Follow Katelyn as she explores Sheboygan County through volunteering opportunities.
One of my 2018 resolutions is to volunteer once a month at different nonprofit agencies. On January 24, I volunteered for the Point In Time Homeless Count, an experience I will never forget.
We all met that icy-evening at United Way on Erie Avenue in Sheboygan at 10 p.m. I sat next to my co-worker with curiosity on how we would ‘count’ homeless. The room was overflowing with volunteers and I found out I wasn’t the only ‘newbie’ volunteering that night.
Together with 38 other volunteers, we listened as Ruth Orozco, Community Resources Specialist from Lakeshore CAP, explained the process. In groups of three (four if they have enough volunteers), we were to drive to our designated area in Sheboygan County and stop at various locations listed in our folder. These folders also included various survey paperwork and community resource handouts.
If we found someone during our search, we were to approach them gently and ask kindly if they knew of anyone in need of shelter that night. The purpose of this interaction is to better understand the needs of homeless people so we could appropriately suggest resources for them.
Many people might not be aware of the various community resources available to them and, before working for United Way, I was oblivious to some of the primary challenges people face in our community. Awareness of the resource available to us in Sheboygan County is half the battle of providing assistance to those who need it and the Directory of Community Resources is a great place to familiarize yourself with those resources.
In our folders, we were provided flyer-sized listings of some of the basic resources available for emergencies. In handing this out, the hope is that people can find the support they need in our county.
I highly recommend checking out the full Directory of Community Resources found online at: http://mhasheboygan.org/resources/directory-of-community-resources/ This directory lists local agencies that provide services and/or programs that help people find the solutions they need.
Somewhere down the road you might run into a neighbor, co-worker, friend and/or family member that could use these services, so it doesn’t hurt to check out the directory.
I spoke with Orozco after the event and she was impressed with how many volunteers came out in the cold to complete the count. “I have conversations with surrounding areas that struggle to find enough volunteers,” said Orozco. “We are so lucky to live in a community where volunteering is a shared value.”
In conclusion, I gained awareness around a specific need in our county and met passionate people that share their time to help make a difference. I highly recommend this experience and want to share that the next PIT Count is in July. For more information about the next count, contact Ruth Orozco by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or watch United Way’s news section online.
My February volunteering spot is the Sheboygan County Historical Society and Museum. Feel free to join me in the “Give Back Challenge” and volunteer your time and/or talents during the year. Visit www.uwofsc.org/volunteer for volunteer opportunities that might interest you and fit into your schedule.
For more information, contact United Way of Sheboygan County by calling 920-458-3425 or emailing email@example.com.