The VOA MN/WI AmeriCorps team recently shared their program impact with AmeriCorps North Central Region staff who were in Minneapolis for their staff retreat. Staff were on hand from eight states in the North Central Region (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI). They represented all AmeriCorps programs (AmeriCorps State & National, VISTA, AmeriCorps Seniors, etc.).
AmeriCorps team members Dagmar Koch and Jennifer Halberg, as well as Senior Vice President, Mission Advancement and Program Services, Julia Donaldson, represented VOA at the event. In efforts to give the regional staff a glimpse into the power of community partnerships through mobilizing volunteers who have significant impact, The team chose to show the power of mobilizing volunteers through community partnerships by focusing on their partnership with Open Arms of Minnesota. Open Arms provides free medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling services to people with life-threatening illnesses.
Dagmar and a representative from Open Arms provided an energetic and informative presentation that garnered interest and sparked inspiration.
Dagmar noted that she thought of Open Arms as a presentation partner because of their unique mission and service population and their dedication to their volunteers who make it all possible.
“I was very impressed by the incredible smells when I first visited Open Arms in Minneapolis,” Dagmar said. “The place is buzzing with voices and laughter, and it is super busy. The food is very fresh. The wonderful smells come mostly from the bakery. They bake the bread, cookies, and birthday cakes right at the site.”
In her role as the AmeriCorps Program Coordinator, Dagmar recruits, refers and supports volunteers serving at Open Arms.
“Open Arms gets all the work done with thousands of volunteers,” she notes. “They value their volunteers, and they truly acknowledge that they couldn’t do the work without them. You can feel it in the atmosphere when you enter the building that everyone is happy to be there,” Dagmar added.