Elgin Teacher and Mentor Receives State Honor

AmberlinderbaumIn advance of the 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Awards Ceremony on April 13, we are taking the next few weeks to feature the honorees in our “50 Faces of Volunteers” recognition series. Mentors are incredible volunteers, and we are proud to highlight their commitment and dedication. This week, we want to share Amber Linderbaum’s story.

Amber has been a mentor for over four years with the Valley Mentoring Program in Elgin, Iowa. As a teacher, she is committed to education and youth development. Amber deeply understands the need for all students to have caring adults in their lives in order to help them navigate challenges and build positive life skills. Amber is a tireless advocate for youth mentoring, and is always recruiting for the program by providing information to youth mentees and inviting colleagues to serve as mentors.

Amber’s mentee is proud to tell people that she will be the first person in her family to graduate high school and attend college. She credits Amber for helping her with homework, setting ambitious goals, exploring career options, and touring college campuses. Amber’s passion and enthusiasm has reached beyond her mentee and the Valley Mentoring Program, she is truly a transformative force in her community. She influences the lives of her students, colleagues, and neighbors every day by setting an example of how an optimistic, caring, and committed role model can change the course of a person’s life. Amber will receive the 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, the most prestigious state honor a mentor can receive, at the State Capitol on April 13. The award will be presented by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership.

Thank you for your service, Amber!
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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

Cedar Rapids Mentor Helps Student Succeed

Husmancrop.jpgThis week we are honoring Jennifer Husmann of Center Junction, Iowa for her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids and East Central Iowa as one of Iowa’s “50 Faces of Volunteers.” She is also a recipient of a 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, presented by the Iowa Mentoring Partnership.

Jennifer has been a Big with BBBS for over 13 years, and has dramatically improved the life of her mentee. Because of Jennifer and the BBBS program, her Little Sister was able to overcome feelings of social isolation, improve her self confidence, and continue to succeed academically at Kirkwood Community College. She has been accepted to the University of Iowa upon her graduation from Kirkwood.

According to Jennifer’s mentee, “Without Big Brothers Big Sisters and my Big, Jennifer, I could not have ever imagined being in the top fourth of my high school class, let alone even going to college! I hope every child has someone they can turn to that is a good listener, sweet, kind, and bubbly just like Jennifer.”

Jennifer is a passionate advocate for mentoring and service, and is involved with recruiting efforts to help new mentors and mentees enroll in the program. Thanks to her work as a volunteer, Jennifer has positively impacted the lives of many children and families across Iowa. As a recipient of 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award, the most prestigious state honor a mentor can receive, she will be honored at the State Capitol on April 13 during the Excellence in Mentoring Awards ceremony.

Thank you for your service, Jennifer!

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

Thank You to Our VISTA Service Members!

This week is AmeriCorps week, which means that all across the county, current and former AmeriCorps members and their host organizations are coming together to celebrate the many individuals who have chosen to serve their country and community. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our VISTA’s for all of the amazing work they do throughout the state of Iowa!

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The Volunteer Iowa VISTA project places VISTA members with host sites all over the state focusing on Education and Veteran’s initiatives. Our VISTA’s work to create an environment where veterans are able to transfer military service into successful employment and independence, and economically disadvantaged students are provided the opportunity to achieve academic and personal success using indirect service and capacity building. Volunteer Iowa host sites are nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools that provide daily oversight and guidance to address the needs of the 20150827_161005communities they serve. They work with VISTA’s to ensure that they are doing meaningful work with their time and service.Volunteer Iowa is just one of many VISTA programs in the state, and is happy to add its strength in volunteerism to make a better state for our residents.

For more information about the VISTA positions currently available with Volunteer Iowa, please check here or contact Volunteer Iowa VISTA Leader Monica de Melo Dreasher at Monica.Dreasher@iowa.gov.

Thank you to all of the AmeriCorps members, past and present, who have made the commitment to serve. Happy AmeriCorps Week 2016!

For more information about AmeriCorps Week, be sure to check social media under #AmeriCorpsWorks and #AmeriCorpsWeek or http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-week

Waverly Pastor Mentors Local Youth

Erin Bird & Quinton SBP

This week, we’re excited to honor Erin Bird as one of Iowa’s “50 Faces of Volunteers” for the time and energy he has given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa.

Erin has been matched with his Little Brother Quinton for just over 2 years and they meet both in and out of school for a few hours every week. They play games, do homework, visit the library, or get ice cream. As a mentor, Erin provides guidance and stability in Quinton’s life. He encourages and supports him, and stresses the importance of education, community, and being kind and considerate to others. Research shows that children who participate in BBBS programming are likely to experience an increase in self confidence, academic performance, and decision making ability, as well as increased positive relationships with peers and family members, and improved attendance at school.¹

As the pastor of Riverwood Church in Waverly, Erin became involved with volunteering after noticing a need in his community, and seeing the impact mentoring could have on a child’s life. He is an active advocate for mentoring and volunteering in Waverly and goes above and beyond to support his Little Brother, Quinton. Erin has four children and is married to his wife, Leann.

Thank you for your service, Erin!

  1. Tierney, J.P., Grossman, J.B., and Resch, N.L. (1995) Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures

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

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

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