Recently, at a United Way LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) social event, Mason and Kate Schramm were surprised to be awarded as United Way of Greater Yankton’s Volunteers of the Month in appreciation for their dedication in making our community the best it can be. Tara Bartekoske, United Way Community Impact Coordinator said of the couple “Mason and Kate are both so willing to help with anything anyone needs at any time. They are selfless and extremely giving of their time and talents. We are fortunate as a community that this young couple has returned, made Yankton their home, and are passionate about giving back.”
We asked Mason and Kate to share, in their own words, more about their volunteer efforts.
I have lived in the Yankton area:
Kate: I have lived in Yankton since I was 2 years old. I spent 5.5 years in West Virginia after college, but I returned home to be close to family and raise my children in a community that has the perfect mix of activities and amenities for all!
Mason: June 11th, 1988…. the day I was born! I moved away from Yankton after college for about 5.5 years but moved back in January 2017.
I started my volunteer work:
Kate: As soon as I was able to make meaningful movements, I was volunteering. Haha. My parents and grandparents have always been extremely involved in volunteer activities, and I tagged along from birth! I can't take credit for any actual work until I started to be able to pick up trash, hold doors, greet people, etc.
Mason: In elementary school by being an Altar-Server at Church.
I continue to volunteer because:
Kate: The word is out that I will say yes to just about anything, so I continue to volunteer because I continue to get asked, and I continue to get asked because I continue to volunteer! Just kidding! I wouldn’t have it any other way! At this point, volunteering is a way of life for me. I can't imagine having a week go by where my calendar wasn't filled with volunteer commitments.
Mason: Volunteering is rewarding and fun. I get to spend time with amazing people while using my time to give back to my community. I am equal parts humbled and energized through my volunteer work.
I volunteer with:
Kate: United Way SPARK- Vice President, United Way LINC, United Way Day of Caring, City of Yankton Parks Advisory Board, Keep Yankton Beautiful- Board Member, Pathways Shelter for the Homeless- event committee member and event volunteer, Habitat for Humanity- event volunteer, Trinity Lutheran Church- Sunday school teacher, Optimist Club-concession stand and special events, tutoring, Boys and Girls Club- event volunteer, Missouri River Clean-up, Parents as Teachers- event volunteer, Lewis and Clark Disc Golf- event volunteer, Servant Hearts Clinic- event volunteer, Helpline Center 5K- event volunteer, Czech Days-food service in Beseda Hall, River City Family Connections- event volunteer, National softball tournament volunteer, support staff for any of Mason's volunteer activities
Mason: Habitat for Humanity - Board of Directors, Meridian District - Board of Directors / Event Volunteer, One Million Cups – Organizer, United Way LINC- Steering Committee Member/Volunteer, United Way SPARK - Event Volunteer, Optimist Club - Member/Volunteer, Pathway's Shelter for the Homeless - Event Volunteer, River City Family Connections – Volunteer, Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes - Volunteer/Participant, Hillcrest Golf and Country Club - Pro-Am Volunteer, Meridian Association of Realtors - Secretary/Treasurer, SD Association of Realtors - Realtor Political Action Committee Member, Parent's as Teachers - Event Volunteer, Trinity Lutheran Church - Sunday School Teacher, Boys and Girls Club – Volunteer, Lewis and Clark Disc Golf - Event Volunteer, United Way Day of Caring - Event Volunteer, Tabor Czech Day's - Event Volunteer, Helpline Center 5k - Event Volunteer, Servant Hearts Clinic 5k - Event Volunteer, Yankton National Softball Tournament - Volunteer
Approximate hours per year that I volunteer:
Kate: I had honestly never thought about the number of hours before this moment. Adding it up seems wrong! I think I can safely say I spend about 500 hours a year on volunteer work.
Mason: I volunteer 500+ hours per year
Volunteer work is enjoyable because:
Kate: It always involves an opportunity to engage with wonderful people or meaningful work that will positively impact wonderful people! I have met some of my best friends by volunteering alongside of them. It keeps me active, and I have had the privilege of learning about some amazing services in our community through my volunteer work. It has enriched my heart, my head, my body, and my soul.
Mason: The people I get to meet, spend time with, help, learn from and laugh with creates a rewarding experience that can't be replicated. Often, I get to volunteer with my wife. Our jobs and lives are hectic, so getting to spend time together while improving our community is a huge bonus.
My best volunteer experience was:
Kate: There's no way I can answer this! There are some that I love because the work would not get done if volunteers didn't take on the task. There are some projects I love because they challenge my mind. I can't help but feel sappy when a child gives me a hug and tells me I am the coolest person ever. Some work is awesome because I am doing it with my best friends. Volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to my heart has special meaning. See, it's impossible for me to choose!
Mason: I can't answer that question. It would be impossible to choose.
The advice I would give to anyone thinking about volunteering:
Kate: Stop thinking about it and get involved ASAP! While volunteering will benefit your community, I guarantee it will benefit you even more! I truly feel guilty when someone thanks me for my service at an event or for helping with something administrative because I should be the one saying thank you for the opportunity to serve!
Mason: Don't be afraid about not knowing what to do. Put yourself out there and offer your time. You will quickly find that you need volunteering as much as volunteer opportunities need you.
For more information on United Way LINC, local volunteer opportunities, or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, visit www.yanktonunitedway.org/volunteer, email email@example.com or call (605)665-6766.