Prairie Profiles: Passion for helping people

Published 7:56 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

Employee works for both United Way and Senior Resources


An Albert Lea woman who is employed at two organizations meant to serve the community views her work as part of who she is.

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Katelyn Tollefson, 27, is the volunteer and outreach coordinator at United Way of Freeborn County and  chore services manager at Senior Resources of Freeborn County.

In her United Way position, Tollefson helps with the organization’s communication and outreach efforts, events, social media work and secretarial duties.

With Senior Resources, Tollefson helps line up lawn care for seniors in the spring and summer months and snow removal in the winter.

“Sometimes people need help with house cleaning or just some minor fixup jobs in their house or something, and I help try to figure out who can do that for them,” she said.

Tollefson noted the changing aspects of her jobs.

“I like how flexible it is, and then with Senior Resources, too, I get a variety of things I get to do,” she said. “It can jump from one extreme to the next in one day, and it’s kind of fun sometimes.”

She said her work is a reflection of her personality, noting she enjoys making differences in the lives of others and interacting with the public.

“I’ve always had a passion of helping people,” Tollefson said.

Tollefson, who graduated from New Hampton High School in 2010, briefly attended Rochester Community Technical College and then North Iowa Community College. She took a few semesters off after buying a house and working a full-time factory job before moving to Le Center in 2014 and attending South Central College in Mankato. She moved to Albert Lea 2 1/2 years ago. 

She graduated with a community health education degree and a psychology minor from Minnesota State University-Mankato in May.

In her spare time, Tollefson coaches gymnastics for Albert Lea Gymnastics Club, runs, walks and works out.

United Way of Freeborn County Executive Director Ann Austin called Tollefson “awesome.”

“She’s so adaptable, and that’s what we need right now with nonprofits,” Austin said. “It’s been great partnering with Senior Resources on a shared staff person. It helps us understand the greater needs in our community and how we could engage more community members in helping others.

“It’s been a great fit. She’s been a great fit.”

Austin said Tollefson has livened the Vitality Center since starting work.

“She makes everybody feel welcomed,” Austin said. “She’s wonderful at the front desk because all of the people who come in, she treats with them respect and kindness and follows up with conversations they’ve previously had. That’s really important with any kind of workplace, that you have a front desk person who is just a delightful, nice person.”


Katelyn Tollefson

Age: 27

Address: Albert Lea

Livelihood: volunteer and outreach coordinator at United Way of Freeborn County and chore manager at Senior Resources of Freeborn County

Family: father, James Gullickson; stepmother, Bobbi Potter; mother, Pat Voigt; three brothers: Taylor Tollefson and stepbrothers Jamie Hoppe and Jason Hoppe

Interesting fact: Tollefson has owned a house in Albert Lea while being a full-time student at Minnesota State University-Mankato

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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