Nonprofits get a helping hand through the annual Walworth County Day of Action

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Andrea Anderson
Sunday, July 13, 2014

ELKHORN—People donning matching T-shirts will disperse throughout Walworth County on June 24 to aid nonprofits in need of help on big ticket item.

The Walworth County Day of Action is a way for residents and business groups to reach out to local nonprofits, lend a hand and spread the word about the importance of volunteerism, said Colleen Lesniak, Walworth County Volunteer Services coordinator.

In its third year, the event hopes to gather about 125 volunteers. The first two years each saw about 100 volunteers.

The is to assist nonprofits with projects that require many pairs of hands and would be a large time investment for a small group.

“It's important because sometimes people in the community want to do something and want to volunteer, but have limited time,” Lesniak said. “So when you do a one-day project it makes you feel like you are giving back to the community.”

Volunteers will meet at the Elkhorn Government Center, 100 W. Walworth St., between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. for check-in. At 9 a.m., an opening ceremony will take place. From there, volunteers will head out to work sites throughout the county. 

Projects include power washing and painting a storage shed, landscaping at Lakeland Health Care Center, cleaning and painting at Special Methods In Learning Equine Skills, or S.M.I.L.E.S, and cleaning up at the Delavan Food Pantry.

S.M.I.L.E.S., a nonprofit devoted to teaching equine skills to people with special needs, always has participated in Day of Action, said Gay Stran, S.M.I.L.E.S. executive director.

As a volunteer-driven organization, S.M.I.L.E.S. sees a day devoted to volunteering as critical to maintaining its facilities, Stran said. She also said volunteers tend to return on their own time throughout the year.

“They have great memories of what they were able to share and accomplish,” Stran said. “They take away with them a great sense of pride. We see a great deal of growth, and our program receives a great deal of exposure. It gets done so quickly, and it's just shiny and spick-and-span.”

United Way of Walworth County, Walworth County Volunteer Services and Volunteer Connection, an Elkhorn-based nonprofit devoted to helping other county nonprofits, are sponsoring the event.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Those who are younger can participate if an adult is present. Volunteers also must provide their own transportation to and from work sites.

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