10 Year Volunteers: Sue, Rhoda, and Joann
April 17th, 2023
Sue started volunteering with HOPE 4 Youth in November 2012. She started as a volunteer in the Donations Center. At this time the entire organization was run by volunteers. Not too long after she started she was asked to be a Volunteer Lead and has been one since! Sue became involved with HOPE 4 Youth after being retired for a year. She explained she was looking for something meaningful to do that would help others. She made this powerful statement:
“I wanted to do something and not be paid. I worked my whole life and was paid. I wanted to help the community and not be paid.”
Some of her friends were talking about HOPE 4 Youth and had invited her to join them. She connected with our mission right away. She said, “I especially had feelings for the LGBTQ+ youth who were homeless, having a son of my own who became a victim of bullying in school.”
Sue continues to be involved with HOPE 4 Youth because she has met so many nice people who have become her friends. She said, “I look forward to Wednesdays and enjoy working with the other volunteers. We work hard but we also have fun.” She loves the challenge of figuring out problems and working with the HOPE 4 Youth staff to make Donations the best it can be. Sue stated, “When I look at how far we’ve come since the beginning, I feel proud. I’m grateful for all the volunteers who have contributed their ideas and hard work to make everything run so smoothly.”
Being involved with HOPE 4 Youth for 10 years, Sue has learned our community has a great need. With this, she has noticed we have one of the most caring communities that want to help by donating items and time. Personally, Sue noted volunteering has improved her mental and physical health, problem-solving skills, creative skills, and overall self-confidence.
Rhoda become involved with HOPE 4 Youth in 2013. She had stopped working six months prior. During those months she began to feel like she was watching the world go by. One day she read an article in the newspaper about a young girl whose hair had been frozen to the ground. This story really struck Rhoda. She was shocked to learn the reality of homelessness in Anoka County. Soon after she became involved with HOPE 4 Youth as a Donations volunteer.
Being involved in Donations for 10 years, Rhoda has had the opportunity to learn about all of the different services and organizations within our community. She explained there is a lot of stuff that gets donated that HOPE 4 Youth can’t use, but there are other community organizations that will. Rhoda noted there are so many people in need in our community, working with other organizations allows us to help other causes and make sure nothing is going to waste.
Rhoda continues to be involved with HOPE 4 Youth because she recognizes there are so many people in need. She sees value in helping these youth. Rhoda pointed out,
“That’s our future. The youth are our future. If we just let it go, what do we have left?”
With this, she explained being involved gives her a purpose and something to look forward to every week.
Joann started at HOPE 4 Youth in the fall of 2013. At the time, she was volunteering at another organization that had an abundance of clothing. She heard briefly of HOPE 4 Youth while helping with another program and read an article about HOPE 4 Youth in the paper. She approached their booth at the Ramsey Happy Days celebration to ask if they needed any clothing from the organization she was currently helping. In return, the HOPE 4 Youth representative asked her if she wanted to volunteer. It sparked her interest, but it wasn’t until she received a phone call that she decided to go to the volunteer training. In this training, her eyes were opened to the high number of homeless youth in Anoka County.
Joann has worked in donations for 10 years now. She continues to keep the clothing stocked for the youth in the closet. She stated, “We are so thankful for the generosity of this community from businesses and individuals.” She also mentioned even though she is not directly involved face-to-face with the youth there is a lot to be done behind the scenes. She said,
“Everyone has their part and I so appreciate working with my coworkers on Wednesday mornings.”
Joann feels as though being involved with HOPE 4 Youth has kept her younger. It provides her with a structure that she believes to be important for everyone. Also, she said it gives her a purpose, she feels like she is making a difference every time she volunteers.
These three volunteers have been a part of HOPE 4 Youth for 10 years now. They have worked alongside each other for the same amount of time. Sue, Rhoda, and Joann have become friends through their belief in HOPE 4 Youth’s mission and their personal drive to make a difference. Collectively they praised the generosity of the community we live in. We are so thankful to have such dedicated and caring individuals volunteering at HOPE 4 Youth. Thank you, Sue, Joann, and Rhoda for all your hard work!
If you are interested in volunteering at HOPE 4 youth head to our Volunteer page! https://www.hope4youthmn.org/volunteer/