Patricia Garcia, Coordinator
Class of 2013|
Major: English, ARMS
The St. Olaf College Volunteer Network is committed to providing volunteer opportunities for students that benefit both St. Olaf and the larger community. As a student organization, its goal is to make a variety of volunteer programs available to students; some will be one-time events and others will provide for lasting participation. VN provides a wide range of services for children, the elderly, individuals with special needs, pets, and more. Feel free to stop by the Volunteer Network desk in the Student Activities Office (Buntrock Commons 107, P.O. Hallway).
Contact the coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in volunteering or starting a volunteer program.
Events & Links
Click to See All VN Programs
Click on a program to see an expanded description and contact information.
English Second Language
Program Directors: Lauren Bahls and Sarah Maguson (email@example.com)
Volunteers have the opportunity to assist immigrants in learning English as a second language through a variety of activities. Opportunities focus on group or one-on-one tutoring. The age of the students varies from the early twenties to middle-aged adults. No foreign language skills or previous experience is required.
Program Directors: Melanie Schowalter and Emma Balfanz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opportunities for volunteers at the Northfield Hospital include the following: support for patients in the 40-bed skilled nursing facility, clerical support for staff and short term projects – e.g. entertainment for patients. Students can choose to volunteer in the following departments: Long Term Care Center, Emergency Room, or Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. A series of two TB tests and orientation are required for registration into the program. Volunteers must be willing to dedicate 2 hrs/week at the hospital.
Program Director: Katie Udenberg (email@example.com)
The Nightingale Project will provide mentors for middle school girls in town. The mentors meet with their mentees for about an hour per week and have one large group activity per month focusing on positive self-esteem.
Reaching Our Goals
Program Directors: Elspeth Keables, Eliza Johnson, Sara Schaenzer, Lauren Carlson, and Tracie Dahl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Reaching Our Goals (ROG) program is a mentoring and empowerment program for Northfield Latino youth grades 6th- 12th. We pair youth participants with St. Olaf student mentors for weekly meetings. We also facilitate at least one educational, recreational or cultural event each month for the youth and their mentors.
Hoops of Hope
Program Director: Pat Delahunt (email@example.com)
Service organization that raises money for AIDS awareness and aid to victims in Africa by hosting an annual basketball shooting event.
Ole Spring Relief
Program Directors: Ben Wilson, David Segar, and Gina Collings (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Annual large-scale spring break service trip.
Program Directors: Bryce Mikel and Jake Roskam (email@example.com)
Each volunteer will be paired up with a resident at the Northfield Retirement Community (NRC) where they will visit and share stories. Transportation and training is provided.
Northfield Retirement Community
Program Director: Erin McAllister (firstname.lastname@example.org)
St. Olaf students spend time talking with residents in a group setting each week. Students also participate in a variety of activities including Christmas caroling and ice cream socials.
Spread the Hope
Program Director: Kris Amundson (email@example.com)
Spread the Hope allows students to become directly involved with exciting volunteer opportunities related to fighting cancer and touching the lives of those affected by cancer. Activities include fund raising for local causes, making holiday cards for Ronald McDonald House, campus hallway decorating for cancer awareness, and food and DVD drives. Volunteers can choose when and how they would like to help with the program.
Program Director: Natalie Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Awesome Club: a social skills program for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism is a neurological disorder primarily affecting one’s ability to communicate; people with ASD have a hard time understanding facial expression, body language, and everyday social context that comes naturally to most. As if middle school and high school weren’t tough enough as a regular teen, imagine how hard it would be for someone with Autism. My inspiration for founding Awesome Club in 2008 came from my younger brother Trevor, who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. Watching my brother eat lunch alone every day at school was heartbreaking. One day Trevor came to me in tears, apologizing for not understanding how to make friends. I want to give kids like Trevor a chance to act like normal teens that sit with other students at lunch and hang out with friends after school. A social skills class put into Trevor’s curriculum during his junior year of high school changed his life. For the first time, he has someone to sit with at lunch; he has even joined several after school activities with some of his “buddies.” Social skills programs boost the self-esteem of individuals with ASD and prepare them for life after high school when communication is key to success in the work field and in life. Activities at Club each week include group games, team building activities, and discussions relevant to their lives. Most importantly, we hang out and have a great time! It sounds simple, but providing a social atmosphere for kids with Autism to hang out and act like “regular” teens is of great worth! Improving QUALITY OF LIFE is what this program is all about. In addition to the actual social skills program that meets each week, Awesome Club is planning some awareness efforts and fund raising events for Spring 2010. If you are interested in providing support in this manner, please contact me at email@example.com. To see what we do at Awesome Club on a weekly basis, please visit nataliedavis.weebly.com and click “Awesome Club” and/or “Blog.”
Program Directors: Sarah Longfield and Aaron O’Donnell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We spend time with the elderly residents at Millstream Commons Assisted Living Facility, talking and playing games (dominoes, 500, scrabble, bingo, yahtzee, puzzles, skip bo). We form strong relationships with the residents there, because we are a small group and so are they!
Program Director: Lindsay Berg (email@example.com)
Lifehouse started as a Honor House project in 2008 as a way of reaching out to the residents of the Long Term Care Center at the Northfield Hospital. We organize bi-montly events for the residents, incorporating the many talents and skills of the honor house members as well as the greater St. Olaf community. Examples of activities include watercolor, spa-days and a performance by the Limestones. Lifehouse encourages students to volunteer with us and get to know the residents of the Long Term Care Center. Transportation will be provided.
Feed My Starving Children
Program Director: Ellen Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Christian organization that started in Minnesota in 1987. In FMSC’s 3 permanent Twin Cities locations, volunteers package nutritious meals (rice, soy, freeze-dried veggies, and vitamins) that get sent to starving children around the world. A streamlined assembly-line process allows for quick packaging–and requires many volunteers. A group of St. Olaf students will go to the Eagan site for a 2-hour shift one Monday and one Wednesday a month, September through May (transportation provided). Oles can attend just one trip or go multiple times throughout the year.
Program Director: Amber Hesse (email@example.com)
The mission of HealthFinders Collaborative is to provide quality, accessible and culturally appropriate healthcare services, at no cost, to low-income and unisured residents of greater Rice County. HealthFinders allows students to become directly involved in translating services (in Spanish for doctors and patients) of the clinic. The clinic is located on County Road 88/103th St. in Dundas – volunteers will need transportation to get out there.
Stitches for peace
Program Director: Josalan Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stitches for Peace is an organization dedicated to outreach in both the local and global community. Members meet weekly to knit, crochet, or sew clothing, blankets and other items to donate to various charities. Members will teach anyone interested how to knit or crochet so that they too can participate in the group’s efforts. Students, faculty and community members are all welcome to join!
Beyond Global Awareness
Program Directors: Lauren Arnesen and Kirsten Peterson (email@example.com)
The Global Awareness House aims to raise awareness of international issues and cultural events on campus. Each month we will focus on a different country and hold discussions, documentary showings, and presentations about the country. In addition, we are visiting a 5th grade class at Greenvale Elementary each month teaching the students about the month’s country. We also have organized for the 5th graders and current St. Olaf students on Global Semester to correspond as pen pals.
Program Directors: Carolyn Raitt and Libby Nail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Blue Key is an honor society for servant leadership. It sponsors the biannual Red Cross blood drive and other service projects. Students are inducted their sophomore or junior years on the basis of faculty recommendations and an application. Go to our website, www.stolaf.edu/orgs/bluekey, for information about our Last Lecture Series.
Campus Community Connection
Program Director: Christine Waldron
As the college-community liaison, our house will maintain important Northfield connections by spreading awareness on the local, national, and global issue of hunger. As a home base for the collection of food and clothes, we will be working directly with Northfield’s Community Action Center in the food shelf and Thursday’s Table. We hope to be a strong voice for community involvement through donation drives, awareness campaigns, and discussion panels. By collaborating with other organizations, we hope to present the information and ultimately a call to action for students, faculty, and community members alike.
Program Director: James Cahalan (email@example.com)
GEAR Network is a newly formed group of undergraduate men at St. Olaf College. We have observed the ways in which masculinity can manifest itself in a collegiate environment — both positively and negatively. In order to explore these pertinent issues further, we are creating a forum that promotes healthy forms of masculinity. This includes raising questions such as what it means to be a man on a college campus and how negative masculinity hurts community. Specifically, we are concerned with the prevalence of and negligence paid to sexual assault on college campuses. Our organization’s goal is to combat such negative expressions of masculinity by creating an environment that welcomes open dialogue about masculinity. We will create open dialogue by hosting bi-monthly discussions focusing on articles and journals written about related topics, monthly movies and speakers, and various campus wide awareness campaigns.
Program Director: Audrey Phillips (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Head Start is a preschool program for children of low-income families. In Northfield, there are two classrooms of children from ages three to five. The classes run Monday-Thursday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Also, there is a parents’ meeting once Thursday a month from 6-7 pm; volunteers are needed to help play with the children while the parents are at the meeting. Much of the program’s funding is based on the number of volunteer hours, so they heavily depend on volunteer efforts.
Program Directors: Alison Seline and Elizabeth Stiles (email@example.com)
Duties include walking the dogs and socializing with the cats. Occasionally other small duties will be assigned by the staff. Volunteers need to understand the aspects of running a shelter.
People Serving People
Program Directors: Cary Schlick and Sarah Warth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
People Serving People is the largest homeless shelter in Minneapolis, providing both emergency and empowering services to families who need assistance. We go to the shelter several weekends per semester to serve hot meals that are prepared by cooks in a cafeteria-style serving line. We get to meet people from all walks of life through the kitchen staff as well as the residents. Transportation provided.
Program Directors: Erin Meyer, Emma Belfanz and Ingrid Narum Warth (email@example.com)
In Project Friendship, students are paired with children from the Northfield community and they spend an hour per week together “hanging out” on campus- playing games, throwing a baseball, making cookies, etc. Students serve as role models to the children. They will also attend seasonal events for all of the Project Friendship programs at St. Olaf such as a Halloween party, a Christmas party, etc.
SARN and HOPE Center
Program Director: Kathryn Southard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mission: The Sexual Assault Resource Network, SARN, takes a stand against sexual assault and intimate violence on the St. Olaf campus through supporting survivors and raising awareness in the college community.*** SARN advocates are a group of caring and committed state certified sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse student advocates. SARN is a CONFIDENTIAL source on campus. Our principle concern is making sure that survivors of sexual, domestic and emotional abuse find their needs and concerns met with compassion and competence at St. Olaf College. Our services include: victims’ rights and legal advocacy, crisis intervention, referrals, assistance with administrative hearing processes, education and information on sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and healthy relationships or just someone to talk to. Advocates are on call nightly from 8 pm to 8 am during the academic year at x3777. We are also available during Chapel time in our office in room 113 Buntrock during the weekdays, and for other appointments times email email@example.com. We also offer a support circle for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. To learn more about participating in our support circle e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For statistical infomation on sexual assault go to www.rainn.org. For free STD testing check out the Red door clinic at www.co.hennepin.mn.us
St. Olaf Cancer Connection (SCC)
Program Director: Kate Tonsager (email@example.com)
St. Olaf’s Cancer Connection (a.k.a. SCC) is a service organization designed to provide cancer-related opportunities in the areas of volunteering, cancer education, outreach and fund-raising for not only the St. Olaf community, but also residents of Northfield and surrounding areas. SCC plans, organizes, and runs the Northfield area Relay For Life. Annual Events include Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House Charities Date Auction, Holiday Gift Drive for the Children’s Hospital, and the Protect Your Balls Dodgeball Tournament. There is a new Cancer Support group for survivors and close friends and family of survivors. SCC organizes monthly cancer awareness events organized by month as follows: October (Breast Cancer), November (Lung), December (Pediatric), January (Testicular, Prostate, and Ovarian), February (Intestinal), March (Brain), April (RFL), May (Skin Cancer). Cooks for Kids events are held at the Ronald McDonald Houses in Rochester and Minneapolis several times each year. Check out our website for information on meetings and events. AS ALWAYS, NEW MEMBERS ARE WELCOME AT ANY TIME!
St. Olaf Queer Support and Outreach
Program Director: Matt Sweeney and Brian Walpole (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The mission of STOQSO (ST Olaf Queer Support and Outreach) is twofold. First, we seek to bridge the gaps between the GLBTQA community groups in Northfield, providing connections between St. Olaf’s GLOW!, Carleton’s In and Out, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Northfield High School’s Rainbow Raiders. Second, we seek to provide a safe space for all students, regardless of sexual of sexual orientation and gender identity.