Month: February 2016

Retired Nurse Helps English Language Learners in Iowa

This week, Jean Wilson is one of our “50 Faces of Volunteers” in Iowa.

Jean is a volunteer with the English Language Learning program at 8th & College Connections in Des Moines where she is an English tutor. After a long career as a nurse, Jean was excited to begin her second career as a volunteer and give back to the community. In her current role, Jean cares for the mental health and well-being of the people she serves, and is able to help her students learn and grow as they develop new skills. She has been a volunteer for 5 years, and contributes to the ELL program year round.

Veronica Stafford, who nominated Jean for her wok with the ELL program says that, “Jean truly forms an individual relationship with each of her students. She knows what strengths they have aside from their English language abilities. She listens to their problems, and she follows-up with them to see how they are progressing. In this way, Jean serves as the best kind of representative for native English-speakers in Iowa. Her compassion and welcoming attitude allow her to quickly form not just relationships but actual friendships with her students. As a friend, Jean walks her students through the complexities of English grammar and shares her sense of humor.”

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Jean is an active volunteer with multiple organizations throughout the Des Moines area, and is always willing to be involved with every aspect of the operation of the Engligh Language Learning program, including attending teachers meetings, sitting on the ELL advisory board, cleaning closets, or organizing supplies. In 2015 she accrued over 150 hours of volunteer hours.

Thank you for all of your service, Jean!

What’s your 50? For more information about the Governor’s Call to Service, and to find volunteer opportunities statewide, visithttps://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 February 2016

Suzie Stroud 2016.jpgVolunteer Iowa is very proud to honor Suzanne Stroud as the Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for February 2016.

Suzie is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Project Concern, which provides housing and homelessness prevention services to communities throughout Dubuque, Delaware and Jackson counties. During her time as a VISTA, she has developed and implemented systems for data collection, spread awareness about homelessness and poverty in Iowa, and built vital relationships within the communities she serves. Suzie has also recruited 46 volunteers to the agency who have collectively volunteered a total of 1,451 hours for Project Concern.

As a native of Dubuque, Suzie is devoted to giving back to her community and actively working to make it a better place in everything that she does. After her service, Suzie intends to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work.

In recognition for her service, Suzie will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds commemorating her dedication to service and efforts towards bettering the state of Iowa.

Thank you for your service, Suzie!

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!

Board Member Helps Engage Iowa Students

DenikaDenika Almburg is a volunteer with Community Youth Concepts (CYC) and this week’s Volunteer Iowa “50 Faces of Volunteers” honoree!

As a former 7th grade teacher, Denika is passionate about positively impacting the lives of youth. Denika moved back to Des Moines from Charlotte, North Carolina in 2013 and began volunteering with CYC on the CYC Capital Campaign Committee to raise funds for a new building. She has since joined the Board of Directors and Marketing Committee, and was even able to cover maternity leave for a staff member last fall!

Denika’s work impacts close to 5,000 students in Polk county, and she is always willing to support staff by doing whatever needs doing. She hopes everyone eventually finds an outlet to give back and a legacy to leave behind. According to Amy Croll with CYC, “Denika has always been on the front line for the organization, willing to give of her time and when necessary, assist in recruiting others to give their talents alongside her for the organization.”

When she’s not volunteering, Denika enjoys the great outdoors, updating real estate projects, traveling with her husband, or engaging with social media.

Thank you for your service, Denika!

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

Volunteer Supports Events that Benefit Iowa Children

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This week, the “50 Faces of Volunteers” feature is spotlighting Mitch Harris, a transportation volunteer with Variety- the Children’s Charity, an organization that works to improve the lives of underprivileged, at-risk, and special needs children all over Iowa.

Like many people, Mitch began volunteering because he was asked. Mitch was asked to help with the Variety Telethon in 1977 and he began to volunteer regularly for Variety. In addition to the work he does volunteering, he is always an advocate for service and encourages other people to get involved as well. This year, Mitch is celebrating 40 years of volunteering with Variety!

According to Margie Gibbons with Variety, “Without volunteers like Mitch, we would have a hard time pulling off some of our events because we would be understaffed. He makes the events run more smoothly because we can trust him to take care of whatever responsibility we give him… he is the best!”

Mitch works at the Hematology and Oncology Center of Iowa in Des Moines.

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

Homeschooling Families Integrate Service into Learning

This week our “50 Faces of Volunteers” spotlight shines on a group of students who participate in a weekly service-learning program in Central Iowa. Homeschool Kids with a Kause (KWAKers), hosted by Community Youth Concepts, is a new group of homeschooling families who get together to integrate opportunities for service into their curriculum, emphasizing the importance of civic involvement and community engagement. Although they have only been meeting for two months, they have over 100 members who participate in online discussions and they have completed over 130 hours of service! Together, they have been able to host a craft night at a local senior center, work in a community garden, and more.

The Homeschool KWAKer’s learn that volunteering is fun and rewarding. Parents of students who participate in the program say that they are better able to discuss service and community needs at other times during the school day. According to Brandy Case Haub with Community Youth Concepts, “This group loves getting out in the community and meeting new people, and offering a helping hand or an activity that will brighten someone’s day.”

Thank you for your service, KWAKers!

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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