The Head Start Program provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. The program is designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children’s physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills.
When the Yankton Area Head Start recently had a Teacher’s Assistant go on maternity leave, Area Manager Julie Nohr was unsure how she would be able to fill the staffing gap. Thankfully two well-qualified Retired & Senior Volunteer Program volunteers were ready and willing to lend a hand. Because of their valuable efforts, Sharon Egge and Sandi Isburg are United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton’s January Volunteers of the Month.
When asked about Egge and Isburg, Nohr stated “Sharon is kind, patient and the children adore her.” Nohr continued, “Sandi is a wonderful role model. Their backgrounds bring much expertise to our program.”
We asked Sharon and Sandi to tell us about their volunteerism in their own words.
I have lived here in the Yankton Area since: 1975 after graduating from USD.
I began volunteering: after “retiring” from working daycare for 20 years. I love working with kids so I was happy to find an opportunity with Head Start.
I continue volunteering because: I enjoy working with children. It’s fun working with others who also care about kids.
I volunteer at (list organizations and duties performed): Head Start and Sack Pack, and I’m also active at church.
Approximate hours per year that I volunteer: about 30 hours per month.
Volunteer work is enjoyable because: I get to meet many nice people, and I feel like I’m helping fill a need in the community.
My best volunteer experience was: getting to know the kids at Head Start and seeing their welcoming faces when coming in the door of the school!
The advice I would give to those thinking about getting out there and volunteering in their communities is: Get involved! I’m humbled by this award. I know lots of people that volunteer and contribute so much to our community!
I have lived here in the Yankton Area since: June 1975.
I began volunteering: about 1980.
I continue volunteering because: I am a “social person” and enjoy the interaction with others. I enjoy the satisfaction of helping others of all ages. It provides purpose and contentment in my life.
I volunteer at: Head Start by helping in the kitchen, serving food, eating with the children, and cleaning the dining area afterwards. I also volunteer at the Clothing Closet by sorting clothes and helping clients when possible, providing volunteer skilled nursing at the Servant’s Heart Clinic and volunteering as Parish Nurse at Calvary Baptist Church by providing some home care and education, and I maintain Advancement Tracking for the Boy Scouts.
Approximate hours per year that I volunteer: I do not know how many hours I volunteer during the year. I have not established a routine schedule. I try to provide support as the needs arise. (Though per RSVP Sandi volunteered 183 hours in 9 months’ time last year.)
Volunteer work is enjoyable because: I meet new people and maintain variety in my life. I work with the young and the old. It provides excitement. It is a natural antidepressant for me!
My best volunteer experience was: seeing that I could make a difference in a person’s life. Watching a family work together to help their family member, providing dignity to a person who was dying, respecting the family and individual during the journey of death. On the lighter side, I love watching children helping each other at Head Start. They have the natural joy from life and innocent curiosity.
The advice I would give to those thinking about getting out there and volunteering in their communities is: that there is something for everyone. There is a volunteer opportunity for those who like to work alone or in groups; for short or long intervals and commitments; in a high pressure environment or slow paced activity; in the home or out of the house. There is really no excuse for not volunteering because there is a volunteer opportunity of everyone. It is just a manner of taking a step out of your routine and giving a little of yourself to someone else!
For more information on volunteering or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, please contact United Way & Volunteer Services at 605-665-6766 or firstname.lastname@example.org