Organization: Habitat for Humanity, City of Wausau and more
Volunteer Service: Since 2014
How did you get involved with these organizations?
Volunteerism was instilled in me by my family from a young age. They were active members of the community and it seemed like the right thing to carry that forward. I participated in Habitat builds growing up and continued this into college when I moved to the Twin Cities. When I returned to the Wausau area, I naturally inquired about our local Habitat’s volunteer needs along with other area organizations.
In what ways have you volunteered in your community?
Many of these organizations needed someone with a financial background and I was happy to assist. For Habitat, I serve on the board and acquisition committee, which includes overseeing the intake of lots and the acquisition and sale of properties. I also participate at the Habitat ReStore at least once a quarter to assist with inventory or wherever they need help. I serve on the planning commission for the City of Wausau and as the Treasurer for the Marathon County AOD Partnership Council. I also coach youth hockey in the area.
What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?
There are two things that come to mind. The first is when I can volunteer with my children. I get to see them appreciate things that can impact their lives, talents and development. It makes me proud to foster something in them that will exist beyond me.
The second is being part of these great organizations and their missions. Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing to those in need. As a child I remember the moment my single mother was finally able to get out of rentals and buy a home of her own. She still lives in that home today. By volunteering, I get to be part of these rewarding experiences for other families.
Can you share a memorable experience you’ve been part of through your community involvement?
When I think about the memories I’ve made, it comes down to one underlying theme: connectivity. My volunteerism has allowed me to build connections with people, the organization and the community. It’s given me the ability to be part of something bigger than myself. It’s been a huge growth opportunity and has connected me to so many people in the community.
How do you feel volunteering has changed you as a person?
I have a greater sense of ownership in the community. I feel entrenched in the place that I live. It’s not just where I reside, rather I feel connected to it.
What have you learned about your community?
Volunteers serve as the backbone for nonprofit organizations—without them, a lot of these organizations wouldn’t exist. I’ve met some volunteers who donate hundreds of hours of their own time to a cause and I am humbled to be a part of it.
What advice would you give other colleagues looking to start volunteering?
Just start. Find something you are interested in or have a connection with—don’t wait to be asked. If you have a particular interest or passion, there is likely a volunteer activity available to foster that. Once you try it, you’ll likely find the value it brings far outweighs the time commitment you put forward.