Guest Column: New volunteer opportunities being planned

Published 9:12 pm Friday, July 27, 2018

Live United by Katelyn Tollefson

Katelyn Tollefson


As the world changes and people get busier, volunteers can be hard to come by. Different dynamics, such as work schedules and family life make the concept of free time more challenging.

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I, myself, am guilty of having a hard time committing, especially with volunteering, and I know I’m not the only one. Everyone has their own life they are living, and life seems to become busier and busier as the days, weeks, months and years go by.

Yet, volunteering is very important for our community and for local programs to continue offering services. Volunteering helps others, the community and it may even help you.

I have volunteered a few times over the years, mainly through school. But, I realized when I was volunteering, that I was happier and I felt better about myself. I felt a lot more fortunate because I saw what others were going through and how lucky I was to have what I had.

There are so many less fortunate people out there, and life seems to pass them by with many people not even noticing them. The world doesn’t stop turning when bad or unfortunate things happen; it doesn’t stop turning as people get older. It keeps moving along. And the needs increase, especially for our senior citizens living on their own.

But for those struggling, sometimes it seems as if things won’t ever get better and they might not ever get out of the position they are in. As people age, they can’t always do everything that they once used to, so they need help. But they might not be able to afford it.

There are so many areas in our community that need volunteers such as the STARS Mentoring program, Chore Services through Senior Resources, our United Way and many other places. People often wonder why they should volunteer. The simple answer to this is to help others and to help the community! We need to keep passing the message on to younger and newer generations, but everyone needs to be involved in some way to encourage the engagement of our youth.

This summer, our United Way is focusing on some community cleanup efforts. We were asked by some Karen community members how they can help clean up areas around the lake, where they enjoy fishing. As we have organized this effort, we thought it would be fun to do a weekly cleanup, and get different groups involved.

We are keeping things simple by picking up trash, litter, etc. This fall, we plan to expand focus to work with Senior Resources to identify needs and help engage volunteers to rake leaves, pull weeds, weatherization projects and perform general repairs, as volunteers are able.

Opportunities will be posted on Facebook and Instagram as we finalize the weekly schedule for Community Cleanup.

I believe many people want to volunteer to help others in their community but they don’t know where to go, how to help, and they might not want to do it alone.

The process is simple. Just stop in at the Vitality Center at 314 S. Broadway Ave. and fill out an application form, or go to our website (, fill out a form and bring it in or email it to, or you can give me a call at 507-473-2718.

Thank you!

Katelyn Tollefson is the volunteer and outreach coordinator for the United Way of Freeborn County.