline University and the U.S. State Department, and traveled to the Middle East as a part of the peace and economic development project. Philomena serves on the Board of SHIFT (nonprofit focused on people in midlife), AG D and I Consortium; and co-chairs the Twin Cities D&I Roundtable. Philomena was recently named to the Minnesota Aging Workforce Citizen Commission. She previously served on the Minneapolis Workforce Council, the Executive Leadership Council/Board of Directors for Honoring Women Worldwide, Goodwill Easter Seals, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), Lifeworks, HIREDand Resource Inc. Advisory Boards. She also co led the 2020 Women on Boards initiative for Minnesota. Philomena has received numerous awards, including AARP/Pollen 50 over 50, the Minneapolis Business Journal’s Woman Change Maker and Minority Advocate, Minnesota Business The (Real) Power 50 Award and the University of Phoenix Diversity Leadership Award. Philomena has an MA in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine University and a BA in Public Administration and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse. Philomena is an Adjunct Professor at the University of St Catherine in the Master of Organizational Leadership Graduate Program.
SHIFT Board of Directors and Treasurer. Ron has served on our SHIFT Board of Directors since 2014. He lead and directed the development and use of new financial systems and financial reporting. He recruited and supervised the volunteer bookkeeper. Ron served on the Search Committee to recruit a new Executive Director. He also served on the Executive Committee through his tenure. He also serves as the President of the Medtronic Retiree Organization and has served on many other Community based boards throughout the years. He worked for Medtronic for over 30 years prior to his retirement.
Lawrence Hutera has been a North Minneapolis resident for almost 40 years and at NorthPoint he is proud to talk about the opportunity he has to meet his neighbors, who have different life experiences. He says it is good to get other people’s perspectives and broaden your scope of learning. He loves meeting people and appreciates the polite and respectful way they interact with each other at NorthPoint. Lawrence started as a patient and client at NorthPoint and has enjoyed being able to use the free NorthPoint Computer Lab. As of last summer, he has also been a Computer Lab Volunteer Coach, helping neighbors navigate the internet and improve their computer skills. Lawrence says NorthPoint is quieter than the library and it helps him limit his computer time to NorthPoint’s Computer Lab hours (Monday through Thursday, 9am to 5pm). Lawrence donates his time 2 to 3 afternoons a week. Lawrence is a retired Minneapolis Park Board supervisor but his active life hardly looks like he is slowing down. He directs plays for young people in the summer time and enjoys time with his grown children and grandchildren. He will also be one of the performing artists of the production of HAIR at the Mixed Blood Theatre, January 31 through February 10, 2019.
13-year-old Josie chose My Very Own Bed for her mitzvah project last May. Once she read about our work– providing new beds and linens to children who do not have a comfortable place to sleep – she knew this was what she wanted to do. She loved that she could take a concrete action to make a difference in other people’s lives. “It was so exciting to see how much it meant to the kids!” Plus, the Torah portion she studied and chanted spoke of “helping the stranger,” so this seemed like a perfect fit. Josie brought her younger sister and parents to deliver beds several times and donated money, stuffed animals, and sheets she received for her bat mitzvah. Her work inspired her mother, Melanie, to kick-start a Dream Kit Donation Drive at Signature Sales, where she works, and her family to make a financial contribution to the organization. It has also spread the word to family and friends throughout the Twin Cities who are eager to support My Very Own Bed’s mission. Josie and her family will be returning in 2019 to deliver beds again. As Melanie explains, I feel passionate about My Very Own Bed because the short-term impact is immediate and practical, and the long-term impact is profound. Witnessing the excitement, hope, and gratitude on children’s faces because they have something comforting and welcoming to call their own is so powerful. I truly believe it is life-changing.
Tammy Filzen & Connie Olson
Whispers of Hope is a completely volunteer non-profit counseling ministry founded to walk alongside women who are struggling. Both of us have loved working with women in various settings but saw a need for women falling through the cracks and wanted to provide a structured program in a rural setting that would help them press the pause button, catch their breath and learn skills they need to step back in to life. We say "yes" to the "messy" because we know that the root of "messy" is a broken heart. After having met about 12 years ago when our kids went to prom together, we realized we had a common love of Christ and shared a heart for women - God has provided everything we have needed to be up and running for almost five years.
I am energized and gifted by being a servant to others in any way that I can. Seeing the joy that volunteerism brings by giving to someone else while expecting nothing in return is the return for me. Whether its packing hygiene kits for youth, helping to build a home or working with a woman to prepare for a big interview, each of these acts makes a difference. It is my mission to help contribute to making the world a better place, and through one small act of kindness, I can truly see it uplifting each person that it touches.
I love to volunteer. It became my “job” when I quit working for pay 11 years ago. But even before I no longer worked full-time, I had started volunteering for organizations that were doing work that is important to me.
Currently, I regularly volunteer for about six different organizations, plus a number of others, in a variety of areas. Some of my volunteer work is for causes that I feel are important, such as environmental issues. I am a Master Recycler/Composter, Master Water Steward and Water Consevation Advisor. All are volunteer positions that allow me to champion the environment and sustainability issues in many ways. Whether it’s planting or weeding a rain garden somewhere or answering questions about recycling and composting at an event, it all makes me feel like I’m doing something that matters for the future.
The proliferation of craft breweries in the past 5-10 years hasn’t only been gratifying for beer lovers. Many of these organizations have volunteer groups that participate in a variety of projects. These beer volunteers are a great group of people and are really fun to work with. We do such a variety of things. Cleaning up and fixing bikes for kids, tending a weekly garden that provides fresh produce all summer for families in need, pulling buckthorn, building a Habitat for Humanity house and sorting food donations are just a few of the activities we’ve done. Working with four of these groups has become a regular thing for me. It also doesn’t hurt that I really like beer. ;-)
Then there are the organizations that I’ve been volunteering with for many years- Open Arms of Minnesota, Memorial Blood Center and the Guthrie Theater. At Open Arms, I’ve enjoyed working in the kitchen and bakery and doing special events for over 20 years. The organization has grown and changed much over that time, but my commitment to them has remained steady. At MBC, I’ve been a regular platelet donor, special event volunteer and volunteer blood typist at the State Fair and other events for ~25 years. At the Guthrie Theater, I’ve been showing visitors to their seats for over 10 years as a volunteer usher.
I feel that all of these organizations are an important part of our community and I am proud to be a volunteer with all them. Last year I volunteered for over 350 hours and my commitment to these organizations will continue into the future for as long as I am able. As you must hear from many volunteers, I find volunteering so rewarding. I can’t imagine my life without it.
I grew up in a family that valued service to others and am attempting to inculcate that notion of service with my kids. I volunteer in two ways, one that leverages my skills, and one that feeds my soul.
Throughout my career in nonprofit management, I gained valuable skills in how to effectively provide governance to organizations. Five years ago I joined the Hands On Twin Cities board of directors and have served the past two years as Chair. In my role I get to help shape and support the strategic direction of this important organization.along with my fellow board members. I'm proud of the growth of the organization.
In the time that I'm not running my communications firm or working on community level issues with HOTC, I coach a fifth grade basketball team. After a long day of helping organizations and companies solve complex communication challenges, unwinding by running with the kids and helping them increase their confidence, hone their skills and learn to work as a team.
Both kinds of volunteerism are extremely rewarding!
Just over 5 years ago, my wife and I moved back to Minneapolis from Milwaukee. After getting settled in, I started checking out the local craft beer scene and stumbled upon Surly Gives A Damn(SGAD) and thought I'd sign up and see what that was all about. I had recently lost my sister to cancer and was looking for an outlet to honor her life and give back to society. Prior to my first SGAD event, I had only volunteered a handful of times. Two things happened for me during and after that first event; 1. I felt this great sense of pride for doing something that means a lot to someone I will likely never meet, but know they send their gratitude. 2. I met some amazing people that I now call my friends and look forward to spending time with them while we do good. Shortly after signing up with SGAD, I signed up with Dangerous Man Volunteers(DMV) and met even more amazing people, many of whom also participated with SGAD and quickly found out this is a tight-knit community of some very caring, loving, and amazing people that welcomed my wife and I and anyone else that joins them.
After a few years of volunteering with both groups, meeting tons of new people, helping tons of people, and a burning desire to do more, My wife planted the seed to start a volunteer program at my office, so I talked with Mary from SGAD and Hilari from DMV to get some tips on how to get a volunteer group going. After chatting with them, I started planning events and kicked off a volunteer program at Cuningham Group Architecture in late 2015. The idea was well received amongst my coworkers and people look forward to these events. In 2017, since it did so well in Minneapolis, I decided to push it out to our other office locations in Culver City, San Diego, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Biloxi. We average 11 events a year here in Minneapolis and 4 events a year in the other offices. I had the pleasure of attending a volunteer event at each office to meet my coworkers and get this program off the ground. I found out that the no matter where I went, people wanted to help and genuinely enjoyed themselves while helping others. It is a humbling experience when you introduce new people to a passion of yours and they embrace it the way my coworkers and all of my new friends at SGAD and DMV have...my passion happens to be volunteering and I look forward to what the future brings for me in this endeavor. I have no doubt it will be bright...with mentors like Mary and Hilari and my equally passionate wife to help feed my desire and guide me...with new people I meet along the way that share the passion and look forward to volunteering...with the new people I introduce to volunteering that can't wait for more.
A special thank you to Mary and Hilari for helping me share the experience of organizing events and watching the glowing communities that we've created grow. A more special thank you to my wife, Frances, for pushing me, believing in me, and guiding me to set up Cuningham Group Volunteers and of course for always volunteering with or without me.
This is our experience is how my wife and I became involved with Surly Gives a Damn, Surly Brewing Company's charitable volunteer origination. Back in 2014, we were newlyweds and a good portion of our friends were settling down, having kids, or moving away. It was getting to the point where we really didn't do much on the weekends, and sat at home most of the time trying to figure out what we should do.
On New Years Eve of 2013, we made a promise to ourselves to get out and meet some new people, and get more involved with the community. Both my wife and I were big Surly Brewing fans, enjoyed the boom in the craft beer culture here in the Twin Cites, and she knew I had mentioned that Surly had volunteer events that we should get involved in. So finally in June of 2014 we participated in our very first Surly Gives a Damn event, which was cleaning up the Chowen Garden along the Minneapolis Greenway. From there we were hooked. What was so unique about volunteering with Surly, is that they are bring out their fans & supporters to get involved in the community. You do not have to be an employee to get involved with SGAD, which was a whole new concept as normally people are used to participating in their company run volunteer events at their job. Surly took it to a whole new level! Bringing the love of beer and helping out your local community is something that I feel goes hand in hand, as the beer community itself has a strong sense of family. Most of our really good friends now we have met through SGAD. What Surly has given us is more connection with the Twin Cities, and we've learned some pretty cool things as well. Learning about evasive species alone such as buckthorn is something I wouldn't have learned without SGAD.
Finally one of the biggest pieces if not the most important of SGAD is it's founder and leader Mary Sellke. Without her positive attitude, leadership, and over all just awesomeness SGAD would not be where it is today. She truly is an inspiration to me personally, and drives me to be a better person in life and in the community.
Since 2014 we've participated easily in over 100 volunteer projects with SGAD, and we don't see us stopping anytime soon!
I started volunteer within my community in 2010 with the Surly Gives A Damn organization. As someone who is not religious but wants opportunities to work and volunteer in my community, there are limited options for volunteer groups. Not only was Surly Gives A Damn easy to volunteer with I made lasting friendships that directly impacted the course of my life. In 2013 I was able to form my own volunteer group - Dangerous Man Community Volunteers. We started out with our first year with 80 people and are not at 900 volunteers in our volunteer pool. I have seen them do amazing things and their spirit of community and giving back as much as they can to others is inspiring to me daily.
Blue Cross associate Ani Koch serves the community and promotes health equity through nonprofit board leadership for NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness). “I joined the Board of Directors for NAMI MN at the start of 2019. In my few short months of board service I have realized NAMI MN is the perfect organization for me to engage with in my life outside of work. As a public health professional I am passionate about people getting the care they need and the respect they deserve. NAMI MN is on the ground providing critical education, support, and advocacy for those in need. I am delighted to be a part of the organization and support NAMI MN In any way I can.”
Andrea Gates is a great example of someone who goes all out to support active living and equal access to the joy and exercise involved in being an athlete. After volunteering with her Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota colleagues at the Special Olympics Minnesota Summer Games in 2018, she signed up to be a Special Olympics Coach for both softball and track and field. A key member of the Blue Cross volunteer leadership team, she uses her energy and enthusiasm for volunteering as a way to make a difference.
Frank was one our first volunteers at Optage Hospice, a program of Presbyterian Homes and Services, as soon as he heard that Pres Homes was creating a Hospice Program he knew that was where he belonged. Frank’s passion for our residents and people living with dementia inspires me. He is a true advocate for the people we serve, that can sometimes be forgotten by the rest of society. A month or so ago, Frank shared this with me after speaking to a friend about their struggle of family member living with dementia, “ … Most of my advanced dementia patients are frustrated that they cannot relate, even to close family members. They are desperate for connections. The comfort we volunteers can provide usually revolves around reading familiar materials (you used to travel to Paris on business? Here's a travelogue) or pushing their wheelchair to a different, comforting place (a bright southern-looking window during a long Minnesota winter, or the conservatory / plant room / bird cage provided by their group setting). The volunteer's reward? Eyes focused, interested, and searching ... occasional recognition. A smile or grunt, hopefully of satisfaction and delight. There's a connection.” Frank visits with Hospice patients at our east metro locations. He talks business, birds, biking, God, and everything in between to learn how each patient connects. Frank became a Hospice volunteer long before Presbyterian Homes and Service formed its own hospice program. As a retired business man, he wanted to use his time wisely so he spoke to a friend he considered to be wise and they suggested volunteering with Hospice based on his enjoyment of working with seniors and his faith. Frank later referenced a Volunteer Directors favorite equation, “ my skills + their need = an ideal match.” When asked if there are any memories that stand out as most memorable in his time as a hospice volunteer. Frank immediately, without hesitation responds, “Gladys… 87, widowed, no children. We would often reminisce as it is positive and affirming for hospice patients and those living with dementia. We were talking about her mother and her childhood. And I asked a question about her mom. Gladys said, ‘well, ask her yourself. She right over there.’ Hallucinations are common at end of life, I am honored to be there to help families and individuals during that difficult time.” In closing, Frank told me this, “And the bonus is that since I am able to volunteer at a campus nearest to my home is that in the summer – I can bike to visit my clients.”
To volunteer with hospice, one need not be human. Meet Judy and Arlo, part of the Hospice Hounds volunteer team at Ecumen Hospice. For so many people at the end of life, day to day interactions can be difficult, but having an animal companion can put many at ease. Plus, Arlo is the cutest little toy poodle you could ever hope to meet – spunky, happy, smart, intuitive. One of the special things about Arlo is that he has a keen sense for patient care, knowing just want a patient needs in that moment, whether it be a quiet, lap companion or a goofy dog to laugh at. For those patients seeking a human connection and conversation, Judy has a friendly, personable demeanor, and is at ease chatting with just about anyone. Judy and Arlo make an amazing team. When asked why she chooses this volunteer role: “I volunteer with Ecumen Hospice because I have personally experienced the benefits of hospice services, and am inspired to do what I can to pay it forward. It is so rewarding to see how Arlo provides moments of comfort or pleasant distraction for our patients and to their families.
Plua is an admin volunteer with Ecumen Hospice. As a student pursuing a degree in Health Information Technology Management, she wanted experience within a healthcare setting. In the past year, Plua has dedicated over 100 hours to our administrative team. Our office staff “fights” over who gets to work with her because she’s SO GOOD with data and numbers. She is efficient, detail-oriented and genuinely enjoys staring at a spreadsheet to make sense of it. Plua is a shining example of knowing your skills and interest area, and finding a way to give back to the community. And, as many know, an amazing administrative volunteer is kind of a unicorn in the volunteer services field.
Kris is so full of good spirits and is always there to lend a hand. Kris joined We Can Ride's volunteer team in 2018 and has already helped as a sidewalker, leader and barn aide in horseback riding classes for those with special needs and disabilities. But her superpower is photography. Look at the great picture of her and her horse buddy, Mort. She was there to take photos at our Open House and Polo Tournament too. Her dedication to the riders and horses has helped dozens of riders already.
Monica was diagnosed at age 19 with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Twelve years later, Monica was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and went through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2011, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and in 2015, stage 4 breast cancer. Monica is currently undergoing targeted medication therapy. Cancer research gives her hope. Monica has volunteered with American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to give back to her community and advocate for cancer research funding. She currently participants in the Robbinsdale Area High Schools Relay For Life to raise money for cancer research. Monica also advocates for policies to prevent cancer, protect access to care, and improve patient quality of life. According to Monica, “Facing cancer can feel helpless. So much with cancer is out of our control.” But volunteering and being a voice for others helps her find courage, motivation, and has given her a way to take action. Monica is a bright spot for ACS staff and other volunteers. Her energy, commitment, and passion is inspiring. Instagram: @acscanmn
When I started my small fitness business in 2015, one of my core values was to give a portion of my earnings back to a cause I cared about. After grinding through my first year in business I had no earnings in my bank account, let alone a fund for giving back. So I decided to use my talent, teaching group fitness, to organize a fitness fundraising event with all proceeds benefiting The Her Initiative -- an organization that brings clean water, health and hygiene education to women and children in need globally. Fit for Her was born and I've been hosting the event annually since 2015. In the past 4 years we've raised $35K+ to help fund clean water projects across the globe. Making this annual fundraising event apart of my business has been one of the best decisions I've made. It's brought so much passion and joy to my business and allowed me to personally travel to the Dominican and Haiti to see the clean water systems we've funded in action. The personal growth I've experienced from contributing my time and resources to this organization have forever changed the way I do business.
Being a student studying Sport Management, I've always been attracted to volunteer opportunities in sports. Specifically with major sporting events, volunteering is a great way to get involved and grow experience. I have volunteered with NCAA championships, such at the Women's Volleyball Final Four this past season, as well as with NCAA Swimming & Diving championships in 2018. Outside of the NCAA, I have also volunteered with non-profits, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Special Olympics. While my goal is to grow and become a professional in the business side of sports, I will always appreciate my experience volunteering and getting to be face-to-face with those who I am helping.
“I joined the Board of Directors for NAMI MN at the start of 2019. In my few short months of board service I have realized NAMI MN is the perfect organization for me to engage with in my life outside of work. As a public health professional I am passionate about people getting the care they need and the respect they deserve. NAMI MN is on the ground providing critical education, support, and advocacy for those in need. I am delighted to be a part of the organization and support NAMI MN In any way I can.”
I volunteer in my local church with the children's programs. Every Wednesday evening, I am the Small Group Leader for one of our pre-K/K Kid's Club groups. My 12 year old daughter and I along with another adult volunteer are in charge of 14 4-6 years olds for an hour and a half. We sing, play games, do crafts, and teach them about God. It is so fulfilling and I love the fact that I get to do this with my daughter, it helps strengthen our relationship and shows her the value of volunteerism as well. I also volunteer in the Nursery on Sundays at my church...gotta get that baby fix! By being there regularly, it also helps the babies acclimate to being in the nursery while their parents are away. A familiar face helps soothe their separation anxiety...and I get the benefit of baby cuddles. It's a win-win experience!
Since retiring, I volunteer for several causes (Red Cross Apheresis donation, Fix-it-clinics, ecosteward, Springbrook Nature Center, Jeremiah Program, and some volunteer photography). First, the organization and cause must be worthy. Second, good, fun co-workers (I need and adult to whom I can talk) the clients must be appreciative. Paydays are great when they smile and are grateful.
SHIFT Circle and SHIFT In Facilitator:, Certified Life Coach. She and Susan Krautbauer were the two the initiated the concept of SHIFT In’s. What she does. She coaches individuals through feedback, observations and coalescing ideas brought forward by her clients, helping them to find their own answers by asking the right questions. She helps people explore other perspectives, identify solutions and navigate life transitions.
Tom & Michele LaSalle
Tom and Michele LaSalle have been volunteering as Supper Club cooks for the past two decades. You may know Tom and Michele from their high-profile volunteer work with the Aquatennial and the Winter Carnival as well. As Supper Club members, they make a fresh home cooked meal for four extremely low-income residents living with HIV and other co-occurring illnesses at one of our Care Homes each month. Clare Housing is Minnesota’s largest provider of dedicated affordable housing for people living with HIV. The most rewarding connection that Tom and Michele made over the years was when their daughter, who is def, connected with a resident named Toby who living with the same disability. “Toby was great,” Tom reflects. “When my daughter was having challenges, he would give her advice. He really would parent her.” Several years later, when their daughter was getting married, Toby was proud to attend the wedding as their guest. “We know the residents and have been through a lot with them,” Tom shared. “Volunteering like this is a great way to meet people, and I really believe you get more out of it than you give. The residents are amazing. Anyone who enjoys cooking and connecting with others will find volunteering like this really fulfilling.” Is volunteering as part of our Supper Club a good fit for you? We’re always looking for new cooks for our friendly and comfortable Care Homes. Please apply here on the HOTC website, or contact Debbie Wyman, community outreach manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this special volunteer opportunity.
Giampaolo Malin assisted with the creation of the new on-site composting at the GMI headquarters. He also volunteers with Tree Trust and assists with training and supervising volunteers and ensuring trees are planted for optimum survival and growth.
Keith Graupmann is a 3M Engineer and E-mentor for students at Harding and Johnson High Schools. This is why Keith volunteers:
“A lot of the students I’ve mentored hope to become the first person in their family to go to college. Without someone at home to talk to who’s been there, they are left with many unanswered questions. By sharing my journey, I try to help them connect the dots between their interests and favorite classes, to possible careers, to picking a major and a college, to internships, and finally to graduation and interviewing for a job. Once they see an example of how to get to the end, they can shift their focus from the “scary unknown” to “OK, I can do this. Let’s get started!”
Kevin White is an Operational Excellence Manager at 3M Environmental Operations.
Kevin won the 2018 3Mgives Volunteer Award as well as being honored for his involvement in 3M’s Military Support Network, 3M Visiting Wizards, the BestPrep e-mentoring program, mock interviewing at Johnson and Harding High Schools, the STEMteach program- just to name a few!
Andrea Gates is a great example of someone who goes all out to support active living and equal access to the joy and exercise involved in being an athlete. After volunteering with her Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota colleagues at the Special Olympics MinnesotaSummer Games in 2018, she signed up to be a Special Olympics Coach for both softball and track and field. A key member of the Blue Cross volunteer leadership team, she uses her energy and enthusiasm for volunteering as a way to make a difference.
Nicola has worked with Sodexho to fight food waste by creating a partnership with Feeding America that provided a systematic process that enabled excess food from General Mills’ cafeteria at World Headquarters to be donated to area charities that serves our community!
In support of World Environment Day, for the past four years, a group of Ecolab volunteers head to Victoria Park in St. Paul and plant trees, wildflowers and plants and pick up trash along the river. Victoria Park is a great outdoor resource for the West 7th neighborhood, with plans that include biking and walking trails that connect the neighborhood with the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul. This event is anticipated by many each year and often has a wait list of Ecolab employees who want to take part.
We inspire, equip and mobilize people to provide hands on impact to solve the most pressing challenges in our communities.
To transform Minnesota through volunteerism.
HandsOn Twin Cities
672 Transfer Road
Saint Paul, MN 55114