Volunteers who offer their time and dedication to FamilyMeans help change lives everyday. Following are some of the stories from these volunteers, sharing their experiences in the community.
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Chris Wallberg served as the city clerk in Lakeland, Minn., for 15 years, but she knew her retirement would be filled with volunteer work. A cousin of hers volunteered for FamilyMeans and, following retirement, Chris followed in her footsteps. Chris has provided in-home respite care as a FamilyMeans volunteer for about two years with three different families.
“It’s been a really positive experience and FamilyMeans’ staff have been amazingly helpful,” said Chris, who has a grown daughter. Chris’ husband passed away from cancer in 2002. “I know what it feels like to need to step away and have some time alone. Often, illness is not a sprint but a journey.”
Chris currently provides in-home respite for the Kapells (see full story) and wants to be there to spend time with Bud and provide Leslie a break from her daily responsibilities.
“I try to be as flexible as I can,” said Chris, who added that she and Bud laugh often and enjoy looking at pictures together as well as swapping stories about family histories and their days at 3M. Bud has periods of time daily when his hands freeze and his eyes close, and Chris is nearby until the episode ends. “I am grateful for the support of FamilyMeans and for the process to be sure the Kapells and I were a good match.”
Chris said it’s in her nature to want to give back and make a difference in the lives of others, but acknowledged she believes she gets back a thousand times more from those she spends time with than what she’s provides as a volunteer.
FamilyMeans Caregiving and Aging is looking for more volunteers to provide in-home respite. Training is provided and volunteers are supported in their work. FamilyMeans will work to find you the right match and a time commitment that works with your schedule. If you have the time or interest to become a respite volunteer or learn more about the opportunities available, contact Dianne Vierling, Volunteer Coordinator at FamilyMeans at 651-789-4055 or DVierling@FamilyMeans.org.
For the past five years more than two dozen committee members have come together to plan the annual Power of the Purse event. The event consists of a fun morning of entertainment in hopes of raising money for the programs of FamilyMeans.
The committee comprises women who are busy moms, busy employees, and busy volunteers. They work together seamlessly to plan the activities, pound the pavement for silent auction items, and promote the event, which currently attracts nearly 350 attendees.
The goal: To create a memorable event that includes a focus on the work done by FamilyMeans coupled with how the agency’s programs and services help the people in our community. The event also helps create awareness about what FamilyMeans is all about and, in some cases, generates new volunteers to share their time and talent.
The result: In 2013, the most recent Power of the Purse event raised about $25,000. These proceeds will be used to support the programs of FamilyMeans in the areas of caregiver support; counseling and therapy; grief and loss; consumer credit counseling; and youth development in the communities of Landfall and Cimarron.