Spirit of Volunteerism Awards
For 38 years in the Sioux Empire and 6 years in the Black Hills, the Helpline Center has hosted the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards to celebrate the exemplary efforts of volunteers. In 2022, we were excited to be back in person for a breakfast event and focused on appreciating the incredible work of volunteers over the last year. We did not be choosing one winner per category but appreciated all the honorees during the 2022 Spirit of Volunteerism Award Breakfast.
2023 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards Breakfast
Sioux Empire: Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Black Hills: Wednesday, April 26, 2023
Doors open at 7:00 a.m. Event is from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
2022 Volunteer Honorees
Click the images to learn more about our volunteers.
You can search for a specific volunteer by using the search bar below.
605 Running Club, Greg and the other owners of 605 are dedicated to making their community better through serving. Members of the 605 Running Club, through the wonderful support of 605 Running Company put, the Spirit in the Spirt of Volunteerism. Once a month a variety of individuals come to serve our guests and have been doing so for years.
The relationship our guests develop with 605 volunteers extends outside the walls of the St. Francis House and even led to one of our guests completing a half marathon. In addition to St. Francis House, they help train guests of the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, the Union Gospel Mission and the Banquet to run a half marathon with Up N Running.
They always serve with incredible joy and treat our guests with dignity and respect.
605 is truly a small business making a big difference.
Judy Abbas has been volunteering with REACH for 3 years. in 2021 she donated over 500 hours to REACH bookstore. She comes in on weekends, fills in when staff is out, makes book story videos for our YouTube site, sorts and inventories all of our children's books. Puts items for sale on Ebay and donates profits to REACH. Her expertise as a former librarian is invaluable to the REACH bookstore and to our customers and organization. She finds creative ways to donate our children's books. Judy will put together 300-400 books for schools and other non-profits.
Taten spends his time volunteering for Crisis Intervention Shelter Service every year by donating his time and money to raise funds for victims of domestic violence. In 2021 he completed his 3rd year of volunteering. During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Taten sits out in front of a local business and gives away lemonade. He purchases the lemonade and all supplies with money he has earned throughout the year and ensures that everything comes out of his own pocket. He sits outside for 10 hours a day for 12 days straight. He does not keep a single cent raised during this time. He just wants to ensure that every victim of domestic violence has the opportunity to live a violence free life. While most kids are raising funds for themselves or out playing and enjoying the weather, he is working and donating his time and money to assist victims fleeing domestic violence. He is truly the most caring and selfless child. He also volunteers more throughout the year to our shelter, but this is my favorite annual volunteering that he does. Despite terrifying experiences, he still goes out each day to raise these funds.
The Agri-Business Pillar of the Great Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is an incredible group of selfless individuals who are united by their love for or proximity to agriculture. This volunteer group of professionals from across the community meet monthly to promote and advance ag businesses in our area. But beyond that, this group of people show up at community events to serve. Whether setting up and serving free lunch to area farmers as part of Ag Appreciation Day at the Sioux Empire Fair to making sure out-of-state visitors at the Sioux Empire Livestock Show are met with friendly, helpful faces, the Agribusiness group shows up when they are needed. This diverse group of business leaders also help at events like National Farmers Day at the Stockyards Ag Experience barn and have mounted efforts to deliver thank you cookies to area farmers facing poor crop conditions as a simple way to say "we see the hard work you're doing." Being a part of this group has helped me increase my own personal volunteer hours because of what a fine example the group sets.
Barbara Akin and Peter McCarty from RHD (Resources for Human Development) are an amazing team! They come twice a week to the Toy Lending Library of SD and pick up beautiful clean toy boxes and, drive to our partner locations to drop them off. When they get there, they also pick up the returned toy boxes and bring them back to the office, to be cleaned.
Peter was very shy in the beginning and now he is very happy when he is volunteering with us. He learned a lot and each time he shows more responsibility. He loves to play with the light switches and we all know when he is getting to the office because the corridor lights go off. We love it!
Barbara is very kind. She cares about Peter and about teaching him new skills.
We love to have them volunteering with us! Thank you Barbara and Peter!
Sharon has been a volunteer at the Spearfish Salvation Army thrift store for over 7 years. Sharon puts in several hours every week working in the craft and jewelry department. Sharon has made great community connections and has customers that come in and ask just for her.
For this year and the last 20+ years, she has given time, money and service to bettering life for veterans in Rapid City, Custer, Hot Springs, Sturgis and anywhere in the state that she has been asked to assist with things. During the last couple years she has been creative and found ways to get things into the VA Domiciliary in Hot Springs and the State Veterans Home so, although there were restrictions with interaction, the residents would still receive treats, have fun activities, get holiday cards and gifts, meals and so on. She has assisted with several Stand Downs and Boots on the Ground events in Rapid City. She has gone above and beyond to assist with any need a veteran, past or present, or a deployed unit may need. During 2020 and 2021, she helped man several tables in the public just handing out information and fun activities for children to promote patriotism and remind everyone why we have our freedom. She bakes and makes crafts for our hospitalized veterans as she belongs to several veteran organizations. She loves and supports veterans with all her heart.
Ricky Anderberg is known as the "jack of all trades" or the "go to gal" at Active Generations. She has been volunteering on a daily basis (including Saturdays) since 2013. For the Adult Day program, Ricky coordinates a sing-a-long each week for participants. She loves music, and her passion is shared with so many at Day Break, we so greatly appreciate her willingness to bring people together through this activity. For the Activity program, she helps welcome people into the building, she helps with filing and all the computer programs. She helps run activities and makes sure volunteers and staff are updated on all programs. For the Nutrition program, she packs meals, delivers multiple routes a week and helps with projects. She volunteers to help wherever she is needed and always does it with a smile. In the main office, she works quietly behind the scenes taking note of what is needed from filling the copier with paper to watering the plants. You cannot slow Ricky down she is a go-getter! Ricky is a person that you can count on when you need it!
In October of 2021, the Augustana SALT group came to the Butterfly House & Aquarium to assist with several tasks, outdoor and indoor, at the facility. They assisted in preparing all of our outdoor gardens for the winter, cleaning up and organizing outdoor storage spaces, picking up trash and debris from around the facility, and other various indoor projects. The SALT students were enthusiastic, intuitive, ready to work, and fun to be around. This team helped accomplish, in one afternoon, projects that would have taken the staff multiple weeks to complete. The Butterfly House & Aquarium relies on volunteer groups, like SALT, to keep the building and its surrounding grounds looking top-notch. SALT assisted the Butterfly House & Aquarium in big ways that ultimately shed light on the mission of "inspiring conservation of sea, sky, and land." Volunteer groups like SALT are real-time and hands-on supporters of conservation and stewardship efforts right in our park and around the Butterfly House & Aquarium property. Thank you, SALT! We look forward to continued partnerships with your team.
The Augustana Spirit Squad has been outstanding Volunteer Instructors in support of the Move To Heal SD Healing Arts Programs. This group has brought big energy, smiles and joy through dance and cheer to afterschool programs in our community impact dozens of children and family members in underserved neighborhoods through the performing arts. We are honored to recognize and celebrate the Augustana Spirit Squad in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
The Balleraena Youth Dance Dance Team has been outstanding Volunteer Performing Artists in support of the Move To Heal SD Healing Arts Programs. This group has brought big energy, smiles and entertainment for the pure joy of it to afterschool programs in our community impact dozens of children and family members in underserved neighborhoods through the performing arts. We are honored to recognize and celebrate the Balleraena Youth Dance Team in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
BankWest has volunteered every year at the Goodwill Children's Shoe & Mitten Party, and we are so thankful. BankWest assists children from station to station and helps the children try on their shoes to make sure they have a good fit. They are always very kind and caring to the children, and help make sure it's a fun experience for the children.
Mary Kay helps us in our office at the Catholic Community Foundation with a wide variety of tasks. She is usually assisting with some tedious tasks like preparing mailings, sorting greeting cards or t-shirts, tracking raffle ticket sales, etc. Not usually things that people get very excited doing, but she's always so gracious and happy to help! One time in particular, it was crunch time before a large event and at 1 pm, I realized there just weren't enough hours in the day to complete my to do list for the event. I called Mary Kay and she was at our office within the hour and stayed until everything was ready! She's someone we can count on and truly enjoy having around! We are so grateful for her!
Nicole Barker is always willing to jump in and help with any of the programs and special events offered by Siouxland Heritage Museums. Through her efforts, people learn about and connect with the past, as local history is brought off the pages and out of the museums. She has led hundreds of people through cemeteries and fictional murder scenes, wrangled teenagers at National History Day, and fought the humidity of summer and the cold of winter to manage lines of people waiting for horse-drawn wagon rides at open houses. When there is an event that needs volunteers, Nicole goes above and beyond, offering to help whenever her schedule allows. In fact, some of the only times she says no to museum events are when they conflict with one of her other volunteer commitments, such as her weekly service at the Sanford Rehabilitation Unit. No matter what she is doing, Nicole is always cheerful and happy to help. In addition to her dedication, dependability, and hard work, her positive attitude is infectious, making museum events even more fun for staff and guests alike.
Carol really enjoys helping our RC residents who want to learn/improve their English because she believes it helps them to become more a part of the community when they can communicate, find better work, or help their children.
Carol has been helping her student with the Literacy Council for several years, she is super committed and always wants to jump whenever special needs arise whether it's to write student accomplishment report or to be interviewed to promote our literacy program. Carol also encourages her daughter Patricia to volunteer for the Council. Patricia has also become a dedicated tutor. We appreciate you!
Black Hills Energy has been a supporter of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for many years. During the 21-22 school year, Black Hills Energy has 23 volunteers impacting 634 Rapid City students, teaching 27 classes across the community. Black Hills Energy has long supported JA’s traditional and Ethics program over the years ensuring students understand what Ethics is, the importance of making good choices and talking about money, careers, and business ownership. Currently, Black Hills Energy is represented on the local JA board (Stacey Denke), ensuring that funding, volunteer recruitment and resources are available to the schools and students served by JA Rapid City. Black Hills Energy encourages employees to give their time and knowledge to help shape and inspire our future leaders. Their commitment to Junior Achievement has impacted and empowered young people to plan for and achieve career and economic success.
Black Hills Energy’s South Dakota Ambassadors are a lean group of roughly 20 employees with hearts for service. Representing diverse departments, they support projects year-round that positively impact our neighbors.
Collectively, they reported 800+ volunteer hours during 2021, including:
• January: Tough Enough to Wear Pink sales
• February: Salvation Army - Walk for Warmth; KSLT Golden Valentines
• April: YFS Kids Fair, Planting Trees - Arbor Day; Trash Pick-up - Earth Day
• May: Collection Drives for Dress for Success & AAUW Books
• June: Habitat for Humanity Build Day
• July: Neutrino Days (Lead); Front Porch Coalition
• August: School Supply Drive
• September: United Way campaign (largest campaign in area), WAVI’s Walk a Mile; Feeding South Dakota Day of Hunger
• October: Raw Couture
• November: Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Festival of Lights float building
• December: Storybook Island Night in Lights, Rush Gives Back Stuffed Animal Deliveries
In addition to coordinating volunteer efforts and rolling up their sleeves, Ambassadors recruit their teammates, thereby encouraging volunteerism, and represent Black Hills Energy at key community events. Once an Ambassador, always an Ambassador. After their term, many “graduate” into formal service on boards and committees in the community.
Millie has volunteered at Sanford Health for 18.5 years, and she has shared 2,200 hours of her time in Volunteer service. Millie has been a volunteer in numerous locations around the hospital, but every single one of her roles has included helping others. This past year, Millie has attended her regular volunteer position as a Hostess at our VanDemark building. She helps visitors find their way and answers their questions. It can be stressful to have a medical condition and then be confused about where to go, and Millie helps to ease the anxious feelings of these patients. In addition to her regular role, Millie has helped in other ways that have been very meaningful. She helped assemble COVID test kits, directed guests at our Vaccine clinics, and recruited other people to volunteer their time as well! Helping in this way has been so important, especially over this past year of a global pandemic. Above all, Millie is compassionate, kind, and dedicated to helping others. She is self-less and giving, and we are proud to call her a Sanford Volunteer!
Loren's volunteering is one of those most magical things to witness. He started as a Board Member for our organization, Boy's and Girl's Clubs of the Sioux Empire, and shortly after began volunteering with us. Loren initially began volunteering with our elementary aged kids and when he discovered that was not the best fit, offered to try volunteering with our smallest members, the infants. It was a match made in heaven and there has been no looking back. Loren visits our infants each week for a few hours at a time. He loves to talk, hold, snuggle and feed them. They just love Loren! He was initially cautious about working with the babies, but it has been a PERFECT fit. Our teachers love to have Loren's help and enjoy his conversation and visits too.
Dianne volunteers at Avera McKennan Hospital. She has volunteered here since 2003 she has accumulated 2600 volunteer hours. She has volunteered in many different areas over the years and is currently a Patient Escort. She shows kindness and compassion as she navigates our patients and their families through our hallways. She is quick to strike up a welcoming conversation, making our guests feel welcomed. Dianne is trained in multiple areas and is very willing to help when needed in those areas. Dianne is a "go to" person for her peers and many staff. She brings a great attitude and warm smile (even under the mask) to every encounter she has. Her caring attitude carries over to the team she volunteers with. Dianne is very giving of her time and talents. Besides volunteering at Avera, Dianne volunteers for Meals on Wheels. She truly is a person to look to as an example of an exceptional volunteer.
Sarah Bruxvoort has served as a Lead Volunteer Instructor at statewide conferences on behalf of Move To Heal South Dakota and played a large role in the development of our first-year event, Experience Healing Arts 2021. Through her willingness to give back through the healing arts, passion for supporting underserved communities, and joy for movement and mindfulness, our community and state has been greatly impacted through our mission. We are honored to recognize and celebrate Sarah Bruxvoort in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
Jessica is one of the main organizers of the "Soup for a Cause" event that happens each year in Rapid City. This event helps to raise funds for Rapid City Area Services such as Mommy’s Closet and the Veterans Outreach Center to name just a few. This is just one of the countless things that Jessica volunteers for within the Black Hill and surrounding communities. She is a selfless person who truly cares about her fellow human.
Joe is constantly looking for ways to help his local community. He has been the lead point of contact for numerous Black Hill blood drives throughout the years saving countless lives. Additionally, he is always helping our youth weather it is coaching softball or supporting a variety of Black Hills Special Olympic events. He is a treasure to our community.
Robert has been volunteering at the HOPE Center since 2014. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Robert saw the need at the HOPE Center for additional help and he committed to coming all day, every day to pass out food to our guests. Since that time, Robert has continued to come to the HOPE Center almost every day to assist in meeting the needs. Robert is highly respected by our guests. When anyone is asked what they love most about Robert, the answer is almost always, "his laugh." Robert has such a joyful, robust and contagious laugh. He has a great sense of humor and calm temperament. He makes everyone at the HOPE Center feel at ease and comfortable. He is a man of few words, but when they come out people generally pay close attention. We greatly appreciate the countless hours that Robert has so generously given to the HOPE Center and those we serve.
One of our constant and consistent supporters, Celebrate Life Group, serves two to three times a month at the St. Francis House. Comprised of a few families Celebrate serves feature love, laughter and faith. The group features some of our youngest volunteers serving now at 3 & 4 years old, but children of all age ranges come to volunteer with the Celebrate group, fostering a new generation of volunteers.
The members of Celebrate truly love to serve. Their gentle humbleness, compassionate service, and attention to our guests puts them at the top of our guest's favorite volunteers list.
We hold 3-4 Community Connect events including our Homeless Connect event each year supported by Black Hills Special Services Cooperative and the Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition. We have an average of 20+ community agencies and a regifting store that are there for individuals and families - 1,000 participants. The students help set up, work the regifting store by restocking throughout the event and helping participants find things for their families, and take down. We hold 4 family engagement events per school in Rapid City and the students help run the stations during these events. We could not do these important events without the help of this group. They are hard-working and they bring a fun energy to each event. They volunteer at many more community events which I am not a part of. These young people are so giving of their time.
Taytum is not only on the Youth Advisory Board, but he has also stepped up to be a co-facilitator while working on the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project community planning. He has been showing up consistently for the weekly TA calls as well as attending 3 meetings a month to advocate for the homeless youth in our community. The work, time, and expertise that Taytum gives so freely is a huge reason why South Dakota was awarded almost 3 million dollars to help end youth homelessness in our state. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing personal stories of your life to better the community for others.
Holly puts in at least 30 volunteer hours a week. She runs the clothing closet for East River Foster Parent Network. She makes sure that the kids coming into care get a welcome bag and clothing for at least a week. She is a fabulous volunteer and spends countless hours making sure Foster families and kids in care have the items they need. She runs other programs like Christmas gift bags, family fun days, welcome bags and more. The closet serves over 600 kids a year and they handed out 550 Christmas gift bags to children.
Another nominator states:
Holly started volunteering within the organization around 5 years ago. When she started the organization was very small, serving very few foster families in the Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas. She came with big dreams and even bigger ideas of how we as an organization could grow and serve more children in foster care and the families that are caring for them. Throughout the last 5 years Holly has helped our organization grow at an expediential rate (increasing our children served by 500% in just the last year). She has made dreams a reality providing 30-50 hours to the organization every week. She has helped spread the word in creative ways so people in our community know who we are and what we do. When she started with us, we were providing clothes, shoes, beds, and scholarships to families. Now we are in a space at least 5x bigger than where we started, we are providing family fun events, Christmas gift giveaways, books, new socks, underwear, and pajamas, welcome bags, teen items, and have grown our board and volunteer base more than we ever imagined. Holly has been a pure gift from God for us, she deserves this.
Kay has volunteered in the Sotomayor Library for the last few years and we are so grateful for her and all she does! She assists weekly with a variety of tasks; shelving books, preparing new books for circulation, assisting with Book Battles, and any other tasks that help the Library staff and ultimately the 650 students at our school. She is always eager to help in whatever capacity and her positive attitude is infectious! Kay is a retired Augustana Librarian who has a huge heart for Libraries, reading, and people. We are so thankful for her and everything she does to help our Sotomayor Library!
Sadie Colbeck is a natural born leader and dedicates her time and talents to our community in a variety of ways. She was one of the initial leaders of Youth Voices in Prevention. She volunteered several hours in violence prevention through advocacy of bystander intervention and positive relationship building. She provided training to both small groups and large groups of community members with an overall support impact of over 150 community members.
She continued her leadership development and community engagement through an investment of time in the Rapid City Youth City Council. She currently serves as the Council Chairperson where she oversees the monthly meetings, the youth-led committee work, and the ongoing workgroup efforts to maintain sustainability. She has also actively engaged in the t-shirt folding and Rush Chuck – a – Puck projects with the Monument Health “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” campaign.
Sadie is also invested in her school community, including the Stevens Drama Club. Through these efforts, she invests in the well being of the Stevens High School theatre team. She inspires others to be good team members and helps coordinate various productions throughout the school year.
Each Monday and Wednesday for the last 2.5 years students from the Sioux Falls School District Community Campus have volunteered at REACH Literacy. Typically 2-3 students come on Monday and a different group on Wednesday. The students help with book recycling, they tear down and throw boxes into recycling, they haul and lift boxes and books for staff. They clean, vacuum, throw out garbage and typically do jobs that we might not love. They are always cheerful, always happy and love reading and books. We enjoy having the students come from August to May. We definitely miss them in the summer.
Pictured are Alana, Nathan and Beverly presenting REACH with donations raised by their teachers!
Thank you, Community Campus for your supporting literacy!"
For the past year, both church leaders Jesse Hurkes and Travis Trupe have been bringing their youth groups down to Union Gospel Mission Sioux Falls to serve in several departments including: Men's Center Meal Service, Chapel, Women's Center, Thrift Store, Administrative Office, Art Minsitry, Outreach and the Distribution Center. We are so blessed by their servant hearts to serve our Sioux Falls community with joy and positive attitudes. Their investment to our downtown homeless community has made such a difference and our staff truly appreciates and looks forward to every time they come back to serve at UGM.
Lisa Conlin has been an active volunteer in many roles since the inception of Move To Heal South Dakota in December 2019. Over the last year, Lisa has been an outstanding volunteer Board member, led several healing arts classes, assisted at our Experience Healing Arts event in August, helped to launch and lead choreography for our adult and youth Move To Heal South Dakota Dance Collective. Through her dedicated volunteer efforts, arts expertise and creative energy, she had made a difference in our community by providing hope, joy and healing through dance, yoga and performing arts in underserved neighborhoods and community settings. We are honored to recognize and celebrate Lisa Conlin in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
Sunnycrest Retirement Village has always been a place of community and rooted in caring for each other.
The spirit of Sunnycrest shone its brightest during what could have been the 250+ senior residents’ most difficult time. The 23 resident members of the COVID Support Volunteer Group were a beacon of light; they delivered meals to apartments, made face masks with their own or donated supplies so that every resident had 2 face masks when none were available to purchase. They formed a phone tree and checked on their neighbors daily. Some even became “TV Stars” appearing live with the Exercise Class and Daily Bible Devotional on our in-house communication channel! This team made sure their neighbors knew they were not alone and worked to make life easier for residents.
Michael Schweitzer, who is representing each of the volunteers’ beautiful SPIRITS said the GRATITUDE expressed by fellow neighbors changed life for the better throughout Sunnycrest.
The people who stepped up to support others during COVID will forever be remembered by those they touched. We at Sunnycrest are so incredibly proud to honor the selflessness and humanity of these individuals will forever be remembered by Sunnycrest, residents and their families.
She is the organizer for Pennington County toys for tots. She volunteers a lot of her time making this program great. I know she pours her heart into this and works very hard for this organization. She is so passionate about doing this; I personally saw just how much she cares watching her brainstorm different ideas to so everything in her power to make sure no child goes without.
Cindy is a Lay Leader at Church on the Street. She has served as the vital volunteer for everything from ministry on the street, introducing people and making connections, handing out sandwiches, making health kits, and organizing others to join in volunteering. You'll find Cindy leading other volunteers at Laundry with Love twice a month, where a meal, free underwear, prayer, and conversation are plentiful. Her infectious passion for helping people extends to all people, no matter what. Cindy has volunteered hundreds of hours over the years to make sure people have their physical needs met and have an opportunity to know of God's love for them.
Lisa Dewes has volunteered with Levitt at the Falls since 2019. During the 2021 Season, she helped with 23 of our 38 concerts! Lisa always greeted our guests with a warm smile and calm demeanor. When she was finished greeting, she helped organize tear-down procedures at our Information and merchandise tent. If you have ever watched the whirling army of volunteers working to make the tents, tables, chairs and storage bins disappear during tear down on a concert night, you can appreciate Lisa’s willingness to direct traffic. Knowing Lisa was there to help guide our guests and other volunteers helped our entire team continue to work toward our mission of building community through music. Thanks, Lisa!
For the past 5 months, Rachel has volunteered for Women's Center and Community Outreach projects at Union Gospel Mission Sioux Falls, going above and beyond. Between a church fundraiser, the UGM donor platform and a Go Fund Me campaign, over $2,000 was raised towards the new Women's Center commercial kitchen. This campaign is crucial in providing kitchen space and service for the women's center guests. Rachel spent time restoring each piece including: sanding, priming, & painting a big unfinished double oven cabinet & switching out hardware to go more with the aesthetic of the place. See project details here: http://ow.ly/cQ4I50I2njS.
In addition, Rachel also spent over 30-40 hours completing a full wall butterfly mural with her daughter for the Domestic Violence department. See lapse videos - http://ow.ly/B0nl50I2pnk.
It's because of volunteers like Rachel that we continue to shine bright and fulfill our mission of "Caring for the needs of the community with compassion while sharing the hope of Jesus Christ."
Sister Pam Donelan was the first resident volunteer I met upon employment at Dow Rummel Village. She was in my office on my first day. We reacquainted ourselves with each other as we had both been volunteers at Aberdeen Community Theatre in Aberdeen, SD. She is of Irish heritage and so we started out her volunteer service with the community by planning a St. Patrick's Day party for the Independent Living Residents. Pam loves helping with parties and events for visitors to the community. She is a hospitable and welcoming presence. Pam checks in weekly to find out what we may need in the way of volunteer assistance for activities that week. She is a volunteer in the Health Care Center for our Catholic residents. She says the rosary with them a twice a month and recently was asked to come to a Catholic resident that was actively dying. The daughter who was sitting with her parent asked if Sister Pam could come and say the rosary with her and when I called to ask, she was happy to provide that comfort for the family. Pam is a positive thinking and upbeat personality in our community.
Jamie Dolezal has been an avid participant in the fostering system for over 15 years. This past year she has been in care of her 30th child. Her heart does not know any different. She welcomes children into her home without hesitation whether it be for a few nights or multiple years ... and most of the time it's an unknown amount of time she is committing to. It has gone without acknowledgment and it needs to be celebrated.
Leah has been assigned to her CASA kiddos for three and a half years. Leah has continued to go above and beyond for these kids year after year but especially recently. Just shy of a year ago, Leah's two CASA kids were moved to a placement almost three hours away. Nearly every single month since then, Leah has driven to their placement to visit the kids to spend special time together and check in on them. A CASA is a volunteer and being so, they are not reimbursed for expenses. This has not stopped Leah from maintaining a relationship with the kids through putting in the time and her personal resources to visit them. All the while working and being in school both at full-time status. Leah is an exemplary volunteer - caring, involved, consistent and so much more. No matter how many people have come into these kiddos lives since being placed in State's custody four years ago, Leah has been their one constant through it all. And that impact in a child's life is immeasurable.
Frank and Veronica are exemplary volunteers! Since becoming CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to four siblings, they have shown how much they are truly invested in their role by taking on every twist and turn that heads their way. They strive to provide their CASA kids with care, compassion, and continuity as they navigate the circumstances they are in. Frank and Veronica’s dedication shines through every time they drive out of town for weekly visitation with the children, and as they make it a point to spend that time in a meaningful way laying a foundation for connection in the children’s lives. Their initiative to learn more about life circumstances and broaden their perspective to better themselves for, not only their CASA kids, but their community as well is one we should all strive for. There is no doubt Frank and Veronica are deserving of such an award. They are truly exceptional volunteers and CASA is incredibly lucky to have them as volunteer advocates!
The Volunteer Tax Preparers complete free tax preparation for all of the Active Duty, DOD Civilians and Military Retirees in the Black Hills area. Our volunteers consist of current active duty, prior active duty and civilians that come together to work hard in assisting clients every year. Working out of Ellsworth AFB, the tax volunteers complete intensive tax law training and tax return preparation training to get ready for the hundreds of clients seen within an 11 week period. Our amazing preparers take time out of their busy work schedules to assist in saving clients expensive preparation fees and work very hard to get them as much back in federal and state refunds.
At the Eugene Field A+ Elementary School, the teachers and staff go beyond telling the students about supporting the community with volunteering. For example, they have Multiple Intelligences (MI) Days where they invite people and organizations from the community to help students explore their multiple intelligences and learn about the needs and how everyone can make a difference. Some of their themes for MI day were Giving Back and Change Makers.
The school also has a great team of teachers that volunteer after school and on weekends for more than three months to create a beautiful musical. Every year they work hard, together with parents and other family members to make costumes, the set and everything else they need for the play. The musical gives the students opportunities to practice working as a team, practice being in front of people and so much more.
Eugene Field A+ teachers and staff teaches students by showing them how to make a difference.
Derby and Dickens are Therapy Dogs who volunteered at facilities in 2021 including Avera McKennan, Dougherty Hospice, Sanford Health, Ava's House Hospice, Day Break Adult Services, and Caille Library for Tail Waggin' Tutors. Weekly afternoon visits to Day Break Services were especially fun for clients who learned to "shake paws" with Derby. Rehab Units in both hospitals looked forward to weekly therapy dog visits as they put a smile on all healthcare workers' faces as well as the patients. After being unable to volunteer in 2020 due to COVID many feared that Dickens would "forget" some of those he had visited for many years. That wasn't the case; all were remembered with extra enthusiasm during those first back to volunteer meetings in 2021. Emergency department visits were announced exuberantly with "the therapy dogs are here!" and "thank you so much for coming, you made my day!" Derby completed his 50th visit in four months after his certification in September. Derby and Dickens had their last therapy dog visits on December 9th as both were hit by a car on December 13th, dying instantly. Community response has been overwhelming with support and memorials. It is heartwarming to know their service will be long remembered.
Family Fare (Spartan Nash) is a corporate business that goes above and beyond for The Salvation Army. They have allowed us to use their empty building on Omaha St for the last several years during Christmas for our Christmas warehouse. They let us use it from November 1st until Dec. 25th for no charge. We use the building to store all the Angel Tree toys and Christmas food boxes. Their kindness has helped us make Christmas special to several children in the community.
Alicia took on a case that was very challenging. Not only was the child a victim of abuse and neglect but, she was also a child living in a silent world. She was deaf.
In the child’s young life, she had never experienced a normal, stable and loving home. It was a home filled with domestic violence and, at times, the violence carried over to the children in the home. It was very frightening to experience what was happening in the home but, not being able to have a dialog to accompany the visual, was exceptionally traumatic for this seven-year-old little girl.
Alicia worked with this little girl as she was placed in two ASL foster homes and together, they formed a way of corresponding even if that meant relying on an interpreter to help. Meetings were held with professionals, trained in the world of helping those with hearing loss and Alicia took their insight and knowledge when making a recommendation for the best placement of the child.
Alicia took it upon herself to enroll in ASL classes. This skill will make all the difference in being able to advocate for children who may also live in a silent world!
Celeste has been a faithful volunteer at Alpha Center since 2013. She has volunteered nearly 3,000 hours in several capacities. Celeste is a registered nurse and volunteers to teach at Alpha Center’s Life Skills Class three times a year. She shares with clients about caring for their baby and ways to avoid sudden infant death syndrome. She has also volunteered at several Alpha Center events, including the annual fundraising dinner each spring and the Move for Life each fall. Celeste also brings her husband with her to volunteer at some of those events.
The past six years, Celeste has also volunteered as one of Alpha Center’s hotline advocates and is trained to answer phone lines on evenings, weekends and holidays. When volunteering in this capacity, she receives calls from clients needing immediate assistance, sometimes in the middle of the night. She graciously answers every call to help meet the needs of each caller she interacts with. Celeste’s willingness to be a hotline volunteer allows clients the ability to talk to a real person and get immediate answers any day, any time. Celeste is a thoughtful, knowledgeable and kind individual, and we are grateful to have her on our team.
The First National Bank in Sioux Falls is a phenomenal community partner. They have always been about giving back which is evident by the many organizations they support with funding every year. It is also evident by their belief in giving employees time to volunteer. SF CASA has benefited immensely over the years by this. We have had volunteer advocates who work for FNBSF. They are committed and they work hard to be that voice for abused and neglected children. We have also been fortunate to have Board members from FNBSF who showed up to events. participated in committees and were active at Board meetings. Our organization benefits greatly from the gift of time shared by these dedicated individuals. Our organization also receives funding annually from FNBSF which is used to support our volunteers during our appreciation event. FNBSF's belief in giving back extends far beyond SF CASA. They have a Kindness First event, they supporting Feeding South Dakota, have a scholarship fund, support local schools, support the Sioux Empire United Way, and bring awareness to issues like heart disease and diversity. They do it all with humor and compassion. We are so proud to have FNBSF be a part of SF CASA and our communities.
Jill Fries has been an integral part of our Healing Arts Programming at Move To Heal South Dakota through her yoga and mindfulness instruction. Her dedication to serve alongside our partnerships with active aging organizations has been key to our success in providing hope, joy and healing to dozens of adults in the community. Jill has gracefully served our mission through weekly community classes and pop-up events. We are honored to recognize and celebrate Jill Fries in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
Joe works with our guests at Tallgrass Recovery & Sober Living Home to help them find a life in recovery. He does this by sharing his personal experience and connecting by finding the common ground. He is ALWAYS willing to meet with our guests, listening to them, counseling them, sharing with them. They always begin to trust him and open up. Sharing their vulnerabilities and fears. He has such a way of helping them open up, it's amazing to watch. I know that if I call Joe, he will come. He is committed to our program, and to to the message of the 12 steps. He lives in Brookings, so regardless of rain, snow or sun he will drive down.
Red has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls since 2005! Almost every single Saturday you will find Red at our ReStore helping customers unload donations, giving advice on someone picking out a backsplash, or providing a joke or two with staff! He also always has a good story or two to share.
Red usually volunteers with his daughter and grandson. We enjoy having their family with us on Saturday mornings.
Without volunteers like Red we would not be able to build homes, communities and hope! We appreciate the hundreds of hours Red has given to our organization.
Thank you Red for all you do for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls!
I am nominating my Mom. She volunteers over 30 hours a week at the Love Inc. Rise furniture ministry. She has always loved to decorate and mentor women. This volunteer ministry allows her to do both. People within the community donate furniture that the Rise ministry then repurposes and redesigns alongside people within the community who are receiving help from Love Inc. As part of the ministry when someone needs furniture or help they must volunteer in order to receive these items. When they volunteer they work alongside people like my Mom who can pray with them and share life and encouragement with them. My Mom also users her design skills to set up the show room where they then sell these items to the public. The store has been extremely successful and all money made is then put back into the ministry/non profit. The picture is of my Mom (on the right) and another volunteer.
Miss Irina provides community outreach and volunteer opportunities to youth from different cultures in the Sioux Falls area. Through her organization, Translators of Cultures, she partners with the Sioux Falls school District and Lutheran Social Services; offering young people leadership opportunities, and offering training and workshops on leadership, inclusiveness and cultural awareness.
During the last 2 and a half years (during the pandemic), her organization, Translators of Cultures, produced four documentary films, which focused on community, cultures, and strengthening the confidence of New Americans.
Joel Greene, also known as Mr. Joel to our students, volunteered in the Sioux Falls School District for over 15 years. Joel listens to students read, taught / intervened on comprehension, and decoding strategies and truly impacted the lives of countless children academically and socially giving the confidence and support. Students grew immensely as a direct result of his one-on-one weekly sessions.
Joel has been dedicated to building relationships with students and they responded with increased motivation and effort. Over the years he has gone out of his way to provide interesting items to the students such as animal pictures, posters, art sets, journals or just a piece of candy or sticker for the efforts they put forth in learning.
Joel helped to raise the confidence level of students and provided written detailed feedback of how each student has worked for him. He completed a detailed record of every session. As an educator that information was essential. He is an inspiration to our students as to how to be a leader and make a difference in the lives of others. He truly is an example of how a volunteer can change a student’s entire life.
Another nominator states:
Joel has been a reading volunteer in my classroom for 17 years. He works one-on-one with students who are struggling with decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension. He works with those students for the year or until a child reaches grade level. Joel establishes relationships with my students, and is very encouraging to them. They love it when it is time to read with Mr. Joel. He not only helps build their reading skills, but he helps build their confidence.
Kinzie was a regular mentor in our 3rd-5th grade classrooms at the Boy's & Girl's Clubs of the Sioux Empire. She would come in for an hour or two once a week and engage our kids in games and sports outside. Sometimes our youth just need an adult who is looking to connect and invest time in their life. Kinzie brought that to our Club with every visit that she had. Children really enjoy their time with her!
For the past seven years, Kathy Hammond, LifeScape Ambassador Volunteer, has been a passionate and dedicated advocate enhancing the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Kathy’s LifeScape journey begins with her love for her nephew and blooms into impacting the lives of a thousand+ people supported by LifeScape. Shortly after joining the Ambassador group, Kathy stepped into the chair role for The Mall Walk, one of the most significant LifeScape fundraising events. Proceeds from this event improve funding gaps that support positive outcomes for all LifeScape services. Kathy has been the Mall Walk Organizer for the past six years, with two years reinventing it into a virtual event due to the pandemic. Facilitating a large-scale event in any ‘normal’ year takes 6-9months of planning, fundraising, and execution. Planning during the pandemic demonstrated Kathy’s integrity, commitment, genuine compassion, unique creativity, remarkable work ethic, positive attitude, and focused leadership to succeed under significant challenges. In addition to the Ambassadors group, Kathy volunteers in many other capacities such as LifeScape’s Center for the Arts theatrical productions, planting flowers, Easter basket projects, Halloween projects, social media promotions of other LifeScape Foundation events, and faithfully attends and volunteers at LifeScape events.
Dan is a valued volunteer at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House. Our staff and guests refer to him as "Dan the man." He volunteers during our check-in process, which can be a busy, sometimes stressful, time if guests are having some difficult behaviors. Check-in volunteers help staff meet guest needs by handing out sheets and hygiene items and answering questions. Having these volunteers help staff immensely, and they also help show guests that people do care about them.
From two of our check-in staff, who work with him weekly:
"Dan for sure goes the extra mile! He puts his heart into the guest needs. He sometimes goes out of his way to drop off dinner for the staff."
"He has a lot of patience. He is always so kind and talkative to the guests, even when they are not very welcoming. I have never seen him get frustrated or upset toward any of the guests. I think he does an excellent job as a volunteer and I have a lot of respect for him."
Korie and her husband Chad have been volunteer mentors with The Community Outreach for many years. They have walked alongside different families, teaching budgeting and other money management tools, while also providing support and accountability for the family and the goals they set. Chad and Korie were also willing to share their mentoring experience with one of The Community Outreach’s church partners.
They have also volunteered numerous hours with the Sharing Christmas program, either by sponsoring families or by taking time to price countless toys for the Christmas Store so that families would be able to affordably purchase gifts to give their children for Christmas.
Lastly, they volunteer their time to make cupcakes, cakes, or cookie cakes for our program participants when it is their child's birthday.
Chad and Korie have impacted the lives of many individuals and their children, whether it be a long-term commitment with mentoring, or by making tasty birthday treats to make a child's birthday special. The Community Outreach is grateful that Korie and Chad generously volunteer in our ministries to bring hope to many families in the Sioux Falls Community.
Sherry came to VOA with a servant heart and willing hands without preconceived notions of how she could best help. As we outlined the volunteer roles available, she answered yes to every one. No matter the task, she does it with excellence and compassion. Her willingness to take on even the most routine tasks has allowed our organization to thrive in the quality of our customer service. Whether she is ensuring that every food bag is stocked, diapers are packaged, or closet organized, she does it with excellence and compassion. Everything she touches is left better than before, from her keen organization and attention to detail. Even when not asked, she will see a need and fill it. All of this on a nurse's demanding schedule, often volunteering in the mornings after a long overnight shift. We are truly blessed that she chose VOA to bless with her time and talents.
John & Rosemary Hefner have been volunteering for the Active Generations nutrition program three days a week since 2016. They volunteer as host/hostess in the dining room, which involves table set up/tear down, table clean up, carrying trays for individuals with mobility issues and having a friendly face to greet our congregate diners over the busy lunch hour.
John & Rosemary also assist with other activities as needed such as putting together goody bags for our Activity Department and stuffing monthly donation invoices for the Meals on Wheels program.
We also have been short handed at our front desk and Rosemary is more than happy to volunteer to work the desk.
Everyone is always appreciative when Rosemary and John help them through the dining line and carry their trays, they are always laughing and smiling with the diners. They are also a fun pair to be around when they are stuffing goody bags or envelopes! Rosemary has stated, after they finish their volunteer shift that they always leave with a feeling of happiness.
We estimate since 2016, they have dedicated over 1800 hours to Active Generations!
Sherry has been a volunteer at our Rapid City Salvation Army Thrift Store for over 7 years. Sherry puts in between 60 and 70 hours a month. She loves working in the bric-a-brac area and is always happy to help wherever needed. Sherry, otherwise known as Buster, is a dedicated volunteer.
Helpline RSVP volunteers assists local organizations by utilizing their talents, expertise, and life-long experiences to address critical community needs. There are over 70 active Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) members that participate in volunteer activities such as youth mentoring, food distribution, food delivery, and transportation.
Nancy Hemming is the type of person every community needs. Service is a huge priority in her life and she tries to spread the joy to others by encouraging them to serve too. She shares volunteer opportunities with her friends and church group weekly. This past year, Nancy probably called and talked to every nonprofit in the Black Hills in an effort to find service opportunities. Feeding South Dakota, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Children’s Home, and Mommy’s Closet are just a few of the places she has volunteered. She also worked with every local food pantry, personally visiting them to find out their needs. She then coordinated huge truckloads of food to these pantries and spent hours coordinating volunteers to sort their orders. She didn’t stop there. Later, she helped unload the food at each pantry and then called them again later to make sure they got what they needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if a day goes by where Nancy isn’t out serving somewhere. She’s just that kind of person. I do have to say, it’s hard to recognize Nancy without mentioning her husband Richard. He has been by her side helping her plan and organize too. They’re quite the pair! Rapid City is lucky to have them.
Corbin Hirsch appeared with his dad, one of our Levitt sound and light production team members, last summer. He walked right up to us during our concert set-up and asked how he could help. From that day on, Corbin was a consistent and engaged volunteer teammate on the Levitt lawn. If something needed to be carried, he carried it. If artist merchandise needed to be sold, he sold it. If a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume needed to be worn to engage other kids, he wore it. Corbin’s willingness to help set up and tear down during and before our concerts was greatly appreciated by the small Levitt team. His ability to assist older volunteers with the technology in our merchandise booth was also invaluable. His desire to draw out kids in our audience to dance and play showed us how to build our community through music one young person at a time.
Betty Hodge represents the spirit of McCrossan 100%. We’d like to think that if our founder, Melinda McCrossan was still alive today she and Betty would most likely be best friends. Both have big hearts for helping our boys and….maybe a little bit of feistiness too!
Betty can be found at the Ranch helping with pretty much every mailing, greeting guests with a warm smile at the visitor center and selling items in the gift shop, wrapping gifts at Christmas and pretty much anything she can help with. Betty has even tried to sell the shirt off her back to raise money for the boys at the Ranch. One guest commented on just how much she liked Betty’s denim jacket and in true Betty style she said, "you can have it for a donation to the boys."
Betty is also a proud member of the McCrossan Auxiliary and a true advocate sharing the news about the good work that is being done here. At 90 years young, Betty is always on the go. We can’t think of anyone more deserving than Betty Hodge to win this award!
Shelly Hoefs has been a Lead Volunteer Instructor since the inception of Move To Heal South Dakota in December 2019. Her dedication to serving our healing arts mission through her yoga and mindfulness instruction in several underserved community settings has allowed us to impact dozens of adults. Shelly's flexibility to instruct virtually and in-person, passion to increase the well-being of others, and willingness to come alongside a budding nonprofit has been greatly appreciated and respected by Move To Heal South Dakota. We are honored to recognize and celebrate Shelly Hoefs in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
Tamie has been running each week with a person supported at Black Hills Works for about 2 years. It is very rare that they are not able to run. The person she supports would not be motivated to run without a partner. When he started running, his goal was to run a half-marathon. He LIVES to run. In the last 2 years this gentleman has run numerous 5K’s, achieved his goal of running a half marathon and did his own 10 mile “fun run,” that Tamie coordinated for him. Along with running, Tamie has supported this person in gaining connections with local groups related to his running and has even helped with local advertising for runs, including the Autism Society of the Black Hills’ Uniquely You 5K and the Turkey Trot.
Tamie has been such a great mentor for him. She always has positive input and is a great influence in his life.
Tamie is a great advocate for the people supported by Black Hills Works and has shown the community that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be active and involved in our community!
TJ Hora has been a Junior Achievement supporter for 20 years and continues to go above and beyond to ensure JA is able to impact students in Sioux Falls. Over the years, TJ has volunteered in 21 JA classrooms, directly helping 547 students grow in their financial decision-making, career awareness, entrepreneurial mindset, and ethical decision-making. TJ has also served as a Regional Champion for more than 10 years, and this year took the leadership role in that group. We have had to consistently pivot our classroom experiences and event plans the past two years, and TJ's advice and leadership have been very appreciated as we've made those decisions.
TJ consistently helps recruit classroom volunteers and event participants and is the first person to sign up to thank our supporters or help at an event, meeting, or community gathering. Recently, TJ has helped JA start a new special event, Great Shots Fore the Kids, which raised more than $56,000 for JA programs in January 2022. This event was TJ’s idea, and he has worked tirelessly to make it a reality.
For all of these reasons and more, we greatly appreciate TJ’s leadership and enthusiasm for Junior Achievement’s mission!
There are very few teachers with the passion and positive energy needed to adopt a school and its entire neighborhood for 25 years.
When Sioux Falls Thrive began researching neighborhoods for its first Kid Link initiative, Kim Horn at Laura B. Anderson Elementary School stood out and stood up. She volunteered to become a critical link between this new project and the children it would most impact. She's a veteran teacher with a quarter-century of experience helping families in need make connections to support services, and making sure kids succeed regardless of their home and family situations.
As Kid Link Riverside grew into a weekly event that welcomes dozens of children and families for food and educational fun, Kim has helped build trusting relationships among families and the visiting volunteers. She's the leader who taught volunteers about the importance of hugs, even in a pandemic. And she makes sure extra food gets into backpacks going home to the neediest of families.
Why does she do it? Kim wrote on Facebook recently: "I LOVE my Tuesday nights. One hour at night to laugh, have fun, get to know families and build relationships. The best." We agree. Kim Horn is the best.
Jean started mid-June of 2021 at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society in the Cat Room. By July 2021, she already was voted to be the Volunteer of the Month. Jean averaged between 60-80 hours a month, and currently has 533 hours on file.
Staff that nominated her to be our volunteer of the year and the Spirit of Volunteerism nominee all had the same thing to say...That Jean is a genuine, friendly, and supportive person that not only takes the time to know each and every single cat, but also takes the time to get to know staff members. Staff all appreciate the time and dedication she has to the cats at SFAHS.
Natalie Hyde volunteered over 100 hours last year for the Salvation Army. She helped almost every day during the Christmas Season. She helped pick up Angel Tree toys, set up toy shop, and any other volunteer opportunities we had. She defiantly made a difference in our organization and community!
Petra-Zlata has been a Volunteer at the Butterfly House & Aquarium since she was 9 years old. Petra-Zlata volunteers with the guest experience by serving as an ambassador in each exhibit area. Petra-Zlata is skilled in hosting interactions at the Stingray Touch Pool, Tidal Touch Pool, and in the Butterfly House conservatory with the butterflies. Petra-Zlata is a friendly face in the facility, demonstrates enthusiasm during her committed time, and has remained dedicated to programming at the Butterfly House & Aquarium through the years. Petra-Zlata sets the bar high when it comes to volunteer dedication. Since 2015, Petra-Zlata has clocked over 350 volunteer hours: that's valued at nearly $4,000 dollars. Way to go, Petra-Zlata! You are a shining example for youth volunteers in your community!
Robert has been a wonderful volunteer at Food to You for many years. However since we've moved outside and switched to a drive thru method, he has really stepped up the last couple years. He has started coming earlier to help assemble the boxes that we load full of groceries for our guests, he makes sure those boxes are sturdy so that when they are full they don't fall apart and spill groceries all over. Robert has been a blessing to so many.
Anytime a Principal needs a spot volunteered for, Tim jumps at the opportunity. He also found out they needed a couch for City of Rapid City for Youth Flag Football and he jumped at the opportunity to do so. He does anything to help anyone especially Rapid City Schools.
Priscilla has made boxes, packed boxes, sorted and labeled food, helped with many mailings and paperwork all to further the mission of Feeding South Dakota and the impact we are able to make serving our neighbors in South Dakota fighting food insecurity. Everyone around Feeding South Dakota LOVES Priscilla! She is such a bright, positive person and always willing to help in any way she can. When asked what her secret to thriving in life was when celebrating her 90th birthday, she said it’s staying active and involved in your community and helping others as much as you can.
Natalie and Erik have volunteered with DakotAbilities since 2017. They have volunteered as a Garden Mentor with our Teaching Garden Program. They have started in 2017 when they helped us build the garden boxes. They fill the dirt and assist with planting the seeds. The come weekly starting in the early spring and continue to help with the garden until the first freeze in the fall. As Garden Mentor's, the relationships they have built with our gardeners over the years is perhaps their most important contribution of all. Besides sharing their green thumb, they help educate us about the needs of the garden and how the harvest is made possible by each person caring for the garden. Natalie and Erik help make people's lives at DakotAbilities meaningful by sharing the joys, wonders and love of gardening!
Katie has been volunteering at Alpha Center for a little over a year as a mentor, a program which is made available to clients at no charge. She has consistently met with a few young moms who desire to have one-on-one conversations about a variety of parenting topics as they raise their children. Her years of experience as a mother and childcare provider have equipped her with a vast amount of insight and knowledge that she can share with the clients she mentors. Her calm, friendly demeanor allows her to be a safe and approachable source for these young moms, and they have appreciated the time they’ve been able to spend with her as a mentor.
Katie has also volunteered at Alpha Center events and helped with several clerical projects throughout the past year. Alpha Center’s staff are grateful that Katie has chosen to offer her time and talents to our team, and both clients and staff appreciate her desire to come alongside young mothers to provide education and support as they raise their children.
Paulette Keller is one of the most humble individuals that volunteers at the Butterfly House & Aquarium. Since 2009, Paulette has dedicated her horticulture skills to the beautification of the Butterfly Conservatory at the facility. While mostly behind the scenes, Paulette helps the facility thrive through her intentional care and eye for detail. With the many live plants in the conservatory, it takes 24/7 hands-on work to keep up with the plants' demands. You can find Paulette quietly deadheading flowers, picking up fallen leaves, and carefully working around the butterflies, quail, and turtles. Paulette volunteers for just an hour every week, but her time is so valuable. Paulette has dedicated over 350 hours of volunteer service through the years. Way to go, Paulette! We are so grateful for you!
Kiran’s energy and bubbly personality impacts those around her. She is sure to speak her truth and advocate for fairness and equity for others around her. Kiran keeps herself extremely busy in service to her school and community. She provides leadership in various theatre productions and student groups at Central High School. She is sure to engage others in whatever project is going on and digs in to get things done when she sees a need.
Kiran helped coordinate Secret Garden Prom at Cave Collective. She inspired a team of young people to plan entertainment, activities, food, and fundraising for the event. The event was a success and appreciated by many. She serves as a board member and mental health advocate at the Cave. Kiran provided insight at a Statewide Mental Healthcare conference last year. She inspired adults around her to listen more and do better in services for young people.
Kiran also serves on the Youth City Council as Vice Chair and has also been involved in committee work that focuses on Environment, Mental Health, and Unity/Equity committee work. She is also open to any group volunteer project, especially when it is working with children or minority groups.
Difference-maker. Leader. Life-changer.
We are honored to nominate Jennifer Kirby for the Helpline Center’s Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Without praise or recognition, Jennifer dedicates countless hours to helping people – often those who are poor, underserved and most vulnerable.
Life has not always been easy for Jennifer; however, through her own challenges as a child and young adult, a passion for helping others developed. Jennifer learned that we all have the right to have a decent livelihood, and at the same time, a right to contribute to society.
This purpose for helping others has come around to bless our community. This spring, two dreams will be realized because of Jennifer’s leadership:
1) Kirby Place – a lodging facility that thousands of patients and families will utilize while receiving lifesaving care; and
2) The Helmsley Behavioral Health Center – a beacon of hope for children, adults and families experiencing behavioral health challenges.
Jennifer’s impact will be felt during the darkest days for people in our region. She inspired generous individuals and businesses to donate, resulting in $25 million in gifts. She gives of herself because of her belief that every person – no matter their circumstances – deserves a good life.
Matt has a heart for what we do here at Call to Freedom. About a year ago he reached out to see how he could help in any way and that is exactly what he has done. From our moving team, ambassadors and grocery shopping, he has blessed our organization more than he realizes. We have several clients that move from our supportive housing to transitional housing and moving is not an easy task to undertake. He never hesitates and is always willing to give his time. When I first met with Matt, he mentioned that it was hard for him to hear that there are men, women and children right here in Sioux Falls that are being trafficked and need our services. He wanted to help bring awareness locally to this growing problem. That is also why he is part of our ambassador team. He has provided us an opportunity to share our mission at his place of employment to help bring darkness to light. Call to Freedom is honored to have Matt as volunteer.
Since the death of a beloved family member to suicide in 2004, Dean and Karen Krietlow have become exemplary champions for suicide prevention and support for survivors of suicide loss. Each year, they can always be counted on to support the annual Step Forward to Prevent Suicide Walk that the Helpline Center hosts to raise the necessary funds to help in continuing this important work. Both Karen and Dean have completed the Survivor Voices program to learn how to safely and effectively tell their story about being survivors of suicide loss, and they have both served as keynote speakers at the walk. They have spent countless hours assisting with all the hard behind-the-scenes work that this event requires. They also travel to Yankton to help with the Step Forward walk that the Helpline Center and Bridging Yankton partner together to hold each year. Dean has donated wonderful art pieces as silent auction offerings for the annual Helpline Open golf tournament. They are an invaluable part of these important events. Whenever assistance is needed for an event or special project, the Krietlows can be counted on to step up and give of their time, treasure, and talent. They are amazing!
Faron has volunteered every Saturday at the REACH Literacy bookstore since 2018. She comes in at 9:30 every Saturday and stays until 1:00. She has trained over 50 volunteers for REACH Literacy. Faron is well liked, cheerful, knowledgeable, helpful and an incredible asset to REACH. She makes our life so much easier because she is passionate, capable and willing to help make REACH a wonderful experience for shopping. There is always a waiting list to volunteer with Faron if that tells you anything about how cool she really is. In 2021 alone, Faron volunteered over 200 hours for REACH Literacy.
Dorothy has volunteered with The Salvation Army for over 19 years. She comes in faithfully every day for an hour to help sort clothes. She also volunteers at Canyon Lake Senior Center. Her smiling face, cheerful attitude, and dedication makes her an excellent volunteer.
Margo has been invaluable to Call to Freedom for several years. After reading a book that really opened her eyes to the world of human trafficking, she knew she needed to get involved. Margo is incredibly kind and has a heart for our clients as a mentor. The women she mentors have been through a lot and Margo is able to spend time with them and meet them where they are at in their journey. She doesn't only mentor but also is a monthly grocery shopper and part of our hospitality team. When Margo and her husband, Chris Larson (Comfort King), heard that Call to Freedom was expanding our Marissa's House to a 12-unit facility, they didn't even hesitate, they knew they wanted to help out by donating all of the beds and frames. We could not have done this without their continued support. Call to Freedom is honored to have Margo as a volunteer and to have her support in our fight to end human trafficking.
Shaylee volunteers during her weekends at the Black Hills Humane Society. In addition, when day's out of school for breaks, the first thing she wants to do is go to the Humane Society. Shaylee spends time talking with the dogs, cats, rabbits, and any other animal while she visits. Shaylee makes sure the animals know they are loved and are thought of. In addition, the animals that state no kids, she makes sure they know why she cannot stop and visit. Shaylee has grown in empathy, sympathy, and compassion from when starting to volunteer to the present day. It is crucial to have those traits in today's world, and this bright, fun, compassionate six-year-old is on her way to change the world. The animals, too, feel loved and wanted in a time where they may not feel the best about belonging.
Nancy Lehner has been involved with Special Olympics South Dakota since 2016. Over the past year, she has volunteered for not only a variety of our sporting events. But, also was a huge supporter and an advocate for our fundraising events. She has aided in set up, take down, organization, publicizing, raising funds, and participated in Polar Plunges, Raffles, Chase the Ace, Truck Convoy, and Cop on a Rooftop. Nancy is always available to lend a hand with any last minute request before an event. She is our "go-to" volunteer for anything and will always help Special Olympics South Dakota with a smile on her face and with Charlie (her dog), too!
For the past 5 months, Ruth has volunteered for several departments at Union Gospel Mission Sioux Falls including the Women's Center, Kitchen Service, Thrift Store, Community Outreach projects and special events including the Thanksgiving and Christmas Day Celebration. Ruth has invested time getting to know our women and children at the shelter and offered to help in anyway possible to spread hope and joy wherever she goes. She always has a smile and makes our staff feel appreciated and loved every time she enters our facility, we are blessed to have her serve with us! Pictured here is a snapshot of Ruth volunteering at a recent community outreach event promoting family dinner, community worship and creative arts.
It's because of volunteers like Ruth that we continue to shine bright and fulfill our mission of "Caring for the needs of the community with compassion while sharing the hope of Jesus Christ."
Lori is an amazing volunteer in the LSS Youth Mentoring Program AND in the LSS Better Together Program! She is consistent with her matches and gives so freely of her time and energy. She shows them both love.
She is matched with a 90 year old woman in the Better Together program. They have met since 2015 and have become great friends. Her match often says Lori is like a daughter to her and she trusts her completely.
She is matched with a high school freshman in the LSS Youth Mentoring Program. They first met when the student was in elementary school and the student has written that Lori is one of her best friends.
In addition, she serves on our Advisory Committee and is a great resource for our staff to get ideas on how to improve the program.
We love all that she does, but we know that pales in comparison to what she has done for her matches. In a world where so many people are divided on so many things, it is great to see someone like Lori who truly walks the walk of one person making a difference.
Board President DJ Adelman oversees and guides the board. He does whatever is needed to make sure the Council runs smoothly and efficiently.
Secretary Brian Utzman records meeting notes and makes sure the Council meets the legal requirements.
Treasurer Joanie Mantei volunteers average 10 hours a month for the Council. She makes sure all financial aspects of the Council are accurate. She supports grant applications by providing thorough financial statements.
Board member Al Rutherford identifies the needs of parents of the students in school system he works with and refers them to the Council.
Board members Jerry Cooper, Amanda Dahl, Jody Demoise, Chris Heacock, Peggy Saunders and Camilla Whitman meet monthly to address the needs of the Council. They help with tutoring students, training new tutors and writing grants.
The Literacy Council of the Black Hills has helped over 30 students just in the year of 2021. The students with different background have improved their literacy skills which helped them to be more confident, more independent and happier employees and community members. Without the continued support and encouragement from the Board, the Program Coordinator wouldn’t have been able to help all the students in need to the fullest.
The COVID Dream Team are a team of people that have volunteered for Lunch is Served for 1 1/2 years. They came every Monday and Wednesday and made over 20,000 lunches! They make sandwiches, fill lunch sacks with a napkin, spoon, applesauce, chips, granola bars, and inspirational notes and deliver them to The Banquet, the St. Francis House, and four other locations. Lunch is Served would not have survived the pandemic without these volunteers and the working poor that received over 20,000 lunches would not have received anything from Lunch is Served. Their work was truly life changing for many people. To continue to volunteer through the pandemic was so selfless. This team is a special group of people that will always be a part of Lunch is Served's history.
Nichelle is an excellent example of a volunteer that goes above and beyond the call. This year, she has played a critical role in several committees and campaigns. She volunteered as a Community Division Co-Chair for the Forward Sioux Falls Campaign where she contributed to a successful campaign benefiting development and initiatives throughout the Sioux Falls area. Nichelle is a Chamber diplomat and serves on several sub-committees as a Steering Committee member for Sioux Falls YPN. In this role, Nichelle supports area businesses at many events throughout the year. As an SME Women in Business Committee member, Nichelle is actively engaging with professionals in the area. Another specific event Nichelle made an impact at was the Taste the Goodness benefitting The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House as a Food Sub-committee Chair. The Sioux Empire United Way Employee Gifts benefited from her leadership as a Team Lead and Loaned Executive. Last but certainly not least, Nichelle plans to contribute her skills towards the Furniture Mission's Capital Campaign. Nichelle has certainly been busy this past year and has made a big difference in our community through a variety of contributions that impacts several individuals in need and supports Sioux Falls professionals.
Rusty and Annie have been hosting Wellfully kids at their ranch for 4 years now. We take them out calving, branding, hiking, horseback riding, BBQs, wagon rides, Christmas tree cutting, etc. They also have donated food to our kids so they can have memorable meals for special occasions. They have touched the lives of hundreds of kids, and the kids love them and their family.
Caitlin really has the Spirit of Volunteering. And it is no wonder as she has been volunteering since she was three years old.
She brings smiles and laughter to her duties and is one of our most constant volunteer faces. She often brings new friends and troop mates to serve and introduces them to the enriching opportunity that is volunteering at the St. Francis House.
Whether she is serving a meal, handing out mini-Christmas wreaths to our guests made by Sunday school children, or arriving with her Girl Scout troop to help clean around our building Caitlun's passion for volunteering is contagious.
In the course of 2021 to present, Sarah has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for three cases serving 6 children in total. Sarah has gone above and beyond her advocacy role for the children and made sure that each child's emotional, educational, physical, and psychological needs were being met while being in the foster care system. In two of those cases, Sarah was involved in helping the families achieve reunification, the primary goal of all Abuse and Neglect situations. There is one case that is still open; Sarah has been instrumental in making sure that the children receive the specialized therapy that they need. Aside from making sure that the children’s needs are being met, Sarah has developed a relationship with each of the children on her cases; a key component of the work that CASA does – providing a consistent, positive, safe, adult relationship. Sarah has been a CASA volunteer for 10 years, advocating for 8 cases and 16 children total. She has been a huge asset to the program and being the voice for the children that she is advocating for.
The Master's Builders are a Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls (Habitat) volunteer group composed of 23 retired professionals. The group includes former doctors, engineers, and bankers, but none have extensive backgrounds in construction work. Eight to ten of them volunteer almost every Tuesday and Thursday all year round. In 2021 the Master's Builders volunteered 4,523 hours with Habitat.
"The Masters are an amazing group to work with." says Brittany, the Volunteer Coordinator at Habitat, "They are grateful for all that they have been blessed with and want to give back to the community."
The name "Master's Builders" does not mean that this group of volunteers are skilled tradesmen; it means they are the hands and feet of God in our community. They genuinely help build our community one home at a time. Over the years, the Master's Builders have generously donated over 23,000 volunteer hours with Habitat.
CASA’s Adam and Emily Mayden have been assigned to two Abuse and Neglect cases at the same time in the year 2021, which is a total of six children. Since being assigned they have both jumped right into their role and have been involved in doctors appointments and getting to know all the children. They have produced amazing court reports that has given a great depiction of all the children’s needs and their personalities. Adam and Emily are providing consistency for their CASA Kids in a time that the children need it most. They are amazing volunteers that have so much dedication to their CASA kids and their role as advocates.
Earl McArthur is a volunteer driver for VA Black Hills Health Care Services and the DAV since 2017. The VA is no exception to loss of volunteers through the pandemic but Earl has continued to drive Veterans to their appointments to Fort Meade from Rapid City twice a day. Earls dedication to Veterans has helped with transportation needs of our hometown hero's with no delay to their care. Earl definitely has made a difference in the lives of his peers and to Veterans in the Black Hills.
Elizabeth has been a joy to have as a volunteer at Sanford Health. She has volunteered for almost 4 years as both a hospital Wayfinder and a Gift Shop Volunteer. She is a huge help for both our patients, who are anxious or uncertain, and staff, who are often working long hours. She completes her tasks very well, but the thing I appreciate the most is the bright shining attitude she carries with her wherever she goes. She makes a friend out of everyone she talks with. She makes jokes to see someone smile. She has befriended other volunteers, and asked them to have lunch with her. She comes to volunteer and asks, "How can I help today?" and she is genuinely happy to help wherever it is needed. Working in healthcare after two years of the COVID pandemic, Elizabeth's helpful, smiley personality is good for the soul.
Regan “Trip” McClurkin adopted the Feeding South Dakota Rapid City center as her workplace around January 2021 and put in more than 425 hours in 2021. Trip volunteers three days a week, usually arriving early and staying to clean up after the volunteer shifts, and she helps out often with mobile distributions as well. Trip takes the work seriously. She’s helped trained new volunteers, provides insight into process for packing and stacking the distribution boxes, and has used her engineering talents to help design tools to make the distribution work more efficient. Her positive attitude encourages others, as does her setting the pace for the work! Trip has even volunteered at the Sioux Falls and Pierre centers when her travels have taken her to those communities. The continuity and enthusiasm that she brings to the facility is an incredible asset to our efforts to feed the hungry in South Dakota.
Cindy has made an impact in the community by serving as a wish granter for Make-A-Wish this last year.
Over the past year, Alena has volunteered her time with a variety of organizations. She is a long-standing volunteer with St Joseph's Chapel on Ellsworth AFB. In 2021, she volunteered to serve as the 4th grade teacher's assistant for Sunday School helping to teach children about their Catholic faith. She also baked 36 loaves of bread for her church community as Thanksgiving gift. Alena assisted with providing 4-hours of holiday childcare for 14 children, so their parents could take time for holiday prep (shopping or taking a much-needed break). She helped the children decorate Christmas cookies and played games with them. She is an altar server, rosary leader and a lector for the church which encourages other young people to get involved in ministry. Alena supported athletes during the Special Olympics events at School of Mines. She supported them by cheering them and also served lunch for all the participants. Alena assisted with the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Meal during which they served 300+ plates of foods to individuals who wanted a home-cooked holiday meal and fellowship. She also does an annual clothing drive to benefit women and children at the Cornerstone Women and Children Shelter.
Cheryl has made an impact in the community by serving in many important roles as a Make-A-Wish volunteer this last year. She has helped make our mission possible by being a wish granter, airport greeter and office volunteer.
As a wish granter, Cheryl has helped grant one wish this last year in the local community and is currently helping grant two more. Wish granters meet with the family, help the wish child determine their wish, provide wish enhancements and act as a liaison between staff and the wish family during the wish process.
As an airport greeter, she has greeted wish families at the local airport as they leave and return from wish trips. By being at the airport, she helps ease any concerns the wish family has about traveling.
As an office volunteer, she has helped us undertake an initiative to make our paper files electronic. In doing this, she has helped our staff become more efficient.
In all the ways Cheryl volunteers – she lifts the spirits of wish kids, their families and our community.
We are so thankful to have her as a volunteer and to be able to work with her in fulfilling our mission.
In October 2021, McPherson Auction volunteered to run our charity auction for WellFully, for free. They spent a lot of time setting up the site, using their expertise and desire to help kids, which led to tremendous results. Not only did they help us, but they have helped numerous other non-profits in the area to help raise money so they could continue their missions. Kevin and Todd McPherson are stewards of our community and deserve to be recognize for their efforts.
If you have volunteered at the Feeding South Dakota Sioux Falls distribution center, chances are you met Max and Cheryl Merry. Their commitment to serving others shines through as a light of positivity as they work to fight hunger. They volunteer weekly and are so appreciated in all they provide to the mission of Feeding South Dakota, because they do it all. We are so grateful to their commitment and service.
Thank you, Max and Cheryl, for being such dedicated and inspiring volunteers with Feeding South Dakota!
The past year, Liz volunteered her time and talents towards a variety of fundraising campaigns in the Sioux Empire. Her efforts were critical in the success of each campaign exceeding their goals. Additionally, Liz serves on the board for the Glory House enabling the organization to value their employees and serve clients in the best way. Liz volunteered at NAWIC’s Lego Building Event where she judged fourth graders and talked to them about their career goals and the creative process. She looks forward to getting involved with Sioux 52 Mentoring and REACH Literacy in the coming months. Liz embodies the servant heart mentality and graciously gives of her time and talents.
Scout Minister is an indispensable and dedicated member of the Dakota Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) youth theatre productions team. Since joining DAPA as a volunteer in the fall of 2020, Scout has contributed nearly 200 hours of service, all of which have come from her valuable rehearsal and backstage assistance during multiple DAPA productions. Among her arsenal of skills, Scout can run music for rehearsals, help with costumes, play games and supervise drink/restroom breaks with cast members during rehearsals, rehearse lines with cast members, and even operate lights and sound cues by herself during performances. She is adept at assisting all technical aspects of a production and is effectively a one-woman production team.
Scout maintains an equally good rapport with both her younger cast member peers as well as the adult directors and stage managers she assists. She is unflappable and flexible with every task assigned to her and unfailingly conducts herself with poise and humility. Molly Wilson, a director of numerous DAPA theatre productions, spoke in support of Scout by saying, “I have worked with countless volunteers in my stead with DAPA and Scout stands out as a volunteer who shines in all she does!”
In 2021, Monument Employees provided 1,131 hours of service to Feeding South Dakota, helping at the Rapid City Distribution center and at mobile sites throughout the community. Monument adopted Feeding South Dakota in September as their community project, and provided over 500 hours in that month alone. At least 16 different departments have helped out over the year. The Finance Department held the record volunteering 446 hours over the year, both at the facility and at mobile distributions. Wow! Thanks so much for your enthusiasm, dedication and hard work.
Jean Morrow, Board Chair of South Dakota Voices for Peace, has been a steady presence in the success of South Dakota Voices for Peace through her leadership, listening ear, guidance for staff and board, while volunteering her time to help our clients, unaccompanied youth and victims of domestic violence involved in immigration court. Jean is involved in supporting our LGBTQ+ community and is a member of the SD Justice and Equity Coalition focused on criminal justice reform. As a retired pastor, Jean's unique ability to empathize and provide care for everyone in her community has comforted so many people. Jean courageously uses her voice to educate, defend, and support the most vulnerable in our community. Her ability to validate and uplift voices of those who need to be heard and seen is truly a gift. She is a fierce proponent of all women's rights, including reproductive rights. Jean understands the complexity of our society and the importance of helping all who are oppressed while being the lighthouse for all.
Twenty-three youth and adult performing artists from the Sioux Falls community have come together to support the mission of Move To Heal South Dakota. This group is making a difference by providing opportunities for the community to experience the healing arts. The dancers use movement-based art through dance to tell stories, empower healing, and inspire joy. We are honored to recognize and celebrate the volunteer performing artists of the Move To Heal Dance Collective in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards.
Laura Munson has been a CASA volunteer for 1 year and has been appointed to 2 cases. Laura is objective as she advocates for the children on her case but remains focused on recommending what is in the child’s best interest. Laura meets with the children on her case weekly to form a bond with them. She ensures she meets with everyone involved in the child’s life in order to paint an accurate picture of the child’s life to the Judge. CASA’s goal is to reunify families. In Laura’s first case, she recommended the child be returned to his father, which the Judge granted. Laura stated she was overcome with emotions to hear the Judge commend the father for the hard work he had completed to regain custody of his son.
Laura understands the important role she plays in the lives of the children she advocates for as a CASA volunteer and she makes her role a priority. She spends time forming genuine relationships with the children, and others on her case, to recommend to the judge what is in the child’s best interest.
Before the pandemic, Shawn's wife (Paula) was a volunteer at the HOPE Center. Shawn saw our need for extra help, so he decided to come almost daily to assist us with whatever we needed. He used his own vehicle daily for months to haul pallets of food from Feeding SD to the HOPE Center. Even though we have inched back to "normal" over the past two years, Shawn has continued to devote his time helping at the HOPE Center. Shawn is intuitive and very good at assessing the minute-by-minute needs at the center. He is quick witted, energetic, and loved by many of those we serve. He has genuine concern for those less fortunate.
Kaye is an exemplary resident / volunteer at Dow Rummel Village. She is willing to help with special events and activities at the community whenever an extra set of hands is needed. She regularly assists with monthly birthday party decorating and set up. Will assist in serving the refreshments and stays to help clean up. She is a creative person and takes the initiative to make decorations for the breakfast room on her wing. She was invaluable in the decorating of Christmas all over our community. There were trees and garlands, and many locations to attend to and she is the type of volunteer you can just turn loose on a project and know that the task will be handled. She is a gentle and considerate person of all the other volunteers and residents. I am so grateful to have her assistance at events because I feel that she volunteers with a spirit of generosity and caring for our community.
Compassionate, understanding, flexible, knowledgeable, gentle, and reliable are some of the words to describe LifeScape’s Volunteer, Bobbie Nesheim. Bobbie is a long-time Volunteer and active member within the LifeScape Ambassador Group which hosts large-scale fundraising events, such as the Mall Walk, to assist with funding gaps for children, adults, and LifeScape Services. These proceeds ensure children and adults with disabilities have everything they need to accomplish goals and fulfill dreams.
In addition to the Ambassadors group, during the pandemic, a very high volunteer need as a ‘Baby Rocker and Toddler Play Friend’ was identified in the LifeScape Specialty Hospital. This volunteer role had many extra pandemic strategies to adhere to but was critical in providing children with complex-medical needs the loving touch to heal and grow. Bobbie answered this call and utilizes her past work experiences as a Physical Therapist to rock babies with love, inspire communication, and provide playtime learning opportunities for individual growth. As children grow, Bobbie’s volunteer position has changed to continue to fit needs. Bobbie also volunteers in LifeScape’s Specialty School medically-complex classroom by adapting learning kits and inspiring children during class time. Thank you, Bobbie, for providing such great love to each child at LifeScape.
When KyAnn was recently accepted to attend SDSU, her fellow volunteers at Kid Link Riverside celebrated by giving her a Jackrabbit T-shirt and cookies. She is loved by this team, and we're proud to see her success.
KyAnn is one of the youngest of our "core" volunteers, meaning she's there nearly every week, and we count on her to provide leadership and direction for individuals and groups of elementary-age students. She has been serving as an activities volunteer for Sioux Falls Thrive's Kid Link Riverside initiative for nearly two years. She understands the mission to help each individual child succeed, and she provides a youth role model for kids who might not have connections to older students in their lives.
KyAnn has a gift for relating to the children who attend Kid Link Riverside family/educational events. She makes learning fun by connecting with kids, taking care to learn their names and what they like or don't like. She provides clear instructions, and finds the silly side of just about anything!
KyAnn is active in her school as a member of Junior ROTC. She sings for various events, and occasionally shows off her musical talents with the Kid Link kids.
Kyle is a dedicated Board Member for Lunch is Served. Kyle has served on the board for five years. He took over as treasurer mid-term when someone had to drop out. He always steps to the challenges and commits his time to fully support the mission of Lunch is Served. He is one of the key people that has made our annual fundraiser, The Celebrity Chef Sandwich Battle a great success for the last four years and is continuing to do so this year as well. He recruits chefs and judges for the event as well as securing several silent auction items. Most importantly he works the event to ensure success. He puts in his time, talent and treasure for this mission and it would not be the where it is today without him! I only wish he could stay on the board for six more years!
Diana is SHIINE's PT receptionist. She answers the telephone and schedules telephone and in-person appointments with our Medicare Educators in Sioux Falls. She contacts SHIINE volunteers in the Eastern and Central regions of SD to assist beneficiaries as well. She mails out Medicare information and assists walk-ins with whatever they need. Diana is a great asset to SHIINE in many ways.
Donna has been a dedicated volunteer for the Rapid City Salvation Army for several years. She is our Women's Auxiliary president and passionate about volunteering. Donna put in over 200 hours of volunteering during our Christmas season. She is always glad to help whenever needed.
Mary & Jerri, or as we call them, the Dynamic Duo, serve the noon meal at St. Francis House every Wednesday. These two individuals are dedicated to providing our guests with warmth, laughter, and dignity. They may be a little silly at times, make funny faces or pose for the camera in a goofy way, but they take their service seriously. Mary and Jerri have, during the last two years of difficulties came through for our guests again and again. They have not only been a bright light during noon meals but, they have volunteered for the fun events as well designed to lift our guests' spirits through the pandemic. From calling bingo to serving and providing for "special event" meals, Mary and Jerri can always be counted on for providing dynamic, love-filled service.
By herself Mary has served in many other instances, evening meals, food prep, and for a period of six months nearly every breakfast. Mary and Jerri bring a feisty, fun attitude with their serving that really is uplifting to the guests. Because they serve so regularly the guests really get to know them and anticipate their serving. Never treating them as less than or with reservation Mary and Jerri chat and joke with guests and have the gift to be able to brighten their days.
Doris has been a volunteer at Active Generations for 6 years. She leads many volunteer groups such as adult coloring club, she teaches art classes to adults, leads grief support groups and volunteers at our welcome desk 2-3 times a week if needed. She is always so positive and she smiles all the time. She is always willing to volunteer whenever she comes into the building. Doris loves to be around people and loves to provide all her artistic talents so she loves to teach to others as much as possible. You can see her art and poetry all over Active Generations. Active Generations is pleased to honor Doris as our Spirit of Volunteer Award Winner.
Our volunteer is amazing! She joined the Toy Lending Library of SD (TLL) in the middle of 2021 and she has been volunteering an average of twenty hours per week. She learned all the processes and is very detail oriented in the work that she does. She steps in everything that is necessary and is eager to learn. She is very kind to everyone and she shares our excitement when little things happen that carry the project along. Once she learned more, she decided to volunteer to be a TLL Ambassador and she has been amazing by sharing with the community about our mission and by fundraising.
We had an incredible year with a record number of toy boxes checked out/renewed. That means that we had an incredible number of toy boxes for processing, cleaning and sanitizing and for closing. All those processes are very detailed and require a lot of time and attention. She was there, together with other volunteers, ready to help make it possible for those processes to be done and for all those boxes to be back on the shelves again. She is very special and we are very thankful to have her with us!
Black Hills Energy wishes to nominate Jessica Oliveto for the Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Jessica has logged 224 volunteer hours on our internal tracker. She dedicates her time to such organizations as Girl Scouts, the Pinedale Parent-Teacher Association, United Way and Walk for Warmth.
Easy access to menstrual products is not a reality for many women in the United States – and Sioux Falls women are no exception when it comes to facing this challenge.
The Pad Party (formally the MLK menstrual product drive) was initially inspired by a story about a woman at The Banquet who had been in desperate need of menstrual hygiene products. When she came into The Banquet with her family, she was wearing her baby’s last diaper to get by. This story led a group of caring women to establish The Pad Party in 2011. The founding mothers of The Pad Party are Katrina Lehr-McKinney, Carmen Toft, Brienne Maner, Lesli Olson, Heather Krause, Manaal Ali and Kristen Townsend. In the last 11 years, the group has collected and donated over 250,000 pads, tampons and incontinence products to The Banquet. Even during the pandemic they set high goals and met them. This tremendous effort is crucial to fighting period poverty in Sioux Falls! I am nominating the group for a Spirit of Volunteerism Award to recognize the lasting impact their drive has on women every single year.
Tom has served as Lost&Found's Treasurer since 2015 and played a pivotal role in earning the organization's 501c3 status and its continued growth over the past 6 years. Over the past year, Tom's leadership on the Board of Directors ensured that Lost&Found would continue to engage a broader pool of volunteers and expand its program strategy, leading to over 2.3 million people being reached by Lost&Found's programs and services and a rapid expansion of support from volunteers (increase from 50 to over 275 year over year). Tom is a dedicated board member, mentor to staff and other volunteers, and is present at every Lost&Found event. His volunteer spirit and commitment to mental health and suicide prevention is what makes our work possible. He is the leader who fuels Lost&Found's spirit of support and innovation.
Jeanne has been a volunteer at the Rapid City Salvation Army for 3 years and she is always there when help is needed. She put in over 200 hours during Christmas helping with our toy shop, kettle counting and any activity she could. Jeanne is also our Women's Auxiliary secretary.
Rut has volunteered at the banquet by helping serve food to anyone who needs it along with helping make the food. Additionally, she volunteered at the hospital where she made COVID kits. She even volunteered at Kumon where she tutored other kids. In general, she helped out the community even in times of struggle to help out others and make a difference.
Kara has volunteered weekly at Food to You since it started back in 2009 as a registrar. Her kind spirit puts the guests at ease and helps them feel welcome when coming to every distribution. When COVID hit, all distributions were moved outside and even in the dead of winter she was bundled up and outside registering guests so they could get groceries. Kara is a blessing to many.
Sandra Pay is a long-time champion of arts in the Sioux Falls community. Her can-do attitude, her willingness to be hands-on, and her commitment to excellence are shining examples of positive leadership. Sandra served on Levitt at the Falls Board for 4 years. When the Levitt was first being considered, she served as a community ambassador, driving the national Levitt Foundation representatives around our city and advocating for the Sioux Falls’ unique potential to serve as a host city for a permanent Levitt venue. Sandra’s consistent commitment to the Levitt and her hands-on support on the lawn during concerts has helped us to bring the Levitt’s mission to life. Last summer, Sandra was a constant in our Information booth, helping pass out rented chairs and information during 22 of our 38 concerts. Sandra knew everyone, and made everyone feel welcome with her beautiful smile, recruiting her daughter and granddaughter to assist as well. She truly believes in our mission to build community through music, and she helped us achieve our goal last summer by serving as one of our favorite hosts.
Judy was recruited by the Literacy Council of the Black Hills at a volunteer fair in late 2019. Since day 1 of her volunteering, Judy has helped her student enthusiastically and abided to the tutor policy of the Council.
Every month, she was one of the first ones to report her volunteer activities, she not only helps her student improve her English, but also helped her student to have a smoother pregnancy. When needed, Judy became a Board member and helped with duties at the Tutor/Student Committee. Even after she resigned from the Board, she still stays at the committee and helped with the first in-person tutor training. It's been a great pleasure to have Judy! Thank you!
•LifeScape: Baked goodies for one of the adult homes, donated items, holiday deliveries to homes (made tie blankets, organized and planned deliveries of gifts to some of the homes). Total hours volunteered with LifeScape: 39.75
•Harrisburg High School: Baked treats for the cheerleaders for games and competitions, baked cookies for choir, wrapped gifts for the angel tree, made baked goods for fundraisers, created and put together spreadsheets for various cheer activities, picked up litter on the high school campus, created backpack tags for the cheerleaders, donated goods to the Harrisburg band fundraiser, created fun items for state basketball for the cheerleaders. Total hours volunteered with Harrisburg HS: 76.75
•Sioux Falls Area Humane Society: Dropped off and donated a large box of pill pockets. Total hours: 1
•Avera McKennan: Traveled to Florida to chaperone the Avera Kairos volleyball team at nationals. We were responsible for transporting the team through airports, to the rental home and convention center for practice and games, shopped for groceries, made all meals for the team, and did laundry. Total hours volunteered with Avera: 130
•Active Generations: Decorated bags for Meals on Wheels. Total hours: 1
Total hours for 2021: 248.5
Total hours for 2020: 246.25
Deb has been consistently volunteering at Alpha Center for 16 years. Throughout that time, Deb has volunteered in a variety of capacities. She has come in a couple of times per month, sometimes with her husband and daughter, to help with projects such as spackling and painting walls, working on the yard, putting away donations and getting packets of information ready for supporters. She also volunteers her time at several special events that Alpha Center hosts throughout each year, such as the annual dinner each spring and the Move for Life each fall.
Throughout 2021 and into 2022, she has regularly volunteered to sort donated baby items for clients who are part of Alpha Center’s incentive-based education programs and want to purchase these items in the Baby Boutique. Her willingness to spend her time putting these items away has not only helped keep baby supplies organized, but has also freed up staff members to serve other client needs. Deb has been an incredible blessing to the Alpha Center staff for many years, and has always been willing to do a wide variety of volunteer projects. Alpha Center is so grateful to Deb for her hard work and servant heart!
Carson Quam wanted to do something special for his 13th birthday. Sometimes, a kid has an idea, and it turns into something much bigger and more amazing than anyone anticipated. Carson chose to host a book drive for REACH Literacy.
His goal was to collect 1,000 books and he blew that goal out of the water.
Carson packed, loaded, and donated 2,581 books to REACH Literacy on Monday.
Thanks to the generosity of Matt Paulson, and MarketBeat, the book donation was financially matched!! That means MarketBeat donated $2,581!
We are grateful to Carson's friends, family, and the hockey (and figure skating) community for their support of Carson and REACH.
Anther nominator states:
REACH Literacy helps provide increased confidence speaking and communicating in English for adults throughout our community. This vital service is funded, in part, by sales at REACH’s secondhand bookstore. And in 2021, Carson Quam brought REACH Literacy into the spotlight when he held a book drive for his thirteenth birthday. Carson packed, loaded and donated 2,581 books to REACH (well exceeding his 1,000 book goal). His goal was also matched by MarketBeat, so Carson not only generated the funds from the sale of those books, but also an extra $2,581 to support adult learners in our community. This small idea from a kid in Brandon made a big impact on the funding and awareness for REACH. It’s inspiring to see teens not only recognize the needs of others, but then also work to help solve those needs.
John has been a dedicated volunteer for The Salvation Army for over 8 years. John volunteers at the thrift store and he is passionate about the book dept. John spends his time organizing and putting new books out at the thrift store.
Monika has been a volunteer for the Salvation Army for over 14 years. Monika volunteers in the jewelry department at the Rapid City thrift store. Monika loves to volunteer at the thrift store and her church.
Jadyn Kay, age 15, has taken it upon herself to serve those who have served us - our veterans. Every year she bakes and sells her home made spritz cookies. Then she uses her profits and purchases gifts for every Veteran and Resident residing at Helping Hands Assisted Living Center in Brandon. This year she was able to purchase gifts for 70 !!!
Every year the Rapid City Rushmore Lions Club volunteers at the Goodwill Children's Shoe and Mitten Party, assisting children from station to station to receive shoes, hats, mittens, socks and to meet Santa. They actually call Goodwill and ask the date of the event in advance.
Rapid City Downtown, Evening Star, Metro, and Rushmore Lions Clubs, along with Piedmont Valley Lions Club, have provided Northern Plains Eye Foundation steadfast volunteer support for almost a decade, assisting in providing our free Children’s Vision Screening Initiative (CVSI) community outreach across the Black Hills region.
The primary goal of CVSI is to identify otherwise undetected vision disorders in children and effectively refer at-risk children to an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam and treatment, in order to reduce the incidence of vision loss, ensure optimal visual development, and enhance children’s opportunities for success in learning and in life.
This nomination is a tribute to the altruism of this dependable, cheerful, hard-working, and dedicated village of twenty-five benevolent Black Hills Lions Club Volunteers, who have committed over 3,500 volunteer hours to strengthening the social welfare of our communities – one child at a time – to ensure early identification and timely diagnosis of sight stealing vision disorders in children.
We feel immensely blessed by these amazing volunteers who believe in our mission and uplift our cause and those we serve with their kindness, inspiring spirits, and generous acts of giving.
For the past year, Karen has volunteered through offering FREE hair cuts at our Union Gospel Mission Sioux Falls main office for all men, women and children guests. Karen always brings a positive attitude when serving others in need around our community, whether they are residents of the mission or individuals who schedule hair cuts from right off of the street. Offering this type of service is very important to the mission and restores our guests and community members confidence and empowers them to re-enter the workplace such as preparing for job interviews. Our team is very blessed to have her serve with us every month! Pictured here are a few snapshots of Karen providing on Friday afternoons at our main administrative building.
It's because of volunteers like Karen that we continue to shine bright and fulfill our mission of "Caring for the needs of the community with compassion while sharing the hope of Jesus Christ."
The individuals who serve through Resources for Human Development do a wonderful job for us. Serving with joy and enthusiasm, the residents of RHD serve a few noon meals a month plus they help prep and pack sack lunches once weekly.
The Residents of RHD take their volunteering seriously, always determined to do a good job, but serve with good natures and pleasant attitudes.
Cathy and her group Retired Teachers/AARP serves at least three noon meals at St. Francis House throughout a given month. As well, if I have open noon meals on a given month, it is quite likely they take those as well. It isn't all about the quantity with Cathy's little group you get fun volunteers excited to be a service. They are fantastic with the guests, joke with staff and are generally a pretty rambunctious group of ladies. But I know these wonderful individuals don't restrict their volunteering to just the St. Francis House. The Banquet, Bishop Dudley and more are blessed by their service.
Another nominator states:
Cathy, Anne & Kathie (and sometimes Paula) are a Volunteer Coordinators dream, Enthusiastic, Gracious & Gifted. Cathy, Anne & Kathie are masters of volunteering, not just here at St. Francis House but throughout Sioux Falls. Their dedication and determination to serve others with love and patience is typified by the fact that they serve at least three meals a month with SFH and often many more. At the start of every year they will ask me for all of my open noon meals left for the year and they will sign up for a sizable portion.
Throughout all their service they also exhibit joy and graciousness in their serving, lifting the hearts of both guests and staff alike.
These are three ladies who definitely have the Spirit of Volunteerism.
Sally has volunteered with EmBe Dress for Success Sioux Falls for years and impacted hundreds of women looking for support and encouragement. Every Tuesday morning, she greats clients with a smile and helps them select clothing for an interview or their new job.
Often when clients arrive they are apprehensive about their appointment but Sally instantly puts them at ease. She genuinely listens to their stories and reminds them of their own confidence. After an appointment with Sally, clients leave feeling empowered and equipped for the journey ahead.
Sally will be moving to Colorado in late April to be near her daughter. Words cannot accurately convey how thankful we are for Sally's involvement. She will be missed but always celebrated.
Sarah leads the Wiener Wednesday hot dog feed for the homeless. I have watched her give the shoes right off her feet to people in need and she cares so much about all of our guests. She is always trying to get more items to pass out to ensure the safety of our homeless friends in the crazy SD elements.
Thanks to a partnership with Teachwell Solutions in Sioux Falls, Will Roths became UGM’s first intern on December 15, 2021. Since that time, Will has assisted our Marketing Team 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday's with digital media projects including: designing billboards, newsletters, marketing materials, generating social media and website content, creating press releases, helping us plan for our 122nd Anniversary Celebration and creating real-time video updates to our donor and partnership platform. We are so proud of everything that he's accomplished and want to say a BIG "Thank You!"
Will is currently a student at Southeast Technical College. He is creative and hardworking. He always brings a smile to work, is very productive and polite to all guests and staff members.
Check out some of his video updates here:
- Latest Newsletter with Will: https://ugmsiouxfalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Sioux-Falls-NL-FINAL-1.pdf
Caroline is a member of the Youth Advisory Board, but she has also volunteered to type up all the sections needed for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project community plan. This community plan is a large undertaking with many moving parts and a fast approaching deadline. We are slated to complete everything on time due to her willingness and dedication. She has been showing up consistently for the weekly TA calls as well as attending 3 meetings a month to advocate for the homeless youth in our community. The work, time, and expertise that Caroline gives so freely is a huge reason why South Dakota was awarded almost 3 million dollars to help end youth homelessness in our state. Thank you for always being willing to speak up and share the personal stories of your life and for creating a safe space for others to do the same.
9 employees from Sammons Financial have volunteered to take part in the REACH for Literacy BEE a Reader program. The program is a zoom reading program. Once a week volunteers zoom read with second graders from Anne Sullivan Elementary. Reading takes about 20 minutes, but volunteers must allow about 45 minutes of their time once a week. The program is 14 weeks in duration and a joy for all involved. It allows kids the chance to read books and adults get the opportunity to help with words, meaning and comprehension. Volunteers have expressed joy in the program and kids love being able to read to an adult.
When Kristy Tripp asked her co-workers to fund scholarships for kids in a northeast Sioux Falls elementary school, it was a step along a personal journey. Kristy grew up in the Riverside neighborhood near Smithfield, and home to Laura B. Anderson Elementary School.
As an employee of Sammons Financial Group, Kristy has been active with the company’s Community Involvement Grant program. The funding supports non-profit organizations and, this year, Kristy and her co-workers campaigned to support after-school care at LBA.
In an announcement this year, Kristy and her colleagues presented a check for $20,800 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire. This generous grant will help fund after-school tutoring, supportive adult interactions, snacks, educational games, and full-time summer care.
Kristy Tripp has fond memories of Riverside. “Without realizing just how poor we were, we used every available community resource to keep food on the table, a roof over our head, and free activities to keep us busy,” she says.
Caring adults — including Kristy’s mom —helped neighborhood kids feel welcome and cared for. Today, Kristy sees a revival of that spirit in the work of LBA staff, non-profit agencies, local businesses, churches, government agencies, and volunteers.
JA Inspire provides an opportunity for local 8th grade students to explore careers in fields with hands on activities. Sanford Health was once again the Title Sponsor for JA Inspire. They brought numerous medical careers to life for students as they interacted through games and activities. Allison helped spearhead the Sanford Health career exploration booth area. She worked diligently and creatively with the Aspire Career Center team to create an experience that was unforgettable! The Sanford team collaborated with several departments to bring experts from careers varying from nursing to food and nutrition to patient care roles and many things in between. Students were able to learn from these field experts and gain a glimpse of what that career field looks like. The Sanford Aspire team went above and beyond to ensure this event was not only memorable, but also impactful for roughly 3,000 Sioux Empire 8th grade students! In addition to the local in person event, they also helped create a virtual experience for students across the state of South Dakota! We are grateful for our partnership with Sanford Health and the dedication they have to our local youth.
Our 12 Pet Therapy Volunteers and their fabulous furry friends have brought so much joy to our patients and staff during this unprecedented time in healthcare. Sanford Health has had a notably high patient volume this past year, and many patients might experience some level of mental health situations while in our care. Our Pet Therapy dogs help to comfort these patients and provide a little joy to them through cuddles with dogs or watching the dogs' tricks. Also, due to the large patient volumes, our staff have experienced emotionally draining situations and have cared for very sick patients. Staff have had to cover extra shifts due to the the global workforce issues. Our precious Pet Therapy dogs have comforted them on their worst days. These volunteers have come to cuddle on short notice, and they have picked up lots of extra shifts to meet our needs.
These volunteers have gone through a rigorous certification process through Therapy Dogs International, and they keep their handlers' and dogs' health records current with Sanford Volunteer Services each year.
Sandy has been a member of the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary for over 6 years. Sandy volunteered many, many hours during Christmas, helping with the toy shop and the Angel Tree program. Sandy brings great attention to detail to all her areas of service.
Lisa Saunders has been the rock of our public education team for the Rapid City Fire Department for nearly a decade. This year she updated our outreach programs to electronic delivery and recruited a volunteer to take over our monthly library book reading. Lisa took on the need for fall prevention intervention and is working on the long task of becoming a SDSU Extension Master Educator to provide proven exercise and behavior-changing outreach to our community. We are dependent on Lisa and could not do half of our programs without her.
Patricia is one of the tutors for the Literacy Council of the Black Hills who is committed and always wants to help! Sometimes she has as many as three students!
During the pandemic, some tutors stopped tutoring, but Patricia is among the few tutors who wouldn't let the COVID stop her, she continued helping her student via Zoom and other remote ways. When needed, she'd come to the park to meet with Program Coordinator Jin.
It's a great honor and pleasure to have Patricia as a volunteer tutor!
Rachelle Schaap is busy: owning and managing her family business, volunteering for church and community activities, and making sure her extended family members each feel special. It's a gift to be known and loved by Rachelle.
For nearly a year, she added to her packed schedule and became the primary volunteer provider of food, preparation, and service for Tuesday meals served through the Nightwatch Food Truck at Kid Link Riverside in the Laura B. Anderson Elementary School neighborhood.
When Kid Link Riverside partnered with Nightwatch, Rachelle was part of the core group of organizers. The volunteers were committed to proving the need for access to charitable food in the LBA area. They started by serving 50 meals or so each week in November 2020. By August of 2021, 50 meals was the norm, and the need was clear.
During that time, Rachelle served as coach to new volunteers. But there were many, many weeks when there was no one else and Rachelle stepped in to plan, prepare and serve the meal, all with a positive attitude that made a free meal feel more like a Block Party than a charity. Kid Link Riverside children and families are grateful for Rachelle!
My sister, Angela, has been volunteering and advocating on several levels through her time serving as a Toastmasters volunteer through the prison, working with those who are serving out life sentences. She has a heart of gold and has been making an impact not only on the lives of the prisoners she works with, but also through her work in Leaders of Tomorrow and as a former foster mom for dogs through B-Squad! She is an inspiration and has begun sharing her story on stages, social media, and all those areas outside her comfort zone as an introvert!
Linda volunteers in the Avera Prairie Center Lab, Avera Family Health Center and rocks babies in the NICU. Linda spends about 18/hrs a week volunteering her time for Avera. She has a true passion for caring for others. Linda came in to play with a toddler that was in the hospital. She spent hours pulling him around in a wagon and making him feel loved. Linda continues her stewardship outside of her hours of volunteering. If a patient calls her for transportation outside of her normal volunteer hours, Linda will be there for that patient. She doesn’t complain. It’s quite the opposite. She states “What else do I have to do? If I can help a patient, I will.” She has been known to buy a patient lunch as well. Not only does she go above and beyond for our patients, She also does for her fellow volunteers. She has made numerous friends here at Avera and reaches out to them on her personal time, whether it is having dinner with them or inviting them to a performance at the Orpheum or Washington Pavilion. Her upbeat, cheerful personality is contagious as well as her attitude on life!
The Meals on Wheels program would not have reached over 500 participants without Schulte Subaru. The donation of 3 Subaru vehicles back in April 2020 has helped expand the program to new areas of Sioux Falls and surrounding areas. In addition to this extremely generous donation, since the start of COVID they have been packing meals every single Friday. They are such a fun group to pack meals and they are very quick as well :). In addition to the vehicles and packing meals, in April 2021 we were struggling to find volunteers for two of our Meals on Wheels delivery routes, Mike and his team graciously stepped forward and have been delivering these two routes ever since. There are not enough words to write to express how thankful we are for the Schulte Subaru team and all their hours, miles and smiles they have put into our Meals on Wheels program!
There aren't many churches that would welcome a bunch of volunteers they've just met and let them bring dozens of kids and their parents into their house of worship. And there aren't many churches that would let those volunteers bring in all variety of messy activities -- including live chickens! (see the photo) -- with the simple promise that the volunteers will clean up the messes.
But there aren't many churches like Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church in Sioux Falls. It has long been the goal of this small but mighty congregation to become a Community Center for the children and families who live in the Riverside neighborhood around their building.
Over the last two years, Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church has welcomed a group of non-profit organizations, staff members from Laura B. Anderson Elementary School, and hundreds of volunteers to host Kid Link Riverside using their church building. The program started small with a handful of kids in June 2020. Today, attendance averages between 30 and 50 kids plus parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors. It offers a food giveaway, hot meal service, fun and educational activities, and a place for strangers to become friends.
Over the past year, the team at Ellsworth Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program has conducted prevention-focused training across the installation, helping to create healthier environments where all feel welcome and safe. The trainings are facilitated to help improve expectations for how we interact with one another, create safety throughout the community and boost help-seeking behaviors. Additionally, they provide direct support to survivors of sexual assault by responding to crisis calls, accompanying survivors to appointments, and advocating for safe spaces. The team enables the 24/7 on-call response capability allowing survivors to seek support any time of the day or night. The advocate team conducted a 24-hour vigil to enhance awareness about sexual assault and encourage support for survivors. They facilitated multiple small group discussions about consent and respecting boundaries. They set up info tables are 8 locations, keeping them well-supplied with current/relevant information, brochures, booklets, posters, promotional items, etc. They participated in a campaign to raise awareness about male sexual assault.
Tammy has been a weekly volunteer with Food to You since it began in 2009 as a registrar. Her friendly demeaner has been such a wonderful blessing to the guests that come every week. During COVID all distributions were moved outside and even then she was out there bundled up filling the guests with love and laughter as they received their groceries. She is a blessing to many.
Donna has been a volunteer for over 2 years for The Salvation Army. She is a dedicated, detail oriented volunteer. Donna volunteered over a 100 hours during the Christmas season. She helped set up our toy shop and volunteers at our Thrift Store.
Andrew works one and two times every week at the Rapid City Public Library. He does shelf reading in order to assist the library in keeping their books organized properly. He really enjoys this as he is also an avid reader as well as assisting anyone else who may be looking and who ask him. He wants the books to be organized according to author so they can easily be found. I feel he deserves this recognition as he has done this for over four years now and continues to enjoy this. He gives of his time freely and willingly. Thank you.
Volunteers of America, Dakotas is called by the Gospel to guide people to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Each year, we serve nearly 10,000 people in the Sioux Empire through a ministry of service.
Through our Retail Donation Program, retailers donate unsellable items to VOAD We pick up items and put them to use empowering individuals and strengthening our community.
VOAD uses the items both within our programs and by distributing them
directly to individuals and families who need them.
The SF Flyers assisted VOAD by sorting clothing, organizing, and packing up seasonal items until they can be used next year.
These young men were AMAZING! They not only completed the tasks that I had arranged for them, but they did it with great humor, enthusiasm and excitement. This group of young men were respectful, helpful and so much fun to work with! They flew through the tasks I had pre-arranged so quickly and then asked what else could be done. They then moved on to boxing up the seasonal items that are not needed at this time to prepare for our future move!
This group of SF Flyers deserves a round of applause for being amazing volunteers!
The Sioux Falls Storm has partnered with local businesses for the Night of Hope and Caring. A night meant to bring the community together in order to fund raise and highlight a local need in our elementary schools in efforts to help level the playing field for kids who do not benefit from parent support groups such as PTA's or PTO's. Each dollar provides for more of a well-rounded school experience for local elementary students who can't generally afford certain opportunities. Experiences like field trips help students learn proper behavior in social settings and build vocabulary they otherwise would not have the opportunity to build. They also help students learn the benefits of following social norms, such as regular school attendance, appropriate classroom behaviors and giving your best effort on classroom assignments.
Kristin has been a volunteer on the Pine Ridge Reservation with Re-member.org for 20+ years. She and her husband Ted have lived on the Rez to organize volunteers and services to the Oglala Lakota people living on PRR. Since COVID has struck, it has stopped the ability to volunteer and provide desperately needed services. Services include: building outhouses, beds, making homes more livable, trailer skirting, delivering firewood, building steps and wheelchair ramps into homes, delivering donated items, and most importantly, building relationships. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Porcupine Clinic on the Rez. She is the coordinator and ambassador of a Health and Wellness Event to coincide with the Oglala Lakota Pow Wow the first week in August. Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled for 2 years and this year is uncertain. Currently, Kristin is organizing Operation Donation Outreach and has challenged volunteers from all over the country to gather desperately needed supplies and goods for these people shut out and on lockdown. Kristin is one of a kind and who never stops thinking outside the box to be able to come up with ways to make meaningful contributions.
Beckham Slack turned 14 yesterday, but has already volunteered many more hours than the average person 2 or 3 times his age. His weekly commitment to volunteering at The Cave Collective's youth engagement center and coffee shop has fostered relationships with at risk teens and kids who needed a friend. His love of creativity and design was put to work as a props designer for Black Hills Community Theatre. Beckham has given time to organizations big and small, as well as serving as an 8th Grade Student Representative for South Middle School. He is the first to offer to shovel snow for elderly neighbors, has cooked meals for hundreds of unhoused neighbors and community members, and is often found helping with volunteer events ranging from Black Hills Works FashionABLE, to Toys for Tots, to Black Hills Ski for Light's Ski Swap. Beckham is truly an example of how to live in community - being a part of the village that creates cohesion and compassion everywhere he lands.
Another nominator states:
Beckham has showed up without fail to a weekly four-hour volunteer shift on our coffee bar at The Cave! He has helped lead two book clubs, helps set up and clean up events, and always welcomes new people with a big genuine smile.
Amelia is part of the SALSA (Service and Learning Student Association) Club at her school. She volunteers at every event and even recruits here friends and family members to do the same. She is the most selfless person I know, always wanting to give back and say thanks to those who give back with her. She truly wants the world to be a better place and she takes action to prove it.
For nearly two decades Smithfield has donated the meat that is used in each and every sandwich that goes into a lunch from Lunch is Served. It is always fresh and of the highest quality! We have made over 300,000 sandwiches! Over 20,000 during the pandemic. The commitment to providing lunches to the working poor of Sioux Falls in incomparable. In addition to their donation, they have a professional from Smithfield on our Board of Directors. Currently Kyle Bohms serves as Vice President. He has served for six years and was intricate in creating our annual fundraiser. This year is the 5th Annual Celebrity Chef Sandwich Battle! We are so grateful to Smithfield and to Kyle Bohms for all that they provide to Lunch is Served!
The South Sioux Falls Kiwanis club does projects to serve the children of the world. In Sioux Falls they strongly support the Toy Lending Library of South Dakota. They sponsor toy boxes but even more than that, once a month club members volunteer at the Toy Library to clean and sanitize toy boxes. They are amazing! They bring their smiles and caring hearts to accomplish a very important task.
All the returned toy boxes need to be cleaned and sanitized. That means that with the increase in toy box circulation, the work they do is even more necessary. More than 400 toy boxes were borrowed/renewed in January 2022 and all those boxes had to be cleaned.
We are very grateful for the Kiwanians that volunteer their time to help children learn through play! Of course… they also play while washing toys… they have serious fun while working.
The St. Therese Catholic Church Volunteers group includes Ed Adams, Tom Baumgartner and Gerald Kanta. These gentlemen assist the Meals on Wheels kitchen staff once a week in preparing and packaging meals. They also deliver meals once a week. When they deliver meals, our senior participants appreciate their conversations and interactions, in addition to the meal they deliver. Our kitchen staff enjoys their pleasant personalities and the assistance they give in packaging the meals. Working as a team, the three of them manage to package around 300 meals each week.
Daryl Stoltz has been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels since September 2019. Daryl is always dependable and willing to help deliver when we are short drivers in addition to delivering a regular route every week. On average Daryl delivers to 90+ senior participants every month! In addition to being an asset to Meals on Wheels, Daryl also volunteers for Feeding South Dakota.
The seniors Daryl serves find him extremely courteous and gracious. They look forward to seeing him each time he delivers.
Zelda has volunteered for the Salvation Army for over 17 years. Zelda comes every Monday to help sort clothes. She loves giving back to the community and volunteers at other organizations as well. Zelda is a kind hearted dedicated volunteer.
Peyton has served on the Youth City Council since January of 2020. Throughout that time, she has served as the chair of the Cultural Relations Committee and participated in a variety of community projects. Her determination and dedication in strengthening community relations is commendable. Through her leadership a vision statement was created which read, as youth of Rapid City, we value coming together to openly teach, learn, and respect all cultures to build a safer and stronger community. She also inspired her peers to engage in the Remembering the Children Memorial walk, learn more about Native cultural ceremonies and advocate for solutions that positively impact all community members.
Peyton has volunteered with Monument Health Foundation’s, “Tough Enough to Wear Pink,” campaign by folding t-shirts, provided youth insight at a Statewide Conference about mental health, and served as a violence prevention advocate in her Take ACTion facilitator role. We are also blessed to have Peyton’s voice in the work and action plan of the Student Voice Forum with Dr. Simon and the Communities that Care initiative with United Way.
Peyton has touched the lives of many community members through her work, dedication, and inspiration.
Tae Swanson is an exceptional young leader who inspires those around her to embrace life with courage and a zest for selfless service. She seems to be drawn to projects that promote diversity and an opportunity to learn more about people around her. She then naturally empowers them to stand up and speak out about what matters to them.
Tae has volunteered at the Remembering the Children Memorial Walk, advocacy walks for underserved or minorities, and through various theatre or art productions in our community. Everything she engages in positively impacts our community. She serves as the Secretary of the Rapid City Youth City Council where she has provided professional and thorough notes and communication documents in their work. The most appreciated quality of Tae is her willingness to take the time to lift others up. She is a role model for both children and adults.
Brian has volunteered at Canyon Lake Little League (CLLL) for the past 5 years. Not only has he served on the board but he also coaches a team every year. He is currently going on his second year as being president of CLLL and coaching a Majors team. While being president, he has implemented Fall baseball which CLLL never had in the past. He organized the program, gathered enough coaches and communicated this to the families at CLLL so CLLL could have this program. Not only was this a success but this Fall will be 3 years of the program and it continues to grow and change for the better as they learn what works and what needs improvement. Currently, there have been some changes within Rapid City baseball which has led to more meetings and conversations with other baseball leagues which always mean more time. Brian's heart is always what's best for the kids. He always makes sure the programs at CLLL benefit all kids no matter the backgrounds. He has a heart and talent to reach these kids and it's amazing to watch each kid develop and grow with a great coach like Brian.
Courtney is an amazing asset to the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House. She comes every Monday during our peak day hours to help staff with important front desk duties, such as answering phone calls, fielding guest requests, accepting donations and, honestly, making us all laugh! She was an immense help to our organization when the majority of our staff got COVID-19. When we were short-staffed, she helped us with essential clerical tasks that would have been very difficult to complete had she not come in on an extra day to help us. She brightens every Monday and she truly cares about the staff and guests, and we appreciate everything she does for us. She is kind, patient, and passionate. Thank you, Courtney!
Sara Timothy has volunteered on a regular basis at Abstinence Clearinghouse for the last 11 years. Despite her busy schedule as a self-employed business owner and mother of three children, Sara has served the organization and community with enthusiasm and humility.
The impact Sara has made on families in South Dakota is immeasurable. Annually, she assists Abstinence Clearinghouse in putting together events that serve hundreds of parents and teens in the Sioux Falls community. Sara graciously offers her professional expertise on video equipment, lighting and sound. Not only does she offer her knowledge and time, she also allows us to use her business’ equipment at no charge.
Sara has also volunteered her time as a speaker and motivator across the state. Sara exudes an uplifting, positive attitude each time she enters our facility. Sara regularly starts and completes projects without recognition or expectancy of praise. Sara’s willingness to share her background working with youth also gives our organization a fresh perspective on how to reach young men and women with positive messages. By sharing her time and talents, Sara consistently helps advance our organizations mission.
Dani has a HUGE heart for her Community and loves to serve! She volunteers with Girls on the Run, multiple organizations for Veterans and their families, Girl Scouts, and many other non-profits and community events. She frequently provides ideas and opportunities to include her co-workers in her volunteer efforts. It is such a blessing to work and volunteer beside someone with such big heart!
Barb has been a volunteer at our Rapid City Salvation Army Thrift Store for the last 2 years. She is retired from the Sheriffs office and enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering. Barb usually volunteers between 70 and 80 hours a month. She is a huge asset to our Thrift Store.
The Two Men and a Truck Sioux Falls team has lived out their motto as ""movers who care"" with EmBe: Dress for Success Sioux Falls . In addition to a city-wide clothing drive called "Movers for Moms," twice the crew donated their time and strength to helping us move inventory to our closet sale location. That means on two occasions the crew hauled a moving-truck's worth of clothing up multiple flights of stairs and across town.
Two Men and a Truck Sioux Falls continues to support EmBe and Dress for Success Sioux Falls and we are so grateful for their time and partnership.
Cheryl is a fairly new volunteer but she is putting in over 75 hours a month at the Spearfish Salvation Army thrift store. She is hard working and a dedicated volunteer
Lindsey gives of herself selflessly and is very passionate about people. She is so humble and does not do it out of recognition, but her kind spirit wants all people to be blessed! She will volunteer come rain or shine and even in sub-zero temperatures! She genuinely cares not only for people but the community as a whole and is a great representative of SD pride!! She volunteers with the homeless, goes on walks for warmth and buys necessities for things we all take for granted. Some of the organizations that she volunteers at are the Boy's Club, NAMI, Emerging Leaders of Rapid City, WAVI, Front Porch Coalition, The Letter Project, Americans for Prosperity, Feeding Rapid City, The Tim Tebow Foundation, and Hermosa T-Ball. She makes it a point to always greet everyone with a smile and tries to remember names of individuals she meets. She has dealt with many hardships in her life and does not let obstacles define her. She always says she is not a victim but a VICTOR!! She believes that one person CAN make a difference, but together we can move mountains! She has also instilled her enthusiasm for volunteering into her children at a young age so they are aware of peoples circumstances and they embrace that empathetic spirit. She is very deserving of this award (even though she will tell you she is not!)
Over the last few years, Isabel has transitioned from attending Siouxland Heritage Museums programs to volunteering to put them on. She has helped with the Pettigrew Murder Mystery, Voices from our Past, Pioneer Day Camp, the Halloween Party, and Homesteader Day. Isabel is always dependable, helpful, willing to do anything that needs to be done, and able to take responsibility and lead activities with minimal adult supervision. She does anything ranging from distributing candy and monitoring galleries on Halloween to demonstrating pioneer cooking techniques over an open fire to leading groups through Woodlawn Cemetery. In all of these activities, Isabel engages and informs people of all ages, helping them learn about the area’s history in a fun, interactive way.
Alonna began volunteering at the Outdoor Campus at the end of 2021 after participating in classes for years. She always shows up with a smile on her face and ready to help with anything. Alonna goes above and beyond to help at the Outdoor Campus, often going beyond what is ever asked of her. We love seeing her around the Outdoor Campus and are excited any time we see her sign up to help with classes!
Diane has been a volunteer for over 6 years with The Salvation Army. Diane is a full time RN but in her free time she loves to volunteer at the thrift store. Diane loves giving back to the community.
Grace has been a volunteer at the Outdoor Campus for over three years now. She is always eager to help with whatever is happening in the building, whether its classes or cleaning. Most days she's in, we struggle to get her to sit down and take a break. It's not out of the ordinary to see Grace stay hours longer than her scheduled volunteer shift so that she can help with additional classes or various other projects. Staff is always excited to see Grace each time she comes in! We are so grateful for all of her help at the Outdoor Campus!
Wambli Ska / Woyatan community opened their doors to serve unsheltered relatives on December 31. They have coordinated resources to provide food, clothing, boots, gloves, hats, blankets, and shelter. Most importantly their provided cultural care, compassion and coordination.
Jadyn has been a hospital Wayfinder since October 2021, and she has been a fantastic helper. She helps people find their way around our large facility, in addition to answering calls from multiple departments requesting her help with tasks. Jadyn is very dependable and is so helpful. Upon arrival to each shift, she will stop by and ask with a smile, "Is there anything extra I can help with today?" In healthcare, we have been very busy this past year, and Jadyn has jumped in to help with all sorts of extra tasks and projects. In the future, Jadyn would like to go into nursing for a career, and she started volunteering to get some experience. We are proud of her for great attitude, willingness to learn and grow, and being a big help to our patients and staff.
Kyle Weelborg, Sioux Falls Jaycee President, is a behind the scenes, don’t want credit for anything type person. In the 13 years Kyle has been a member, he has demonstrated his outstanding leadership skills and devoted many tireless efforts to the chapter’s signature projects. First is the Jaycees Haunted House. Kyle takes part of his vacation to manage the month-long haunted house build, oversees the volunteer base to bring the house alive, and manages the tear down. Second is the Casino night project which brings an “all-for-fun” Vegas style casino experience to business holiday parties, after prom-parties and the like. Kyle oversees the volunteer base, transports the casino equipment, and sets up and tears down room. Last is the Jaycees sandbox fill held each Spring in the Sioux Empire region. Kyle secures the sand and makes deliveries to residents and businesses in the community. In addition to volunteering with the Jaycees, Kyle also serves in the Kids Area at Celebrate Church He is also an awesome mentor. Kyle is always helping others out also - fixing a truck or helping someone move. Kyle is most deserving of being a Spirit of Volunteerism nominee.
During a time where affordable housing is a huge need in our community. Weisser Distributing made a financial investment by sponsoring a Habitat home and generously donated their time on our construction sites. In 2021, 41 volunteers from Weisser Distributing donated 348 hours on 3 different homes in Sioux Falls. The volunteers from Weisser Distributing worked on sheeting a roof, siding a home, and setting a foundation. Without financial investment and volunteers from companies like Weisser Distributing we would not be able to build homes, communities, and hope!
Sommer has been a volunteer with the Salvation Army for over 2 years. Sommer is a stay at home mom who is currently home schooling her children she loves to volunteer at her church and the thrift store.
Coach Beckahh has been a great asset to the YMCA Jr Skyforce Basketball program for the past couple years. She is willing to go the extra mile to give her three teams the best experience possible in the Jr Skyforce league. While most coaches opt to only have 10 kids max on their rosters, Beckahh allows anyone from Rosa Parks the chance to try basketball. Many times, her rosters had 16-17 kids and she always found a way to give them all playing time throughout the game. She worked with the YMCA to help lighten the financial burden of the program for those that need the extra financial assistance. Beckahh not only helps the kids learn basketball skills on the court but helps them learn life lessons off the court.
Barb and Kent Wigg are synonymous with volunteerism at the Washington Pavilion and their collective service exemplifies a sense of vocation that is unmatched in the history of the organization.
In their 16 years of combined service, Barb and Kent have volunteered nearly 4,000 hours in a catalogue of activities that nearly runs the gamut of Pavilion volunteer opportunities. They serve as ushers for Pavilion performances, are key players at Pavilion festivals and Free First Friday events, and are the essential ambassadors for the Pavilion’s museums. Any student who has visited the Pavilion on a field trip in the last decade has likely experienced Barb and Kent’s hospitality, knowledge, and generosity, be that on one of Barb’s legendary Visual Arts Center gallery tours or with Kent expertly guiding them through the facility as the Pavilion’s preeminent group concierge.
Sarah Goth from the Pavilion’s museums spoke in support of the Wiggs by saying, “They truly exemplify service and collaboration. They show up for their community by building a bridge for both children and adults of all levels of education and enthusiasm in our Visual Arts Center.” They say you are what you love; Barb and Kent Wigg ARE the Washington Pavilion.
Y~Me / Mike's Bikes began an on-site partnership at the HOPE Center just over a year ago. With very limited space and less than ideal convenience, Roberta was extremely excited about the opportunity to bring her bike program to the HOPE Center every Thursday. Roberta's passion for helping others is obvious and contagious. She holds people accountable, as she helps them maneuver through a complicated world. Roberta not only operates Mike's Bikes, but she also works 3-4 jobs at any given time. She makes the most of every minute of her day and puts others above herself consistently and without hesitation. Roberta expects sweat equity from those that receive a bike. It has been such a pleasure watching some of our guests work alongside Roberta and her team of volunteers. While their hands are busy, they have opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations. This has been a wonderful partnership and support for our guests.
Beth is the Co-president of the Autism Society of the Black Hills. After finding out our daughter was on the spectrum she wanted to be part of the outreach to encourage acceptance and inclusion for these children. For the past 3 years she has worked to handle many of the day to day operations for this organization. From organizing their yearly 5k run that funds most of their annual summer camp, to doing the administrative duties, she has always been eager to donate her time. I feel that because of her and the others in the organizations dedication they have been able to make an impact in the lives of the children with autism in our community.