Wanted: Helping hands
Rosemount’s greatest resource is its people. Rosemount residents boast a wide range of talents and the city would like to tap into those skills through volunteerism.
Rosemount has partnered with Apple Valley, Inver Grove Heights and West St. Paul to create a volunteer program. The idea for the program came through the Dakota County High Performance Partnerships, which aimed to find areas where cities could work together.
Rosemount City Administrator Dwight Johnson said the aim of the volunteering program is to strengthen local services while getting people actively involved in the community.
Volunteer coordinator Diane Erickson started on the job nearly three months ago. While a lot of what she’s done to date is setting up the nuts and bolts of the program, recently she started matching opportunities with people.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s been a blast to start placing people,” said Erickson.
Erickson comes to the part-time position with 18 years of experience as a volunteer coordinator. Each of the four cities has contributed to cover Erickson’s pay. Erickson has been hired to work 24 hours a week and will spend time each week in all four cities.
While each city has different needs, Erickson said each has a variety of opportunities. In placing volunteers, Erickson said she hopes to tap into the volunteer’s strengths and joys.
“It must feel meaningful, otherwise people aren’t going to want to do it. It’s important to make sure the volunteers feel appreciated,” said Erickson.
Some of the Rosemount volunteer opportunities include helping maintain gardens; adopting a hydrant, park or street; data entry for various departments; interpreter; and things that haven’t even been thought of yet. So far two people have filled out applications.
Erickson said she’s hopeful residents will come forward with ideas of their own to better the city.
“It’s kind of an experiment. This is a new program that’s developing. It’s very much an evolving thing,” said Erickson.
The benefits of volunteering to the community are priceless, said Erickson. Erickson said residents young and old can offer up their time and skills.
“I just so believe in the benefits of volunteering,” said Erickson.
On the city side of things, Erickson said volunteers can give back to their community by providing valuable work. She said the work can range from ongoing opportunities to one-day events. Erickson said any effort makes a difference.
For the volunteers, Erickson said the benefits include meeting new people, developing skills and enhancing their resumes. Lastly, Erickson said it just feels good to give back.
“There’s no way to lose when you have people volunteering in the community,” said Erickson.
Residents interested in volunteering with the city can fill out an application online at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us.
Volunteer coordinator Diane Erickson can be reached at derickson@ cityofwsp.org or 651-208-4840.