O'Fallon Vounteer Services Celebrates 10 Years of Helping Others
Volunteer Services helps connect residents with opportunities to help others in the community.
When someone in O’Fallon wants to volunteer and make a difference in their community, many residents call the City of O’Fallon’s Volunteer Services department or visit their Web site. The process is smooth and easy, but it wasn’t always that way.
“Before Volunteer Services was a department in the City of O’Fallon, the only way for residents to volunteer was to call each specific department and ask about opportunities,” said Volunteer Services Manager Kathy Halstead.
Halstead said if someone wanted to clean up their neighborhood park, they had to make sure they reached the parks and recreation department, for example.
“The old way was very disjointed, you had to know the right department you wanted to volunteer for and call that department,” Halstead said.
Halstead said she was brought on to coordinate and organize those wanting to volunteer with the opportunities the city has available and the process is now much simpler.
“Now we can either list the opportunities on our Web site or people can call Volunteer Services with a list of skills or interests,” Halstead said.
Volunteer Services just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary and Halstead said the organization has grown exponentially since the early days.
“On National Make a Difference Day, 10 years ago we had eight people who volunteered to clean a creek,” said Halstead.
In comparison, Halstead said on the 2010 National Make a Difference Day, Volunteer Services had 18 different programs at 16 locations throughout O’Fallon, with just over 300 people helping out.
“The city has grown remarkably in the past 10 years and the volunteers have helped the staff keep pace with the growth,” said Halstead.
Halstead added there are a handful of recurring volunteers that have been helping out around O’Fallon since Volunteer Services first launched.
“We have about eight volunteers that come in every week who have been here since the beginning, they’ve been working side by side with us through the growth over the past 10 years,” Halstead said.
Halstead said there are three different types of volunteers at Volunteer Services, there are the ongoing volunteers who do work every week, volunteers who help with boards, committees, commissions and parks and episodic volunteers, who help out with the 60 to 70 special events and activities the city puts on throughout the year.
Halstead said the best part about her job is working with people who are coming together to do something good and who are making a difference in the community.
“I work with people at their best, I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I’m still in awe of the heart of people who want to come out and make a difference in the community,” Halstead said.