Name: Julie Panning
Tell us about the volunteer work you’ve been up to recently.
Recently, I have been volunteering once a month at the Family Service Center in Maplewood as part of the Bedtime Stories Project. This is a supervised reading & play time with the children who are currently staying at the service center. It gives the parents a time to take a break knowing that their children are in a safe & fun environment. These are families in transition, a difficult situation, and it feels good to be able to help them in a small way. Not only have I had the opportunity to interact with some energetic, fun and adorable children, but I’ve also had the good feeling associated with, as one mom said, giving them a “break from reality.”
What motivates you to volunteer?
My daughters motivate me to volunteer. I want them to see me living my faith by putting it into action, and that is why I help others. We believe all of our blessings come from God, and we are called to serve others.
Tell us about a meaningful or enjoyable memory from your volunteer work.
Each time I make a connection with a child it is very meaningful to me. It may be holding a baby and making him laugh, or teaching kids a new card game and watching someone’s eyes light up when they win. Knowing that the children had a good time is a wonderful feeling, and I’ve left each night with a smile on my face.
How has HandsOn Twin Cities helped you serve the community?
HOTC has definitely helped both me & my husband serve our community. It was easy to search for opportunities that worked with our schedule, & sign up for a project in an area that interested us. I hope to keep using HOTC to find volunteer opportunities in the future.
What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
When I am not volunteering, I am a busy and blessed stay at home mother to Maria and Susanna. Spending time with my husband and daughters is very important to me. I also enjoy reading, knitting, cooking, and baking.