Volunteers at Wilder really make an impact
in a number of ways throughout our organization. Their dedication and their willingness to
give their time day in, and, you know, day out, to the programs that they really care
about and love is so appreciated by the staff and by the participants that are in the programs.
Without volunteers, we would not be able to do nearly as much in the community as we do
today, and that’s why we’re so thankful for everything they do to really help extend our
reach and our mission in the community. The Sandy Kiernat Community Service Award was
established in 2010 to recognize and celebrate outstanding volunteers who exemplify the spirit
of Sandy Kiernat who was a board member and previous board chair at Wilder. The 2014 Sandy
Kiernat Community Service Award winners are Ellen Biales and the Wilder Caregiver Advisory Group. The group has sort of fluctuated from about 8 to 10 members,
all of whom either are currently caregiving or have been caregivers in the past, and I’m really there to have
them help me ensure that the caregiver work that Wilder is doing is really gonna resonate
in the community and that it’s really gonna be what is needed in the community.
-I’m a caregiver for 13 years. They didn’t even have any resources. I did everything on my
own. I found it very frustrating that there was nothing there. I don’t want anyone to
go through what I had to go through. We always think that we’re alone. Me speaking each time makes me heal.
-I thought, well this is a way for me to learn from other caregivers, and
it’s also a way for me to take some of my more unique experiences of caregiving and
bring them to the group and perhaps affect some policy, and do some advocacy work, and
do some educating on caregiving issues. Well this last year they just really stepped up
in particular around the work of passing the Caregiver Sick Leave bill and doing the work
at the Capitol. They were just so passionate. When I walked to the Capitol that morning,
I felt my parents were walking with me and the other caregivers, and I said, “Why do
I want to do this?” It’s to help others. Ellen Biales is an outstanding volunteer. She has
volunteered in the neighborhood leadership program for over seven years giving over 100
hours. Her dedication and time is really helping to create the next generation of leaders in
St. Paul neighborhoods.
-I got involved with the Neighborhood Leadership Program seven
years ago. I was invited to be a part of the program by the program organizers who thought
that my experience in public life and in nonprofits would be helpful to people.
You’re so friendly but also influential, like very intelligent, just how you were able to
help me sort through my thoughts and visions and put them into realistic goals, which is
a skill, I mean, not everybody can do that, so thank you. -Oh thank you. Over the years,
I’ve played that role of being a coach and have really enjoyed it. Each of the participants
that I have worked with has been really different and that’s been really fun for me. It’s a
great way for me to meet new people and hear about what they’re working on and what’s going
on out in the broader community. And it’s always exciting for me when people who we’ve
had this coaching relationship with can go on to exciting things. I think the coaching
relationship really provides people a sounding board as they’re processing the information
that they’re learning in NLP.
-I love how NLP has the coaches. It’s an incredible part of
the program. It helped me really organize all of the different aspects of what NLP was
teaching me, in terms of my own values and about what I want to pursue as a career and
what my own passions are, how we organize them into realistic goals, and yeah just helped
me pursue my dream, basically.