FREMONT — Each year, members of Leadership Sandusky County (LSC) volunteer hundreds of hours to a local charity as part of the group’s leadership training, but this year’s group chose to do something a little different.
Instead of focusing on helping one organization, they spread their volunteer efforts among several deserving groups in the area.
“We decided we could do many things and meet many needs in the community. We will do 500 hours of community service. It works out to about 25 hours per person,” said LSC member Angela Wheeler, who works as a training officer with Sandusky County Child Services.
Volunteers can make their hours more flexible, help more people
The multi-agency volunteer plan will spread the group’s assistance to many people across the county while helping members fit LSC commitments into their busy schedules. Staffing shortages across the county have made those schedules tighter than ever.
“A lot of our members were talking about their employers’ staffing issues. They work a lot of overtime,” Wheeler said. “It’s a way to support your employer while continuing to meet the needs of the community.”
Members have invested many hours in community service throughout the county, including volunteering at the THINK Manufacturing Showcase at Terra State Community College, which exposed ninth graders across the county to career opportunities in manufacturing.
“Students came from every school in the county, including Ross, Lakota, Clyde and St. Joe. We volunteered to escort the kids to train stations for the day,” said Abby Roberts, LSC member and career specialist at Ohio Means Jobs.
Helped with the Terra State Community Christmas Campaign
The Christmas season provided several volunteer opportunities for the group, including helping with the Community Christmas Campaign at Terra State’s Neely Center.
“Personally, I had the most fun with it. Different community organizations have come together to help. It was such a happy and positive event,” Wheeler said. “You look at this room full of toys, knowing that the community has come together to provide them to children. It made me proud of the community.
When the group learned that Share and Care planned to distribute parcels filled with blankets, pillows and hygiene products to needy teenagers in the area, they decided to provide Christmas bags.
“We didn’t want them delivered in garbage bags, so we bought 100 ‘Santa Sacks’ for them,” said LSC member Arcadia Thurn, business services consultant for Ohio Means Jobs. “All the members donated $10 to buy the bags.”
Other past projects include making Buckeye candy as a fundraiser for the Building Community Together youth council and aiding the downtown Fremont New Year’s Eve event.
“It was fun selling tickets and helping raise money for the community,” Roberts said.
More projects planned, more volunteers needed
Future projects include painting the YMCA walls, cleaning the village house, and helping with the mother/son dance at Gibsonburg Elementary.
“We’re looking for more volunteer opportunities, so people can contact us with ideas,” Thurn said.
One of the goals of LSC is to give its members the opportunity to learn more about the county and the people who live and work there. This year’s focus on volunteering for many organizations has given members greater exposure to county resources.
“I think the best part of LSC for me was the networking opportunities. I went to a United Way board meeting and was even offered a place on the board,” Thurn said. and the events we attend allow us to network with many business professionals.”
New relationships help volunteers do their job better
These relationships help make them better employees.
“Making these connections helped me discover services in the community that can help my clients at work,” Roberts said.
LSC members are selling tickets for the March 24 March Madness Spring Raffle fundraiser. A $25 ticket includes dinner and 25 raffle tickets for a chance to win one of many raffle prizes.
To purchase March Madness tickets or enlist the help of volunteers, visit leadershipsanduskycounty.org or contact LSC at [email protected]com.
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]