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May 29, 2013

The Volunteer Connection by Margaret Shultz

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist

Next month there will be an exciting new activity in Sturgis for young people aged 6 through 13.  The Trojan Youth Triathlon, conceived by Tom Shumaker and sponsored by several Sturgis businesses and organizations, will be held on June 22.  The triathlon will begin at 9 am with a swim at the Sturgis Community Pool then proceed to the bike leg and then the running leg, both of which will be done on a closed course for the safety of the children.  Shumaker stresses that this event is intended to help youngsters build several skills, including planning the tasks needed to be done when transitioning from one section of the event to the next and keeping focused on personal objectives.  Youth who are interested in participating in the triathlon are encouraged to sign up early and begin practicing.   Volunteers are also needed to help on the day of the event.  There will be tables to set up and take down, kids to be checked in, and water to be passed out on the course.  The time commitment for volunteers will probably be less than 3 hours.  If you have a child who is interested in participating or if you are willing to help that day call Sturgis Community Pool at 269-659-1585 or Tom Shumaker at 269-651-2413.

The United Way office is always a busy place and they are currently operating with a very small staff.  During the summer months there is a lot of activity preparing for the big silent auction that happens during fair week.  Donations need to be picked up and cataloged.  The phones need to be answered and a little light cleaning would help keep everything tidy and organized.  This would be a great opportunity for someone who needs to add to their community service resume or who is looking for experience working in a small office.  Call Kelly Hostetler at 269-467-9099 for more information.

Sometimes agencies ask for help in the form of information from the public.  Surveys are a method of asking the community about their wishes or their concerns.  The data from these surveys are then used to develop programming that helps to meet the needs identified.  There are two organizations in St. Joseph County that are currently conducting surveys that you may be interested in answering.  Centro VIDA has a survey that asks about interest in Spanish classes for businesses and organizations.  That survey is available at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D25W5NH.   The St. Joseph County Commission on Aging is also asking people who live in the southern half of the county to tell them what vision they have for services to seniors in the future.  That survey is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/coaonline or it is available on paper at the city and township halls or at the library.  People who live in the northern part of the county will have an opportunity to share their concerns in a separate survey later this year.

Other programs in St. Joseph County that are looking for volunteers and would like to be included in this weekly column are encouraged to register with United Way.  Contact Margaret Shultz, Volunteer Services Specialist, at 269-467-9099 or at volunteer.sjcuw@gmail.com.






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