Make a lasting impact for good— it’s something professionals in the human services field strive to achieve.
Kati Hinds ’11, continues to make a long-term impact on rural Winnebago County residents through a home delivery program she developed and implemented for the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry (OACP) as a human services leadership major at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
During her senior year in fall 2010, Hinds was an AmeriCorps volunteer at the OACP where she was asked to look into creating a program for delivery of food to individuals who may not have a reliable way to get to the food pantry. The request by Steve Vickman, OACP executive director, ultimately overlapped with coursework in which students are tasked with planning and developing a sustainable human services program.
One of the challenges Hinds faced was that she was implementing the program at the same time she was developing a program plan and evaluation in class.
“It was sort of like drawing a map while navigating,” Hinds said.
However, she said this ended up being helpful because she was able to utilize her classmates, professors, AmeriCorps supervisors and others for feedback about as she was structuring the program.
“Using your resources and networking while planning a program is extremely important. People all around you have great ideas, knowledge and insight. Ask them questions and learn from them, they will provide you with great ideas,” she said.
Titan Volunteers keep the program running
Volunteers are vital to OACP’s success, as are they to the home delivery program.
“By working with the Titan Volunteers organization on the UWO campus I was able to secure volunteers who would commit to ongoing support of the program,” Hinds said.
Nicole Kurszewski, a junior from Wind Lake, Wis. pursuing a degree in chemistry, is on the Titan Volunteers board, which has kept the home delivery process running and has helped get more people involved.
“It was really important as a board member to get more people involved because at the start of the school year we added home delivery in Winneconne in addition to home delivery in Omro,” she said. “It is great to know that with our help we have been able to help this program expand and help even more people.”
The volunteers spend one day each month packing and delivering boxes to 39 households in Omro and Winneconne.
And while the volunteers are impacting the lives of others through their efforts, they have also expanded their horizons and received positive benefits themselves.
“I’ve learned that there is a need students can fill by taking time to pack food and get it to residents who might not be able to get it themselves,” said Kevin Kropp, a senior pursuing a double major in speech communication and human resources. “This program helped to expand my idea of volunteerism, in general, and the people who can be benefit from the service of others.”
Cassie Hacker, a junior biology major, said the program has shown her how much impact a box of food brings to people while having an impact on volunteers, as well.
“It really makes you realize how fortunate you are and to not take even the little things in life for granted,” she said.
- Those interested in volunteering at or donating to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry can call (920) 651-9960 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- UWO students and staff interested in volunteering to help with home delivery can contact Titan Volunteers at (920) 424-1269.
- Oshkosh Area Community Pantry
- Titan Volunteers