Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeUncategorizedVolunteer Opportunities at Community Partners

Volunteer Opportunities at Community Partners

The mission of Community Partners, a ser­vice organization located in Two Harbors, is “Supporting the independence of people 55+…in the Two Harbors area.” Volunteers play a key role in Community Partners’ ful­fillment of their mission.

Whether it’s transportation, grocery shop­ping, event coordination, answering phones, helping with mailings, home visits, respite care, snow clearage, yard work, care pack­ages, Meals on Wheels, or many other tasks, volunteers get the job done through the facil­itation of Community Partners.

In 2022 alone 207 volunteers served 333 people, making a grand total of 5,120 hours of service. 17 volunteers drove over 13,000 miles bringing people to and from medical appointments, as well as running errands.

Husband and wife, Terry and Julie Hukrie­de, have been involved with Community Partners for many years. Terry first became involved due to a desire to serve the commu­nity, and he has a sense of fulfillment from helping out people “who truly need help and are so appreciative.” Terry considers the Two Harbors community blessed to have an orga­nization like Community Partners. “Not all people are so lucky,” he adds. “I have family in larger communities that have nothing like this available. I can only hope when I get to a point where I can use some help there is a service like this available.” He calls the staff­ “exceptional”, describing the personnel as “happy, caring…pleasant to work with.”

Terry grocery shops for homebound se­niors, delivers care packages on holidays and special events, and assists with programs and activities. He has also done a few hospital rides, as well as house calls for spring clean­up, including washing windows and perform­ing minor household repairs. Terry says, “I get much more out of these volunteer activi­ties than I feel I put into them.”

Julie Hukriede first became involved with Community Partners nine years ago when she moved to the Two Harbors area. She was “looking for ways to get involved in the com­munity and meet people.” Asked by a friend if she wanted to help with Health in a Bag, a program that provided groceries to indi­viduals at Bayview and Harbor Pointe, Julie began her work with Community Partners. Today, she serves on the Executive Board as co-chair and on the finance committee. She also assists with Meals on Wheels and gro­cery shopping, gives rides, and assists with fundraisers and local programs. Julie says, “I love all that Community Partners has to of­fer and how they have grown as the needs of those living in Two Harbors and the outlying area [have] grown and continue to grow. We are an aging community and the needs for our elderly will never go away, so this is a way to pay it forward.”

Volunteers Karen and Bill Hermanson are retired and in their 70’s, but like to remain active. Karen became involved with Com­munity Partners several years ago, when she co-led research-based “live well” classes for seniors through Juniper, a Minnesota organi­zation that helps communities “create a cul­ture of health, where prevention and wellness are the norm to giving seniors the tools to take control and manage their own health.” Though Community Partners is not presently offering these classes, Karen “thoroughly en­joyed the trainings and interactions with in­dividuals in the community through leading these classes.”

Later, Karen and Bill began to hold weekly wellness visits with a senior. They enjoyed getting to know each other and the three –

Karen, Bill, and the senior – looked forward to each visit. After COVID-19 ended these visits, Karen and Bill became substitutes in the Meals on Wheels program, a role they continue to this day. Karen says, “We en­joyed getting to know the seniors we shared meals with.”

Next, Karen became involved with the Groceries To Go program. She shopped for and delivered groceries to a senior for ap­proximately two years. “This was another mutually rewarding volunteer activity,” Kar­en recalls. She is presently a substitute in the program. Karen and Bill also deliver care packages prepared by Community Partners to seniors in the community. “It is heartening to see their joy in being remembered and receiving fun care packages,” Karen comments. “Again, I like [to] connect with all the lovely people. I enjoy getting out and being with people. I hope my volunteering enhances the lives of others. I need a purpose in my life and participating in Community Partners fills my need to be with others and help others. It is very rewarding.”

Volunteer Deade Box says, “Community Partners offers a wide variety of volunteer experiences that can suit a person’s talents, interests, and the amount of time they want to commit to volunteering. A volunteer is so important in…helping [aging adults] live a full life. The needs are great. I love volunteering for Community Partners!”

Community Partners is currently looking for more drivers for medical appointments, social events, and running errands; people to provide respite visits; and more drivers for weekly Meals on Wheels deliveries.

Program coordinator Dana Thewis describes the application process: “We have an application that we ask folks to fill out. Then I set up a time to meet with them to go over our program. We do a complete background check on all volunteers. If someone is unable to pass a background check, we do have opportunities that may work for them, too. For example, if a person’s driving record isn’t clear, they can still provide assistance at events, in the office, or for Chore Days.”

Most of Community Partners’ services are offered between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, but chores, events, and errands may fall outside these times, according to Thewis.

Karen Hermanson sums up Community Partners: “I feel that Community Partners is a wonderful organization doing many good things to help keep seniors in their homes and offering opportunities for social engagement.”

If you’d like to get involved or know someone who could benefit from Community Partners’ services, call 218-834-8024 or visit their website at https://communitypartnersth.org/ .

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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