July 12, 2024

ISU Extension and Outreach Week celebrates Jasper County volunteers

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week is April 18-23. Iowa’s 100 county extension offices will host activities throughout the week to thank volunteers who contribute their time to extension education efforts throughout the state.

“We celebrate our Jasper County volunteers because they are our partners for a #Strong Iowa,” said Sherry Ford, Regional Director.

“In Jasper County, volunteers serve as 4-H leaders, Master Gardeners, income tax preparers, mentors, drivers for the Ride program, and more. We also have a nine-member, elected extension council. Because of their support, our educational opportunities for the people of Jasper County continue to grow,” Ford said.

Statewide, more than 7,600 volunteers contribute their time to ISU Extension and Outreach programs. Independentsector.org values volunteer time at $28.54/hour — which equals nearly $217,000 if each volunteer works for only one hour.

“ISU Extension and Outreach engages Iowans in solving today’s problems and planning for tomorrow. We offer many ways to get involved and we welcome new volunteers,” Donita Huegel, RSVP Program Coordinator, said. “Clients often share comments of appreciation for our volunteers.”

One recipient of the Ride program stated, ‘All of your drivers have been very nice, and I enjoy the conversations with them.’ Another participant says, “I don’t know where you get these gentlemen who volunteer, but they’re the best!” 4-H volunteers make a difference as well. One youth states, “My 4-H leader impacted my career path and supported me by writing an exceptional reference letter. I will always remember how she impacted my life.” Another person grateful for the leadership says, “The support and encouragement of my 4-H leader exceeds well beyond my 4-H years.”

In 2021, more than 150 volunteers for Jasper County Extension and Outreach contributed 10,837 hours to support the people and programs in the county. That brings over $309,000 of added value to Jasper County.

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be just as great for the volunteer. The right match can help a person find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance their careers.

One Jasper volunteer states, “It is an honor to work with this (RSVP) organization.” A Master Gardener volunteer shared her appreciation for volunteering at the Donation Garden. ‘I like that I am part of a team that is all working together to feed people in our community. It is a great feeling knowing that we are improving access to healthy and fresh vegetables for those who really need it most.’

ISU Extension and Outreach is part of the federal Cooperative Extension Service — a network of more than 100 land-grant institutions, including Iowa State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture serving communities and counties across the United States. Every county in Iowa has an elected extension council that decides how to support ISU Extension and Outreach educational programs at the county level.

Jasper County Extension and Outreach appreciates community partnerships and the generosity of volunteers. For more information about volunteer opportunities, programs, or ways to partner to strengthen our communities, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/jasper, or contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Jasper County office at xjasper@iastate.edu or call 641-792-6433.