Anna McMahon , AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer
I met Deborah Ellis, Director and overall dog guru, through my work with ServeWyoming. Having seen Ellis in action, I am truly amazed by her determination to work for the well-being of all lost and abandoned dogs in Lander. Despite having little financial help from the city, The Lander Pet Connection continues to take in new dogs, while caring for the ones already in custody. The Lander Pet Connection is a no-kill shelter, so dogs may stay longer than in other shelters. With the help of those at Furry Friends Pet Grooming and Boarding, who graciously offer boarding at a reduced rate, LPC has managed to find suitable space for the Pet Connection dogs without actually having a shelter. They are currently working towards building a shelter of their own, but in the mean time they must do with what they have. I have volunteered my time to the Pet Connection by walking dogs. Rocky, abandoned and left outside with his mother and sister, is one of my favorites. He may be a little feisty while caged, but outside he is much more docile. Not only do I get to fulfill my need to interact with dogs, but the dogs get a chance for one-on-one attention and exercise. The Lander Pet Connection is a nonprofit truly deserving of a volunteers' time and effort.
Anna McMahon , AmeriCorps*VISTA
The Firefighter's Combat Challenge was held the weekend of September 10t-11th as a way to not only commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, but to remember the heroes who gave their lives that day, and celebrate those who continue to serve our country. Firemen and women from across the country came together to perform relay events, showcasing their skills individually and as a team. ServeWyoming helped sponsor the event and managed a booth, encouraging others to sign up to be disaster relief volunteers. We are currently gathering a pool of volunteers who, in the event of a disaster emergency, would be called upon to give their time, skills, and energy. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people in the community, support local firefighters, and have some fun! We were able to sign up eleven volunteers over the weekend and are always looking for more people willing to help!!
Pam Zurawski , AmeriCorps Member--ServeWyoming
Child Care Finder
It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to help out with "Make a Difference Day" on October 22, 2011. Volunteering at the Food Banks of the Rockies was an experience for me. Even though I was taking pictures of the activity, I felt very involved. I was able to show others what it was like. To be directly involved by sorting food, cleaning the floors, and painting the area was awesome but many people in the community would not know what it was like without someone taking pictures. I was able to capture that activity by taking those pictures so in the future more could come and help.
AmeriCorps Member/Child Care Finder
Brittany Thompson , Project Coordinator
Wyoming Conservation Corps
804 E. Fremont St.
Wyoming Conservation Corps
AmeriCorps has given the Wyoming Conservation Corps credibility across the state of Wyoming and opened doors to work with organizations based on our association with the greater AmeriCorps system. I have spoken with many new partners who served with AmeriCorps in various parts of the country, and they are excited to create opportunities for members like they had during their service term.
Bill Schieck , Employee at Interfaith / Active Volunteer
âClinton, just a note to thank you for everything you've done for me personally and for the organizations I have been associated with. The assignment you arranged for me at Interfaith has been a real eye opener as far as the help that is given to the residents of Natrona County and Casper in particular. The staff at Interfaith is extremely dedicated to their clients and in helping volunteers to absorb the many facets of social work. Joshua's Storehouse dispenses much needed foodstuffs to the residents of Natrona County and is a great aid to Interfaith in their continued support of the agencies of the county. The collegeâs Tate and Werner Wildlife museums have been wonderful as far as imparting knowledge of Wyoming's past and being able to spread a little of that to the patrons of the museums. All in all the above named agencies are among the many that could not survive without volunteers, and your service in locating willing volunteers is an invaluable aid to all. THANKS for the efforts on my behalf and in the securement of people to volunteer for all the agencies in Casper and Natrona County.â
Betsy O'Neil , Reference Librarian
Natrona County Public Library
307 E. 2nd St.
Natrona County Public Library
âThe Natrona County Public Library (NCPL) is extremely fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers who regularly help throughout the library. Their hard work improves library service for every member of our community and frees up staff to work on other important projects. Library volunteers receive many benefits from volunteering, including meaningful interaction with library staff, and having a positive impact on other community members. It is our hope that all nonprofits are able to build such mutually-beneficial volunteer relationships. This was the purpose of the Volunteer Fair held March 2nd in the libraryâs Crawford Room. This partnership between ServeWyoming and NCPL was a huge success, with over 20 organizations on hand and 100 people attending. Volunteers learned about each nonprofit and its needs, while nonprofits became acquainted with volunteersâ backgrounds and skills. The matches made that day will continue to benefit our community for years to come.â
Steve Hamaker , CEO
Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters
AmeriCorps has allowed us the opportunity to recruit more volunteers to serve more children. The most exciting piece for our organization is that AmeriCorps has allowed us to bring in a wide variety of people with different skill sets, personalities, and diversity. With our very diverse population of clients, this has allowed us to better meet the needs of the people we serve. We currently have an AmeriCorps volunteer that is responsible for doing activities with our unmatched children. In the past, when we have tried to invite these kids to an activity, the response is usually about half. Our AmeriCorps member decided that half was not enough and decided to set a personal goal to get at least 90% attendance. Thus far, she has gotten 100%. She has been very methodical about the activities that she planned and has called and given them personal invites and even been willing to go and pick the kids up. She has eliminated all of the barriers and is now starting to see them come to more activities because the kids donât want to miss out. These activities have allowed the rest of the staff to get better acquainted with the children and thus do a better job of matching.
Stephanie Poppe , AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer
171 N. Main St.
Stephanie Poppe, an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer for ServeWyoming, writes, "Serving in the community of Sheridan as a ServeWyoming VISTA Volunteer has been a wonderful experience. I have been able to meet and work with vital organizations that serve our community. As a result, I have seen first hand the connections we have been able to facilitate through our programming and collaboration with other agencies which have continued to successfully bridge the communication gap among nonprofits in Sheridan. During a recent event, I had the opportunity to connect the volunteer base at Fort Mackenzie High School with local flood relief agencies. Through this partnership, the flood relief agencies were able to increase the number of volunteers who were willing and able to give their time and generous donations of goods to flood victims." Great moments of community members coming together in service like the one described in Stephanie's story is one of many great stories happening throughout the Cowboy State. ServeWyoming continues to strive to promote the work ethic of volunteerism and service throughout the state with the help of it's staff, VISTA volunteers, and board members. For more information on how you can get involved in your community or how to find ways to partner with ServeWyoming please call 1-800-VOLUNTEER.
Beth Andress , Keep Casper Beautiful Coordinator
Keep Casper Beautiful
1800 East "K" St.
Keep Casper Beautiful
The city streets crew had been working for weeks to sandbag public structures and were happy to partner with Keep Casper Beautiful and the LDS Youth Camp to sandbag the Fort Caspar Museum caretakers home. The youth group was very enthusiastic and worked very hard filling and stacking the sandbags. In 3 hours they accomplished a task that would have taken the city at least two days to complete--and they smiled and laughed the entire time.
It was a win for both organizations. The youth group got to serve their community in an important way and the city was able to move onto other projects--and they both had fun. The volunteer spirit made a tough job fun and many hands made light work for all.
Jenell Putnam , AmeriCorps*State Member
Business Leadership Network
213 West Main Street,Suite C
My name is Jenell Putnam and I am an AmeriCorps volunteer serving with the Business Leadership Network and its Director Cindy Keele. A year ago I spent the majority of my days staying at home isolated from the rest of the world, only dreaming of being able to get out into the community, being productive and making a difference. In the fall of last year, I eagerly participated in the Business Leadership Network's annual Festival of Trees. I was determined to enjoy the time given to get out of my home, be productive and help out for such a wonderful cause. However, it was always in the back of my mind that this volunteer opportunity was only temporary and soon, I would be back where I started: secluded, depressed and alone. In the meantime, I experienced such joy rising in the morning to "get ready for work", meeting new people but mostly feeling useful. I can recall a few times I had been at the armory for an entire day decorating and running errands, the signs of fatigue clearly showing, Cindy would have to "force" me to go home for the day.
It was near the end of the event I expressed my concerns of wanting more volunteer opportunities or some endeavor to keep me active and involved. That is when the opportunity for the AmeriCorps came about. It literally changed my life as now I'm doing activities such as interviewing local businesses in the community, planning and participating in the annual Central Wyoming College Employment Expo, attending the Conoco Phillips Awards Luncheon, Youth Mentoring Day and "Mock-Interviews" for MentorAbility and being part of a panel at the Governor's Summit on Workforce Solutions, discussing employers who hired an individual with a disability and the positive attributes of it. I helped organize a work shop called "Lunch and Learn" and I am currently helping to plan the Mayor's Leadership Awards and the upcoming 2011 Fremont County Festival of Trees.
Since joining the AmeriCorps and working with the Business Leadership Network, I no longer have the desire to return to those former days of isolation and feeling hopeless. I'm finding myself anxious to begin my day getting up and preparing to go to work, learning valuable skills, meeting friendly and supportive people, happily completing tasks Cindy assigns me, enjoying the camaraderie of my co-AmeriCorps volunteer and anxiously calling my parents at the end of the day to tell them the news of what exciting things I have done. I feel that every day is an "adventure" just waiting to happen. I see a bright and productive future, and for the first time I realize while I have a DisAbility, it DOES not have me.
As a result, in taking everything I've learned in accomplishing tasks, being productive and living out my dreams, I know that I did not do this alone. The love of my parents, the support of the AmeriCorps, Cindy Keele and the entire Business Leadership Network, I hope my story will reach out to others with or even without a DisAbility to inspire them. Just take the first step, join an organization like the AmeriCorps, it can open doors you never knew existed, just like it did for me. If ever there was a motto, to encourage those with a DisAbility to follow their dreams and achieve their goals, it would be:
"IT'S OUR TIME TO SHINE"
Amanda , AmeriCorps
WY Coalition for Domestic Violence & SexualAssault
Amanda in Sheridan shared the following about her AmeriCorps service: March has been especially busy with new victims, and many more people coming to our center. One particular person that utilized the services we have available was a middle aged man, in need of a stalking order. He was very upset about the whole situation, and couldn't believe that at his age, and his stature, that HE would need something like this. I accompanied him to his court hearing, where he was very well composed and told the judge exactly why he felt he needed this order. His order was granted, and he was so thankful for the help I was able to give. He thoroughly enjoyed the services I provided to him, that he made a donation to our center, of $1,000.00 dollars. This story really makes me thankful for the work that I am able to do. I think that it helps me bring myself back to the "ground" (so to say), because it helps me to remember how valuable our services truly are to the one's we help. This story also reminds me that harassment and violence are everywhere, and that everyone is affected either directly or indirectly by the actions of others. My whole goal through my AmeriCorps service has been to instill more information into the community about the services we do, and I think this case shows my success.
Debra Bulluck , VISTA Volunteer
229 East 2nd Street
"What a difference 3 hours made on Make A Difference Day 2010"
In 3 hours, volunteers were able to help ESPC canvass 100 homes and share with the public the importance of voting and what issues were being voted on during this recent mid-term election. Over across town in Mills, WY, volunteers were able to complete some fall cleaning for Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies: interior painting, fill in the mud puddles in the parking lot, wash the outside of the enormous freezer, sort some foods, and clean the inside and outside of the 18 wheeler that is used to distribute goods to food pantries across the state. On October 23rd 2010, ordinary people in our community committed and accomplished a common goal, making a difference in Natrona County.
Marguerite Meyer , Former Director
Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies (WFBR)
Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies
The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies (WFBR) described ServeWyoming's Volunteer Wyoming program as being "invaluable". Because of ServeWyoming volunteer referrals, the WFBR has been able to place the equivalent of 2 full time staff in their organization through volunteer hours. They average 81 hours a week, and the Wyoming economic equivalent for this type of work is $17.73 (See www.IndependentSector.com for more details). Those volunteers have contributed to the WY Food Bank of the Rockies mission of feeding people in need by a total of $68,934 of service. With the added burden of extra clients in these hard economic times, "our small staff would never be able to meet the demand of our client load without volunteers" says Marguerite Meyer, Former Director of The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.
Sheridan County YMCA--Volunteerism Impact
417 North Jefferson Street
SHERIDAN COUNTY YMCA-VOLUNTEERISM IMPACT
Azia worked in the weight room and the Activate Sheridan Center during the summer months of 2010. While working in the weight room Azia assisted the beginner exerciser in learning the equipment so they felt comfortable being in that environment. She also kept the equipment clean. Azia's greatest accomplishment in the weight room is her ability to build relationships with the members. Those relationships are so important because feeling a part of a community is what continues to bring the members in and stay. She was excellent at making people feel welcomed and a part of the group.
Azia spent a great deal of time in the Activate Sheridan Center, which is a facility for the beginner exerciser, the seniors and the youth. She basically worked during times when the beginner and senior population was in the room. As mentioned above, Azia had the ability to start a conversation with anyone and make them feel at home. In fact, people today are still asking where Azia is. She would teach the members how to use the equipment, but her main job was to get the person feeling comfortable with exercising so that they would want to keep coming back. I think the majority of people continued to come back because they enjoyed Azia so much. She always had a smile on her face and she never seemed to judge a person because of their color, size, income, literacy or fitness level.
There is an elderly lady in the class who uses a walker. She was very dependent on me and didn't think that Azia was going to be able to do the job. I had special exercises for her to do since she wasn't able to do all of the strength machines. She kept saying how sad she was that I would not be there anymore and she just knew that Azia would not work out. When Azia began, she immediately took a liking to Helen. Azia always called her Miss Helen and took extra time with her. Helen fell in love with her, and I know a longer relationship existed! Even now that Azia is gone, Helen periodically asks about her and wonders how she is doing.
Azia also covered shifts for many people during her time in the weight room and the Activate Sheridan Center. She was always willing to take a shift if someone was sick or had an emergency. She just enjoyed being around people and that's what the Y is all about.
ServeWyoming Loves our Sponsors!
- Wyoming Humanities Council
- Casper Journal
- Casper Star-Tribune
- Townsquare Media
- Goshen County Economic Development
- Homer & Mildred S. Scott Foundation
- Rural Dynamics Incorporated
- Tate Foundation
- Wyoming Community Foundation
- City of Casper
- Art Works
- Wyoming Arts Council
- Wyoming Medical Center
- Zimmerman Family Foundation
- Cloud Peak Energy
- CNCS - Corporation for National and Community Service
- KCWY Channel 13
- Eastern Wyoming College
- Sheridan Press
- State of Wyoming
- WY Department of Education
- WY Department of Workforce Services
- Center for a Vital Community at Sheridan College
- First Interstate Bank
- Hub International
- Central Wyoming Property Inspectors
- CK Mechanical, Inc.
- Natrona County Medical Reserve Corps
- City of Casper Natrona County Health Department