Volunteers make the world go 'round
By ANDREA VARGO
If you have any extra time on your hands, there are plenty of places to spend it as a volunteer in your community.
Schools, churches, scouts, story time at the public library, and local organizations depend on volunteers to fill in the gaps or completely run affairs.
Marnie Glessing of St. James School said, "The church runs on volunteers for the altar guild, flower committee, the choir, building and cemetery maintenance"
"Video tape is made of the Sunday service and brought to shut-ins and people in the hospital," said St. James School Principal Greg Baumann.
The church has quilting guilds that make quilts for natural disaster victims.
A church newsletter is written and assembled by volunteers, said Glessing.
The school makes use of lots of extra help from parents and parishioners.
Some work can be done at school, or some can be taken home.
The school volunteers correct papers and tests, put up bulletin boards, and help in the library on Thursdays.
Fundraisers and concession stands function solely with the help of volunteers, and you can even be a substitute cook on occasion, according to the information sent out to parents by St. James staff at the beginning of the school year.
The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) School District Adult Volunteer/Youth Service Coordinator Pam Henry-Neaton states that school volunteers give teachers and staff more time to give individual attention to students.
By bringing their special interests, talents, abilities, and knowledge to the classrooms, volunteers broaden the realm of learning, she said.
There are many ways volunteers can help in the HLWW schools, according to Henry-Neaton.
It can be a one-time activity, or maybe once a week or once a month.
HLWW even has orientation programs for volunteers to help them, if they wish to attend, she said.
Henry-Neaton explained that students and classes from the school are encouraged to volunteer time to community projects and area nursing homes.
The HLWW Youth Service Program is for students who want to perform a service of their choice, one that is meaningful to the community.
Areas that might be considered by the potential volunteer are playground/recess supervision, field trips or parties, programs, musicals, or help with PTA activities.
Volunteers can tell stories or read to students, talk about special topics, such as history, hobby, travel or perhaps a career, said Henry-Neaton.
There are lots of things that can be done at home, rather than at school, if the volunteer so chooses.
One thing many haven't thought about is calling students who are alone before or after school to offer support and encouragement, or having lunch with students, she explained.
HLWW Adult Volunteer Program is five years old and going strong, according to Henry-Neaton.
More than 1,300 documented hours were contributed during the 1997-1998 school year.
Evaluations written by the volunteers were very positive, she said.
Donna Haglin is one of the many volunteers that helps in her community.
She is a senior companion, drives for seniors, and is coordinator for the bloodmobile in the Howard Lake area.
Haglin said, "A senior companion does things with and for a senior as you would for any friend."
"We have many enjoyable times together," she said.
"Senior companions help keep seniors in their own homes, where they are in familiar surroundings and are really at home," said Haglin.
Driving for seniors is another program that supports seniors. For many reasons, family members can not take a parent or other relative to medical appointments.
Both these areas need volunteers in most communities, she said, and the contact would be Wright County Human Services at 612-682-7484, she said.
As coordinator for the bloodmobile that comes to Howard Lake two or three times a year, Haglin is responsible for collecting volunteers.
These people phone potential donors, churches take turns serving lunch to donors, volunteers deliver the blood to St. Paul, high school students set up the equipment, and Howard Lake firemen dismantle it.
Haglin spends a lot of time as a volunteer, because it makes her feel good to help others, she said.
"As a Christian, the Bible says we should be kind and help other people, so why not?" she said.
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