Guest Contribution by Maddison Lange – Current titleholder of Miss Muscatine Many people have misconceptions about pageantry. Being a local titleholder in the Miss America Organization has taught me a how to give back to my community and to volunteer. The Miss America Organization teaches … Continue reading Super Size Your Service
Welcome Dave Layton to the Commission! Dave joins Volunteer Iowa as one of our new Commissioners – a position appointed by the Governor where volunteer Commissioners are empowered by federal and state statutes to set priorities and determine what programs best meet the needs of … Continue reading Continuing a legacy of accomplishments
Nominated by Kate Hogg – WHS PTA in Cedar Rapids Tell us a little about the volunteer: Dawn is a super volunteer, willing to do any job from leading our biggest fundraiser event of the year (a show choir invitational …twice!) to cleaning up mouse … Continue reading 50 Faces of Volunteers – Dawn Stastny
Guest submission by Mariah Himes, AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Iowa Mentoring Partnership AmeriCorps caught my attention when, while standing at the PeaceCorps table at a college career fair, a brochure reading, ‘Fight Poverty With Passion’ caught my attention. That’s me! I thought. Like many … Continue reading AmeriCorps: Changing Me and Changing My Community
Volunteer Iowa is fortunate to be adding several new Commissioners to serve a three-year term that began on July 1st. Our Commissioners are the volunteers responsible for governing the state agency – Volunteer Iowa (or ICVS) – which is responsible for administrating Iowa’s National Service … Continue reading Welcome Back to the Commission – Dennis Gabler
Guest submission from former Volunteer Iowa Commissioner, Jeanine Nemitz, Foster Grandparent Program Director (Fort Dodge) Serving as a Commissioner with Volunteer Iowa from 2014-2017 gave me a great opportunity to witness the commitment of my fellow Iowans to making this state a great place to … Continue reading Make Life Better for One Another
“Lanee started out really shy and quiet but as the year went on, she started talking to more kids.” When Emma met her mentee Laney, the 8 year old didn’t interact much with the other kids at Club M mentoring in Burlington. High school freshman Emma determined to help Lanee get out of her comfort zone and make friends. She got to know the shy girl during Club M doing school work or playing games outside. “We both like outdoors activities,” Emma tells me, listing hopscotch, chalk, foursquare, jump rope, and bubbles as some of their favorites.
Hoping to see Emma open up to other children in the mentoring program, Emma encouraged her to try new things. By the end of the year, Lanee was inviting other kids whose mentors hadn’t shown up or who didn’t have a mentor to join her and Emma in games and activities. “She’s very welcoming and inclusive and just really nice to the kids,” Emma tells me. “Even if they don’t play well or aren’t very nice, she’s nice to them.”
Near the end of the year, Club M Burlington director Cassie Gerst organized a trip for mentors and mentees to visit nearby schools and talk to children about mentoring. Cassie hoped to introduce the concept of mentoring to new schools, and get enough interest to start a Club M there. Lanee and Emma went on the trip with others from the program. Emma tells me how the once-shy Lanee talked with new children and encouraged them to get involved in mentoring. In terms of getting out of her comfort zone, Emma says, “it benefitted her a lot.” She adds that the two have kept in touch over the summer and still hang out, as Lanee is the younger sister of one of Emma’s friends.
Emma initially got involved in Club M after several of friends signed up, and especially because she enjoys working with children. After a year of getting to know Lanee and mentoring with Club M, Emma has begun to realize that she has passion for working with young children, especially in teaching them how to do things and encouraging them to try something new. “This is the first year the program was at our school,” Emma tells me. “Ms. Gerst was so positive and even though we didn’t have a lot of mentors, she always went around and talked to people to tell them what Club M is and get them interested.” When there weren’t enough mentors. Cassie hangs out with kids and gets to know them, encouraging them to keep coming until she can find a mentor for them. The director worked hard to get Club M to Burlington High School, and with the help of Lanee, Emma, and the other mentors and mentees, they are trying to bring Club M to other schools in their area. Both girls are excited to do Club M again in the Fall of 2016 and look forward to at least another year of fun, making friends, and growing.