Give Back Iowa Challenge encourages volunteerism

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County Volunteer Center Coordinator Amy Keltner is encouraging Jones County businesses to take part in the eight-week Give Back Iowa Challenge.

     Taking place April 1 through May 31, businesses of any size (based on employee count) are urged to engage in employer-supported volunteering.

     By visiting, you can register your business in the challenge. The number of employee volunteer hours is reported online. Based on company size, each business is divided into three categories: small, medium, and large. Winners are chosen by determining the average number of volunteer hours per employee during the eight weeks. The business with the highest average of volunteer hours in each category will be recognized and awarded by a personal visit by either Governor Kim Reynolds or Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.

     According to Volunteer Iowa, of which the Jones County Volunteer Center receives grant funding, “There is a lot of research showing the connection between employer-supported volunteering and improved employee engagement, employee wellness, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and retention.

     “There is also research connecting employee engagement with increased profitability and productivity. There are benefits to the community through the organization fulfilling its corporate social responsibility goals.”

     The eight-week challenge also includes the Volunteer Center’s Day of Caring, which will take place Friday, May 14. Day of Caring is a countywide volunteer day, coordinated by the Volunteer Center.

     “The eight weeks is a short-term commitment to get people engaged,” noted Keltner. “It’s a fun challenge to get people to join in.”

     Keltner said businesses can contact her at the Volunteer Center (319-560-0811) for ideas on ways for their employees to volunteer.

     “I can contact them on ideas, where to start, and guide them on how to find volunteer activities and events,” offered Keltner.

     Specifically through the Volunteer Center, employees can volunteer assembling hygiene kits, early literacy kits, and baby kits.

     Other community-type volunteer opportunities include parks and rec departments, outdoor spring cleaning, food drives, Jones County Conservation, Scouts, and coaching youth sports.

     Keltner warned that there are a couple of stipulations, such as not counting active work hours as volunteer hours.

     “People are just itching to get out and get back to normal activities,” Keltner said.


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