Building Community through Volunteerism

One of the themes of #Welcoming Week is a focus on Civic Engagement. ThoughtCo. defines civic engagement as participation in activities that improve one’s community or address wider social issues (including political or non-political activities), and it can include the electoral process, volunteering, and advocacy or activism. Perhaps it is the change in weather to the nice crisp air of fall, but as I thought about volunteer efforts that touch my heart, I thought about the Salvation Army Christmas tree program–a program where little ones’ anonymous “wish lists” are hung on Christmas trees in local stores, and community members can adopt a gift recipient by fulfilling the wish list.

Last spring, Iron Ranger Joyce Vesel won “the Most Engaged Volunteer” Rosie Award from The Woman Today, given in honor of International Women’s Day .

As noted in the Duluth News Tribune, “Joyce Vesel received the Most Engaged Volunteer Award, which is given to a woman who goes above and beyond and works tirelessly in the region for the good of all. Vesel is a key volunteer at the Hibbing Salvation Army who organizes its Christmas giveaway program. She also volunteers at the Salvation Army’s soup kitchen; shops for groceries for people who cannot shop for themselves with Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Center; and volunteers at the Precious Paws animal shelter in Chisholm.”

They say that helping others improves our mental health. But think of all the additional good for the community that comes from volunteering. With a child in volleyball, I marvel at the parents who serve on the booster club, organizing volunteers for concessions, establishing fundraisers, and facilitating purchases. The program couldn’t run without them. I know these folks are equally busy, because in a small town we see each other at our workplaces, the grocery store and the gas station.

Or ReVive Virginia, a grassroots effort focused on improving the Virginia Downtown Business District through cooperative efforts with private, public and community partnerships, who is hosting a Food Truck Festival on Saturday, 9/16, from 11 AM until 7 PM in downtown Virginia.

I’m inspired by other Iron Range neighbors who donate their time to create and run the events and amenities we enjoy. It’s one of the great parts of living here. With less people, our actions can quickly have impact. There are numerous ways to volunteer from simply cleaning up garbage on the street in front of your house to formally assisting an organization. Google “volunteer (city, MN)” and you will find options. Together, we build our community.


  • Essentia Health Jobs
  • Iron Range Tourism Bureau
  • City of Hibbing
  • East Range Joint Powers Board
  • Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
  • L&M Radiator
Translate »