2011 Volunteer Expo re-cap

By: JoAnn Schinderle, Community Networking Coordinator, HandsOn Twin Cities

HOTC 6th annual Volunteer Expo was a HUGE SUCCESS! Held at the Mall of America, over 100 non-profits expanded the entire first floor with informational booths providing ways to get involved with meaningful projects in the metro area. On average, over 200,000 people walk the mall on a Saturday – just think if all of those people pooled their volunteering hands together and made a difference! It would be like creating a community brigade of do-gooders ready to be the change!

Not only was the MOA filled with information about ways to volunteer in the Metro area; there was hours of entertainment, a silent auction, on-site speed volunteering opportunities, awards recognizing outstanding volunteers, and a special appearance from Governor Dayton!


Speed Volunteering Events:

A station was set up at the Microsoft store where volunteers could decorate lunch bags and create birthday cards for the men, women, and children served by Meals on Wheels and Doing Good Together.

Brain Injury Association of Minnesota:  Over 200 cranes were assembled towards a goal of 100,000 cranes that will be showcased at this summer’s Art-A-Whirl to memorialize the 100,000 individuals diagnosed with brain injuries in MN.

FreeRice.com : Best Buy sponsored an online trivia program in which over 50,000 grains of rice were raised to help fight hunger.

Be The Change Award Winners:

Youth Award: Rachel Larson for her work with Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church

Youth Director Katie Hielman from Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church is here to accept the award on Rachel’s behalf. Rachel volunteers at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church as a Sunday School teacher and musician, Confirmation small group leader, is a student leader in Ambassadors for Change, and a spent a week helping rebuild homes on the Gulf Coast with the high school youth group. Rachel also founded her own nonprofit called Care for a Cure, which is a student-run organization that raises awareness of childhood cancer as a world-wide problem in an effort to get more youth involved in the fight against it.

 Environment Award:  Giampaolo Malin for his work with Tree Trust

Since 2009, Giampaolo has been serving in multiple capacities within Tree Trust’s Community Forestry programs; including helping homeowners add trees to their yards and participating in community tree plantings as a high-level volunteer who has completed ‘Tree Trainer’ training. Giampaolo also volunteers as a Tree Trainer at nearly every one of Tree Trust’s community plantings, and in fact, he volunteered more hours last year than any of Tree Trust’s other volunteers Giampaolo also regularly volunteers to help with upkeep of the Midtown Greenway, where he pulls weeds and prunes tree and shrubs. 

 Health Award: Mike Skelly for his work with Memorial Blood Centers

Mike has been volunteering with Memorial Blood Centers since August of 2006. He has worked in two primary areas: Hospital Services and Collections, where he has been involved in Blood Delivery and Blood Drive Canteen Staffing. Mike is a vital link in a life-saving process, a process that he takes very seriously and performs without fail when called upon. Equally important to Mike is serving as a Host at blood drives.  When Mike is staffing the Canteen, not only do our donors benefit from his care and attention, but our Collections staff are more at ease, as they know they can safely entrust Mike to look after our donors’ wellbeing.

 Economy Award: Denise Graves for her work with CASA Minnesota

Lori accepted the award on Denise’s behalf. Denise has been a volunteer Child Advocate at CASA Minnesota since 2002, where she represents the best interest of children in court where there are issues of abuse and/or neglect. From directly advocating for a large number of children and assisting in new volunteer development, to ensuring a better future for our most underprivileged families, Denise consistently involves herself in finding ways to help children and to better the outcome of families that find themselves in Child Protection. Denise has worked on 48 cases involving 98 children.  Currently, she carries nine cases as a volunteer, whereas the average volunteer caseload is two.


Afternoon performaning entertainment was provided by: Minne Brass, Helping Paws, Inc, The Irish Music and Dance Association, Lao Assistance Center,  & CitySongs.




We would sincerely like to thank all of our sponsors, non-profit affiliates, and volunteers who helped make this years Expo a meaningful event. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.

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