Volunteer of the Month for December-Adrienne Hamlin

Instilled at an early age, volunteering is something Adrienne Hamlin just does. As a volunteer coach for the Little Lady Bulldogs Cheer and Dance team, Hamlin works with kids to choreograph dance and cheerleading routines.

“I love working with kids, because it just comes so naturally to me,” Hamlin says. And the kids love Ms. Adrienne. Her supervisor, Mary Dewey, says parents have told here their kids have never been happier to get in shape and look forward to coming to class because she cares for her students.

Along with creating routines, Hamlin finds places for the girls to perform and gives them opportunities to do other things in the community. As a recent college graduate, she feels that she has time to volunteer now, before she starts a family. To Hamlin, volunteering isn’t something you do temporarily.

“When I volunteer with an organization, it is a long-term commitment,” Hamlin says. “Seeing the same people every time I volunteer, seeing their growth, seeing how much enjoyment I can provide by just giving up a little bit of time.”

For more information about volunteering, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit www.como.gov.

 

Written by volunteer Abby Holman.

 

Volunteer of the Month for November 2015-Alexis Collins

One of the best ways to volunteer is to do what you do best, and for Alexis Collins, that is dance. Alexis serves as the Sho Me Sho Stopper Hip Hop dance teacher for the Armory Sports and Community Center, choreographing moves for the boys and girls to perform at events and for friends and family. The class is offered through Columbia Parks & Recreation.

“I saw this as an opportunity to give back to a community that had once embraced me as a child, by going there to teach children what I do best,” Alexis says. “This is by far one of the best decisions that I have made.”

Alexis approaches her job as an outlet for the students she teaches, allowing them to express themselves and their emotions. She says if a student had a low day, this openness gives them a support group that can encourage and help the students grow.

“There is no better feeling than that of giving back to your community,” Alexis says. “Their excitement when they get to learn new choreography, their smiles, their laughter, and even their stubbornness makes me want to keep coming back.  They are the most intelligent and hilarious group of children.  I feel a sense of fulfillment when we huddle up and the end of each class, knowing that they took something different away each class.  They have changed my life.”

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, visit our website, call 874-7499 or email volunteer@como.gov

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for October 2015-Guillermo Hernandez

Volunteering is a great way for young people to learn new skills, get to know their community and build character. Guillermo Hernandez, a Hickman High School student, has discovered the benefits of volunteering during two years of service with the Public Works Stormwater Program.

Guillermo was nominated as the October Volunteer of the Month by the Public Works Stormwater Program for his efforts with education and outreach programs, community gardens, stream cleanups and other volunteer activities. Guillermo, warmly referred to ask the G-Man by staff member Mike Heimos, has helped with Stormy’s Meadow, a community garden that produced green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots this year. The G-Man watered the field and garden twice every day, usually with rainwater collected in a 600-gallon barrel from the roof of the shed.   Guillermo has also assisted with stream cleanups and educating local children about the importance of protecting our stormwater.

The City of Columbia thanks Guillermo for his dedicated service. To find out more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, visit the City’s webpage or call 874-7499.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for September 2015-John Whiteford

If you have gotten a little too hot at a Mizzou football game, you may have already met CERT team member John Whiteford. John has served on the Community Emergency Response Team, a group often used to assist firefighters at events such as fairs and sporting events, for two years.

CERT’s goal is to better prepare citizens for the early stages of disaster, as emergency personnel usually aren’t present. John and those he works with act as the first line of defense for the public.

“I enjoy serving the public.” John says. “We have a lot of interactions with the public.”

Not only does John work at the events but he also spends time coordinating the volunteers that have signed up, ensuring that they are prepared for their assignments.

In addition to his volunteer work, John works as a lead dispatcher at Columbia Ready Mix.

To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 573-874-7499 or visit the City’s website.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for August 2015-Amanda Lewis

Amanda Lewis fell in love with the Special Olympics after volunteering in high school when her school hosted the track and field events. For the past four years, Amanda has continued her passion for working with the event to college and the Columbia community. Jody Cook, Recreation Specialist with Parks & Recreation, who has worked with her says: “She is gifted at adjusting her approach to each athlete and helping him or her preform to the maximum capability. The fun Amanda brings to all she is involved in would be hard to duplicate. The athletes brighten up, putting more focus and effort in what they are doing when Amanda is around.”

Often committing herself to volunteering four nights a week as well as competition weekend for the summer event. As a student with many commitments, Amanda’s reliability, cheerful disposition and success amazes those she works with. Her compassion shines through and has allowed her to build relationships and keep volunteering.

“I’ve learned that you may not always have a visible impact when volunteering yet however small, you always make one,” Amanda says. “The relationships I have formed and grown over the years have continued to be some of the most important to me.”

To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit the City’s website.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for July 2015-Dan Schneiderjohn

What is a better way to spend a Saturday than riding a bike and learning about the nature around you? Not much for Dan Schneiderjohn. In 2013, Dan suggested combining bike rides and green education to the Getabout Columbia program. From this suggestion grew nature-based guided bike rides, coordinated and lead by Dan. Participants can explore the trail system while learning about trees, birds, and storm water or even bring along a camera to capture pictures along the route.

Dan, a single parent with a full time job, created a concept that volunteer supervisor Janet Godon says has attracted new participants to Parks and Recreation activities because of combination of nature and cycling. “We appreciate his time and effort in planning and implementing the Cruise the Creek Guided Ride Series,” Janet says. Prior to each ride the Getabout Columbia staff educate participants on safety and etiquette tips for riding on-road and on the trail, giving even more of an education to riders Dan’s program attracted. The impact of Dan’s suggestion and execution of the program has further backed up the Parks and Recreation mission.

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or volunteer@como.gov.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

After driving past the intersection of Providence and Green Meadows watching the weeds continue to grow and no one to take care of the area, Steve Schultz decided he would do something about it. Steve and his family joined the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program that allows volunteers to care for landscaping in street right of way. Nominator Leigh Britt says that for the past three years Steve and his family have “maintained these beds in a colorful and weed free condition for the benefit of the thousands of residents and visitors who travel the intersection daily.” “I think it’s important because tax dollars are limited for funding aesthetic improvements so this is a way to give back and a way that brightens the city,” Steve says. For Steve, the opportunity has allowed him to spend time with his family and others who care about keep Columbia beautiful, but that isn’t the only benefit. Steve says: “It has allowed my 10 year old son to see what it means to give back to the community.” To learn more about the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program and other ways to volunteer, contact the City’s Volunteer Programs office at 874-7499 or volunteer@GoColumbiaMO.com. Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for June 2015 – Schultz Family

After driving past the intersection of Providence and Green Meadows watching the weeds continue to grow and no one to take care of the area, Steve Schultz decided he would do something about it.  Steve and his family joined the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program that allows volunteers to care for landscaping in street right of way.

Nominator Leigh Britt says that for the past three years Steve and his family have “maintained these beds in a colorful and weed free condition for the benefit of the thousands of residents and visitors who travel the intersection daily.”

“I think it’s important because tax dollars are limited for funding aesthetic improvements so this is a way to give back and a way that brightens the city,” Steve says.

For Steve, the opportunity has allowed him to spend time with his family and others who care about keep Columbia beautiful, but that isn’t the only benefit. Steve says: “It has allowed my 10 year old son to see what it means to give back to the community.”

To learn more about the Adopt-A-Spot Beautification Program and other ways to volunteer, contact the City’s Volunteer Programs office at 874-7499 or volunteer@como.gov.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman

Volunteer of the Month for May 2015 – Little Sisters of the Gold Rose

Volunteer of the Month for May 2015 – Little Sisters of the Gold Rose

Of the five standards the Little Sisters of the Gold Rose are built on, service means to dedicate time, both individually and as an organization, to programs that are designed for the betterment of the community. Through city events, the group of about 55 does just that.

“We look at [the city of Columbia] calendar and find activities that we enjoy doing,” service coordinator Jennie Masuch says. “One of our favorite events is the Earth Day festival, so we are sure to do that every year.”

Since its reorganization at Mizzou in 1992, the group has also fundraised for the Relay for Life. While this is the constant philanthropy for the Little Sisters of the Gold Rose and much time and effort is spent fundraising and organizing events to benefit Relay for Life, the women still set aside time to help around Columbia.  In addition to Earth Day festivities, the group has helped with the Bear Creek Run Half Marathon, the Park Clean Team and the Heritage Festival.

“Volunteering has made us stronger women,” Masuch says. “I think we all enjoy helping the community and knowing what we’re doing is making an impact.It is fun to help those in need, and knowing you’re making someone’s day a little better!”

To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit the City’s website.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman.

Volunteer of the Month for April 2015 – Candace Kassel

Candace Kassel started volunteering with Cleanup Columbia, a city-wide trash pickup event held every April, as a way to have fun and be social with a group of friends. Now, her group, the Litterbuggers have been actively participating in Cleanup Columbia for over seven years, turning a fun social event into a way to give back to her community.

“Seeing so many people in a large town get together to clean up is great,” Kassel says. “I like how clean everything is on Cleanup Columbia weekend.”

Kassel and her group of five to eight Litterbuggers have been participating in Cleanup Columbia since 2008, cleaning up streets, streams, trails and parks throughout the city.

For more information about volunteering, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit www.como.gov.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman.

Dean and Charlotte Larrick have made a life in what they enjoy: giving back to others. For over 50 years, across multiple states the Larricks have served on PTAs, Cub Scouts and libraries. After retiring and moving back to Columbia, the couple continued their impressive volunteer resume by helping at Midway Heights Elementary, The Wardrobe, the Boutique at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center (EFCC), Columbia Art League and serving on the Ellis Fischel Auxiliary Board. “My favorite volunteer job is working in the Boutique at EFCC,” Charlotte said. “It's beautiful. I meet wonderful patients and customers and feel I can be of help. I'm a ‘people person’ so just like to meet and help new people, I guess.” About four years ago the Larricks took on a new project: Adopt-A-Spot. During their daily walks, the pair began picking up trash on the road as they went and were inspired to make it a more permanent commitment. The City identified their original plot as a problem area where citizens frequently littered while driving through the area. Although volunteers are only required to clean their area at least for times a year, the Larricks continue their continual clean up while getting some exercise. “I'll keep volunteering as long as I am able to be useful and do the job well,” Charlotte said. “I think volunteering keepsme busy and active and you realize all the need out in the world and community.” To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or volunteer@GoColumbiaMo.com. Written by Volunteer Abby Holman.

Volunteers of the Month March 2015 – Dean & Charlotte Larrick

Dean and Charlotte Larrick have made a life in what they enjoy: giving back to others. For over 50 years, across multiple states the Larricks have served on PTAs, Cub Scouts and libraries. After retiring and moving back to Columbia, the couple continued their impressive volunteer resume by helping at Midway Heights Elementary, The Wardrobe, the Boutique at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center (EFCC), Columbia Art League and serving on the Ellis Fischel Auxiliary Board.  

“My favorite volunteer job is working in the Boutique at EFCC,” Charlotte said. “It’s beautiful. I meet wonderful patients and customers and feel I can be of help. I’m a ‘people person’ so just like to meet and help new people, I guess.”

About four years ago the Larricks took on a new project: Adopt-A-Spot. During their daily walks, the pair began picking up trash on the road as they went and were inspired to make it a more permanent commitment. The City identified their original plot as a problem area where citizens frequently littered while driving through the area. Although volunteers are only required to clean their area at least for times a year, the Larricks continue their continual clean up while getting some exercise.

“I’ll keep volunteering as long as I am able to be useful and do the job well,” Charlotte said. “I think volunteering keepsme busy and active and you realize all the need out in the world and community.”

To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 orvolunteer@como.gov.

Written by Volunteer Abby Holman.

Volunteer of the Month for February 2015 – Betsy Peters

Volunteer of the Month for February 2015 – Betsy Peters

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure but for Betsy Peters, the treasure is volunteering for the City of Columbia. In the past year Betsy has played an integral role in improving the cleanliness of the East Campus area. As a landlord in the East Campus neighborhood, Betsy has been a valuable resource in connecting the neighborhood to opportunities to improve and clean up the area.

“Rather than just complaining about the trash or the deteriorating sidewalks, it seemed better use of my time to get involved,” Betsy says.

In the fall of 2014 she has helped lead monthly cleanups in the neighborhood, greatly improving the environment in the East Campus neighborhood.

During the student move out period, Betsy assisted the Office of Neighborhood Services in deciding where to place dumpsters and encouraged other landlords to donate to cover the cost of the bins, as well as made a significant contribution herself. BillCantincalls Betsy’s impact significant and says herdirect,no-nonsense attitude makes her a great asset. “Not only does this help ONS further its mission to improve the safety and livability of Columbia’s neighborhoods,” Bill says,“but it also has a direct impact on the interaction of residents of the East Campus neighborhood amongst themselves.”

To learn more about volunteering with the City of Columbia, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or visit us online at www.como.gov/Volunteer.

Written by volunteer Abby Holman.

Kattie Anderson

Volunteer of the Month for January 2015 – Kattie Anderson

Kattie Anderson, and her sons, Joseph who is 5 years old and Joshua who is 2 years old, understands all too well what it means to dig in and help in the community.  The City of Columbia is lucky to have Kattie and her sons diligently working in the WIC Community Garden.  The Community Garden allows members of the community to have their own garden plot to raise fruits and vegetables.   In addition, the garden is home to many educational classes and the produce grown is donated to WIC families. 

Kattie and her crew could be seen weekly throughout the growing season working in the garden!  They were out turning the soil, planting various seeds and transplants, pulling weeds, watering, and have now prepared it for the winter season.  Because of their hard work, the garden tripled its production and over 350 pounds of produce was donated to others.

Kattie started volunteering for the city due to her “desire to learn about gardening and thought it was also the perfect hands on work to do with her children while providing them with a life-long lesson”.   In Kattie’s opinion, she didn’t look at it as volunteering since her family was able to directly benefit from the garden.  In addition, “it was also an opportunity to get to know others in the community since Kattie is fairly new to the city.”  Kattie expressed her enthusiasm about her work and is “excited that the produce benefited so many families.” Kattie and her boys are already gearing up for next year!

To learn more about volunteering with the City, contact Volunteer Programs at 874-7499 or volunteer@como.gov.