Three residents, one group receive honors as part of National Volunteer Week
Three persons and one group were presented with 2013 Community Involvement Awards during Tuesday’s Washington County Board of Commissioners Meeting at the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater.
Community Involvement Awards are presented annually to honor outstanding volunteer contributions made by Washington County individuals and groups. The awards are co-sponsored by Community Thread and Washington County and are traditionally presented during National Volunteer Week, which is Sunday through Saturday this year.
Sponsored by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each subsequent year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.
Every year since 1975, Washington County and Community Thread have collaborated to recognize outstanding local volunteers. These volunteers have given years of service to enhance the quality of the Washington County community. Awards are given in the categories of Lifetime, Outstanding Adult, Outstanding Youth, and Group Volunteers.
Chelsie Moore of Forest Lake, who has been volunteering with Solid Ground (Formerly East Metro Women’s Council) and providing daycare assistance and tutoring help for the children who live there, is the Outstanding Volunteer Award winner.
Moore is pursuing her Associate’s Degree at Century College with a focus on microbiology and anatomy. Her long-term goal is to become a physician’s assistant or a recreational therapist — whichever one gives her most access to working with children.
Despite a busy college schedule, Moore averages seven to 10 hours a week volunteering at Solid Ground. She tutors three days a week, then often stays longer to provide child care for Solid Ground’s residents as they attend night classes. In addition, she’s continued to volunteer at her niece’s school doing a variety of special events including the science fair, movie nights, book fairs and even picture day. Her favorite volunteer experience happened one day when a 4-year-old girl asked her to be her best friend.
“Now, every time I see her, she asks me if I missed her and if we’re still best friends,” Moore said. “I’m glad I’ve been able to make such an impact.”
Shawn Ramberg of Woodbury is this year’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award recipient for his volunteer work as a Play Team Youth Leader at the Minnesota Children’s Museum. In addition to volunteering with the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Shawn has volunteered as a member of the Community Youth Council of Washington County South where he attended youth oriented providing day care and kid-friendly activities.
Ramberg also has international volunteer experience. His grandmother lives in Japan and when he visits during the summer, he carries his volunteer gifts to another county. While in Japan, Ramberg volunteered as a camp counselor at the nature-based Japanese Youth Camp in Nagano. There he worked to teach the basics of nature and the environment. Through the organization Tono Magokoro Net, he worked for two days cleaning by hand all the garbage that was inaccessible to big machinery.
“We hauled a lot of garbage. I met a lot of people and saw the damage first hand,” her said.
Outstanding Group Volunteer
The Day Out! Volunteers at FamilyMeans are 2013 Outstanding Group Award winners for their collective service that benefits the community.
Day Out! began in at FamilyMeans in July 2011 as an effort to provide respite for caregiving family members who’s loved ones were facing chronic health issues including early to mid-stage memory loss.
Nominated by their supervisor, FamilyMeans’ Volunteer Coordinator Margaret Irwin, the Day Out! volunteers arrive each week on Friday to set-up the room for the day. Volunteers take turns planning the theme for the day which could be anything from a Spring theme day to a presidents parade or election day theme. Volunteers prepare coffee and treats, set up board games and coordinate craft activities. On any given Friday, about 12 volunteers are on hand to assist the “friends” that arrive to spend the day.
Lorrie Etter, one of the group’s core volunteers, said that, “Not only do the clients benefit from a change of scenery and routine, but Day Out! is a much needed support service for the caregiver. It allows them the opportunity to go to appointments, shopping or just be home taking a break from the caretaker role.”