After hiatus, volunteer center on track

By ALEXANDRA SONDEEN
Herald Staff Writer

An organization that encourages volunteerism in the county is getting back in full gear after a yearlong hiatus.

Volunteer Dubois County strives to connect people who want to volunteer with organizations that need them. The Huntingburg Foundation has provided grant funds to help pay for the group’s continued efforts and Volunteer Dubois County partnered with Vincennes University Jasper Campus this past June as the administrator for the money.

“We see it as a chance to bring community agencies together with volunteers,” VUJC Dean Alan Johnson said. “It’s a way we can get more engaged with community affairs. I’ve been very impressed with the whole operation.”

The organization operated within Tri-Cap for nine months last year. When stimulus funding expired last fall, it had to make major changes.

“A lot of progress had been made at Tri-Cap, but we had to do a lot of restructuring,” Paige Stradtner, founder and coordinator of the program, said.

The group has been busy during its break from the public eye. While not yet incorporated, the initiative now is managed by a six-member board of volunteers with Stradtner in the lead.

The community college also has provided a little office space in its administration building so the organization has a physical address at 850 College Ave.

The biggest accomplishment thus far has been the construction of a new website, www.volunteerduboiscounty.org, that went online about a month ago. Nonprofit organizations can purchase a one-year membership for $75 or a six-month membership for $60 to display information about the organization, post volunteering opportunities, note material needs on a community wish list and place events on a community calendar.

Two groups, the Huntingburg Foundation and Tri-Cap’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program, have registered.

“Our main focus right now is getting nonprofits on board and educating them on what we can provide,” Stradtner said. “They can register now.”

Volunteers can register for free and create a profile on the site. They can contact organizations directly and track inquiries they’ve made into volunteer opportunities.

“You don’t have to create a profile or register to find opportunities,” Stradtner said. “But the advantage is you can have more direct access to an organization and can track your inquiries. It’s a tool.”

The majority of Volunteer Dubois County’s operations will flow through the website. But eventually, Stradtner said, the group hopes to sponsor workshops, seminars and other programs for nonprofits.

“Those are the kinds of things a volunteer center is a good vehicle for,” she said.

In the meantime, Stradtner and her fellow board members are introducing the revamped organization to area nonprofits. They will hold two informational sessions for nonprofits and potential volunteers, set for 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Nov. 1, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the New Classroom Building at VUJC.

“We want to spread some awareness, get people familiar with it, and then have a grand opening celebration in a couple of months,” Stradtner said.

Contact Alexandra Sondeen at asondeen@dcherald.com.




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