Bridging the Generation Gap Through Volunteering

By Kaitlyn Schmitt, UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Club Member and Service to Armed Forces Chair

11045509_409289322566098_3802830992405436313_nOn Sunday, March 8th, members from the UWO American Red Cross Club visited King Veterans Home and assisted with Bingo with the veterans. This was the club’s third time volunteering with our heroes at King. We assisted the veterans to their seats, and once we heard someone yell “Bingo,” we checked their cards and handed out prize quarters. When the veterans entered the room and saw us, they got so excited to see a young group of caring and dedicated women who want to make an impact in the lives of our nation’s true heroes.

UWO American Red Cross Club member, Courtney Gussert stated: “It was a great time at King Veterans Home as many of the veterans along with the women instantly had a smile on their faces when they entered the bingo room and saw us.  There was tension in the air during bingo as you could tell how competitive some of the veterans got to win a quarter.  It was eye-opening to see the beautiful location on the water along with the high-tech underground transportation system.  Volunteering here was a fun experience which I hope UWO American Red Cross Club decides to do again!” Ali Sommerfeldt also noticed the smiles of the veterans and stated: “There were many times when I would catch a resident’s eye while we were playing bingo and they would just beam over at me. It is the best feeling knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s day just by spending a few hours with them.”

Rachael Carlson recounted: “I thought that it was an amazing experience to be with a generation we’ve heard so much about. In school, we learn what these people have been through. But it’s not every day that you get the chance to socialize with them. This experience really showed me how happy people can get from little things like bingo and quarters, and reminded me that it’s the little things in life that matter.”

Getting to talk with the veterans was very eye-opening and it was amazing to put a smile on these incredible people’s faces. I feel extremely blessed to have been given this opportunity to spend time with such an amazing group of individuals – those who selflessly served our country for the freedom that we have today and who have given so much for others. It is an incredible feeling spreading hope and joy to the veterans and making a positive impact in their lives. Seeing the excitement and gratitude on their faces makes what I do all worthwhile. Club member, Brooke Trzebiatowski, also enjoyed the experience and exclaimed: “Going to the veteran’s home was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed how excited all of the residents got because we were there to help, and it was really cool to see the place! I would love to go again! They were a blast to be around!”

These veterans, who have served our country, make us honored to serve them. Nicole Knudtson expressed: “I loved helping out with bingo today! The veterans all seemed to have a good time and their excitement when they got bingo made my day. Several veterans thanked us for our service at the end, and I wish I would have thanked them all for theirs. We did just one simple task, but they did so much for us!”

13689_409289622566068_5496886729755606408_n

Volunteering at King was a very rewarding experience and I look forward to more opportunities volunteering with these brave men and women again in the future. It is always heartwarming to see the impact that I have on individuals – especially those that helped give us our freedom. This month is Red Cross month, and I feel absolutely honored to be a part of the American Red Cross commitment to providing services to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Getting involved with the American Red Cross was the best decision that I have ever made, and I am blessed to be able to do so much for Services to the Armed Forces and see the immeasurable power of volunteering positively impact our American heroes.

Welcome Paige – Disaster Services Intern

Paige BurgessMy name is Paige Burgess. I am currently a junior at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. I am majoring in Human Services Leadership and hope to go on to graduate school. Currently I am a part of the Human Services Leadership Organization, along with going on my fourth year in the University Honors Program and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Swim team. I have always wanted to help as a profession, even as a child. When I was younger I wanted to help animals and now my interests have grown to helping anyone I can. When I learned about this major I knew I had found what I’ve been looking for. I have been a lifeguard for about five years and knowing that Red Cross does the training was about all I knew about this organization until I did my research. I am truly honored to be interning with the Northeastern Wisconsin American Red Cross team. The amount of work and dedication they have for helping people in need is overwhelming and I am happy that I get to be a part of it.

A little bit about me: I am from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin where my love for helping started. In high school I joined my church on several mission trips. We went to New Orleans twice to help with the destruction from hurricane Katrina and we went to New York to volunteer with multiple soup kitchens and other churches. Coming from a smaller town these experiences really allowed me to see another side of life. Although I am unsure on what I want to do as a profession, I am excited to experience as much as life will offer.

Being given the opportunity to intern with the Red Cross I believe will show me many aspects of my major that I have not considered yet and hopefully this will lead me in the direction of what I would like to do in the future.

Get to know: Jenny Berry, Summer Intern

 

By Jenny Berry, American Red Cross Intern 

photo1 (1)My name is Jenny Berry. I am currently a well-rounded student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. I am pursuing a degree in Human Services Leadership with a Sustainability Management minor. I just finished my junior year and was rewarded my sixth semester Dean’s list. I am currently an active member of Alpha Xi Delta National Sorority, Human Services Leadership Student Organization, Golden Key National Honor Society, and lastly and most recently I have become a member of the UWO American Red Cross Club. Since I did not join until spring of 2014, I was not as involved as I would have liked to have been. Fortunately, I have recently achieved a position on the executive board as Public Relations Chair. I am truly honored to be a part of such an inspiring and helpful organization that went above and beyond this year and won the New Emerging Organization of the year on campus! My future goals are to continue my education in graduate school as well as use my past education, skills and experiences to advocate, empower, volunteer, and help others in need whether that be through disaster services, environmental services, or advising/counseling.

A little bit about me besides campus life: I was born in Bloomington, Illinois and raised in Deforest, Wisconsin. I was on the Varsity softball team from my freshman to senior year of high school. I also played varsity volleyball as well. Playing sports since a little girl has given me more attributes than I could have ever dreamed of. I love being outdoors which is why I am also interning through the University Clean Bloats Clean Waters program to educate and spread awareness of Aquatic Invasive Species.  Whenever possible my ultimate passions are to spend time with my family and my friends and to lend a hand to those in need.

It was not until recently, that through the media and volunteerism, I saw how impactful and supportive the American Red Cross was to all of the members of its communities that I truly wanted to “get my feet wet” and assist in preventing and easing the pain of others.  I am very excited to be have been blessed with the opportunity to intern with the Northeastern Wisconsin American Red Cross team this summer and work along with some truly amazing individuals to support and give compassion to those we are suffering.  I look forward to all that I will gain through this experience in and out of the office.

Giving Back to our American Heroes

By: Kaitlyn Schmitt, UWO Red Cross Club, Service to Armed Forces Chair

bingoroom

The UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club joined Americorps Vet Corps and Adrianne Benson, Americorps Vet Corps member and Red Cross volunteer, to return to volunteer at King Veteran’s Home on March 16th. This time, we provided help with multiple activities. Half of the volunteers helped with a game of bingo and the other half went downstairs to the bowling alley for some rounds of bowling and snacks.

I volunteered with Bingo and I passed out prize quarters and collected bingo cards. We even had coffee and cookies for the Veterans. The Veterans got so excited when they won, and I heard a lot of them calling out their own numbers they needed to win. Bingo was very competitive. There was lots of great socialization and laughter heard in the room. I had several Veterans come up to me afterwards and thank me for being there. Then I thought, “Wow, we should be the ones thanking them for their service!” It was another incredible opportunity to give back to those who selflessly served us. UWO Red Cross member, Samantha Johnson, stated: “It’s a great feeling being able to give back to the veterans who risked their lives for our country.”

The bowling alley was full of excitement as well. The veterans definitely taught us younger volunteers how to bowl! It was exciting to see their faces as they knocked all the pins down.

UWO Red Cross President, Angie Dusenberry, exclaimed: “Bowling with the Veterans from King could not have been a more rewarding experience. It was heart-warming to be able to share the laughs and great experiences with the individuals who gave me my freedom – even if they did kick my butt in bowling!”

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members  Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

(l-r) UW Oshkosh Red Cross Club Members
Brenna Schobert , Angie Dusenberry, Kaitlyn Schmitt and Samantha Johnson.

The Veterans had a blast bowling and still have the skill. UWO Red Cross member, Brenna Schobert, expressed: “It was amazing to spend just a few hours giving back to those who gave up so much for our country. They are incredible people and I feel truly blessed to have helped to put a smile on their faces.”

Several of the veterans thanked us and said that they hope we return to volunteer again. We will definitely be returning for more fun-filled days with the veterans. Not only do we brighten their day, I know they brighten mine.

We enjoyed the stories, excitement, and camaraderie. We all walked away with smiles on our faces. This is the greatest generation and volunteering at the Veteran’s home is truly a blessing. I know I definitely leave King Veteran’s Home feeling inspired and happy. There is nothing greater than volunteering during American Red Cross month and “being a hero” to the true heroes in America’s hearts – the Veterans.

Serving Those Who Have Selflessly Served Us

By Kaitlyn Schmitt, UWO Red Cross Club Member

vet1Adrianne Benson, Americorps Vet Corps member and Red Cross volunteer, and members from the UWO Red Cross Club spent the afternoon on November 23, 2013 volunteering at the beautiful Veteran’s Home in King, WI.

The Veterans were very excited to see the ladies from the Red Cross Club. We provided each Veteran with a Holiday Mail card which was made by the club and local elementary school students. The Veterans were filled with excitement and gratitude when they received the cards.

The Red Cross Club helped with some “intense” games of Bingo with the Veterans. There were definitely a lot of big winners that day! After bingo, we socialized with some of the Veterans and then we were given a tour of the incredible facility. We were amazed by all of the facility’s amenities including a bowling alley, movie theatre and a tunnel transport system. To top it off, the lakeside view was breathtaking!

vet3

Here I am helping pass out cards for the “intense” games of Bingo!

We had a great time serving those who have selflessly served us. We enjoyed getting to know the Veterans and we were all touched by this incredible experience.

Thank you to the  King Veterans Home staff for allowing us to join you. Thanks to the Red Cross for this incredible opportunity. Thanks Red Cross Club Members for the participation and enthusiasm on this wonderful experience!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kaitlyn