Month: January 2016

Long-term volunteer helps share animals with Iowans

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This week, we’re honoring Kathy Krogmeier as one of our “50 Faces of Volunteers” for her work volunteering with the Blank Park Zoo. Kathy is passionate about animals, education, and conservation. She has been a volunteer with the Blank Park Zoo for 30 years and has served over 3,000 hours! In her volunteer role, Kathy gives tours to children and adults, delivers educational presentations, and spends time caring for animals, such as Barnaby the tortoise- her favorite.

According to Christine Eckles, Blank Park Zoo Volunteer Manager, “Kathy’s passion for the zoo and teaching others shines through when she is here! Children and adults leave the zoo feeling connected to the animals that live here. She has also helped organize and implement many of our special events that are now staples including Dream Night and Night Eyes.”

Kathy is a great advocate for the zoo and for volunteerism. She has been an influential leader, presenting at international conferences to highlight Blank Park Zoo’s conservation mission.

Kathy lives in Norwalk and works as a Wellness Coordinator for a financial group in Des Moines.

Thank you for your service, Kathy!

What’s your 50? For more information about the Governor’s Call to Service, and to find volunteer opportunities statewide, visit https://volunteeriowa.org/whats-your-50.

Can you nominate someone to be one of our 50 Faces of Volunteers? Fill out this quick spotlight form and help us recognize outstanding volunteers in Iowa: http://svy.mk/1RrvPhA

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AmeriCorps Member of the Month January 2016

Monica De Melo Dreasher has been selected as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for January 2016!

Monica is a two-term AmeriCorps VISTA member, currently serving as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps VISTA Leader until August 2016.

Monica completed her first, full-time service position in 2014 with the Cedar Rapids Public Library where she focused on K-12 education initiatives. Her service included research into alternative education methods, integration of technology in outreach, and innovations in library programming, which was instrumental in the design of the library’s Summer Dare program and Summer Meals Outreach program.

Her work took “library programming and resources outside of the library walls” said Jessica Link, Volunteer Coordinator at the Cedar Rapid Public Library. “She kept the team aware of different levels of accessibility and championed new strategies to reach different populations.”

As the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Monica serves as a peer mentor to all AmeriCorps VISTA members in the project. In addition to answering questions and providing support, she assists with arranging training, networking, and professional development opportunities for the VISTA team. “Our project would not be possible without the energy, ideas, and hard work Monica provides” said Michelle Raymer, Volunteer Iowa Program Officer.

Thank you for your service, Monica!

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Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey: http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

Retiree Helps Clinic Patients Enjoy Their Stay

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This week’s “50 Faces of Volunteers” spotlight features a volunteer with Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Michael Blackwell has been a volunteer with PCI since April 2013, where she has volunteered two days a week. Since she began, Michael has volunteered over 1,000 hours helping patients and guests find their way around the facility and assisting them with wheelchairs during their stay.

According to Lynette Oliver with PCI, “Michael is always professional and welcoming to our patients and guests. She laughs with them, goes the extra mile to get them to their destination and helps to make their day a little bit less stressful. We are so happy that Michael chose to support PCI with her time and talents. She certainly deserves to be recognized.”

Michael is a retired Department Coordinator for a local insurance company, and she lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband.

Thank you for your service Michael!

What’s your 50? For more information about the Governor’s Call to Service, and to find volunteer opportunities statewide, visit https://volunteeriowa.org/whats-your-50.

Can you nominate someone to be one of our 50 Faces of Volunteers? Fill out this quick spotlight form and help us recognize outstanding volunteers in Iowa: http://svy.mk/1RrvPhA

High School Key Club Serves Community Members in Need

This week, we are excited to honor the Prairie High School Key Club for volunteering over 275 hours so far this school year!

The Prairie High School Key Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is a student-led organization that allows students the opportunity to serve their community, build character, and develop leadership skills. Now in the fourth year, Prairie High School Key Club has over 100 members who volunteer in and around the Cedar Rapids community with organizations such as Young Parents Network, Catherine McAuley Center, Families Helping Families, Salvation Army, ARC, Gems of Hope, and College Community Schools.

This year, the group made fleece blankets for residents at the Catherine McAuley Center transitional housing unit so that women in need can have blankets of their own during the winter. Members of the Prairie High School Key Club have demonstrated a clear desire to positively impact people in their community, and are an enthusiastic example to their peers.

Thank you all for your service!

What’s your 50? For more information about the Governor’s Call to Service, and to find volunteer opportunities statewide, visit https://volunteeriowa.org/whats-your-50.

Can you nominate someone to be one our our 50 Faces of Volunteers? Fill out this quick spotlight form and help us recognize outstanding volunteers in Iowa http://svy.mk/1RrvPhAF.

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Des Moines community member supports refugees

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Christina Sibouih is a Des Moines community member who volunteers with the Refugee Resource Center, an inter-faith, volunteer driven organization that assists refugees in the Des Moines community. Christina is one of the founding members of the Refugee Resource Center and spends 6-10 hours a week helping refugee’s access medical care, apply for green cards, find employment, and asses housing needs.

According to one colleague, Christina is “A living example of service.
Despite having young children, family members to take care of, and a demanding job, Christina is working to empower refugee communities and to give them services they know they can depend on.”

She is a Division Administrator with the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. Thank you for your service, Christina!

What’s your 50? For more information about the Governor’s Call to Service, and to find volunteer opportunities statewide, visit www.volunteeriowa.org/icvs-services-and-initiatives

AmeriCorps Member of the Month December 2015

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Hannah Smith has been selected as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for December 2015.

Hannah completed her term of service with AmeriCorps State/National in July with Crisis Intervention Service, an organization that supports victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes throughout a 15 county area in rural north central Iowa. She focused on economic justice issues, providing financial literacy training and housing assistance for survivors of domestic abuse, as well as advocating for victims within the legal and medical systems. She also worked with victims to provide counseling and safety planning.

Hannah has been a great advocate for national service, and has presented information about AmeriCorps as well as Crisis Intervention Service at events throughout her community and educated people on ways to help CIS clients as well as presenting community members with opportunities to volunteer.

In addition to all of her great work with CIS, Hannah also served as a mentor for youths in her community, acted as a leader and mentor for a middle school church youth group, and participated in additional charitable activities with her roller derby team.

Thank you for your service, Hannah!

Nomination forms for the Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month recognition can be requested by e-mailing icvs@iowa.gov.