Volunteers spruce up YWCA

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Thursday, May 24, 2012
— Johnson Bank co-workers Sharon Schaefer, Andrew Kurschner and Brittany Folgate, dressed in matching T-shirts with the slogan "Here for Good," spread a fresh coat of slate blue paint over the dull off-white walls in an upstairs room of the YWCA of Rock County.

The office is being made into a computer lab for women who live at the YWCA's Alternatives to Violence Program shelter, explained Allison Hokinson, executive director.

"Now the women won't have to leave the shelter to go to the library or Job Center. They'll have direct access to computers for job searches," she said.

The three tellers were among 42 Johnson Bank and Johnson Insurance employees who worked two three-hour shifts Tuesday on spring improvements at the YWCA that also included deep cleaning indoors and grounds beautification.

Schaefer, who had never visited the YWCA campus at 1735 S. Washington St., was impressed by the nonprofit organization's facilities and said she enjoyed having the opportunity to help people.

"I find it fulfilling," she said.

Johnson Financial Group, the parent company of Johnson Bank and Johnson Insurance Services, reached out to community organizations Tuesday as part of its companywide Community Service Day volunteer effort, "Here for Good."

"We chose to do our community service work at the YWCA because they continue to find ways to have a positive impact on the lives of people in our community," said Larry Squire, president of Johnson Bank's South Central Region.

Hokinson is grateful.

"I can't stress how much of a gift this is for us. To pay for these services would have a big impact on our budget. We're able to invest these savings into serving more people through our client services, which is our main focus," she said.

The YWCA always has maintenance projects that need to be done, Hokinson said.

"This building is 11 years old, and we see the wear and tear. This is spring maintenance for us," she said.

The Janesville workers were among about 1,000 Johnson Bank and Johnson Insurance associates who gave time at more than 25 charities from local food banks to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in communities throughout Wisconsin and Arizona.

"We're family owned by a family that believes in giving back to the community. Everyone is encouraged to participate in making our communities better," said Patti Davis, regional retail sales manager, who organized the South Central Region effort in Mukwonago, Fort Atkinson and Janesville.

"There's such a great need in our community. Volunteerism is part of all our jobs," she said.

Dawn Oldenburg, who was removing mildew and stains from the fence outside the shelter with water and bleach, and Dawn Enerson, who was helping put fence around garden beds to keep rabbits out, agreed.

"Johnson Bank feels strongly about giving back to the community," Enerson said.

Shelter residents—currently 10 women and 14 children—appreciate the work.

"I think it's a blessing," one woman said.

"I think it's fantastic people take time out and acknowledge there is a need for the help here," said another woman.

"Johnson Bank is very supportive of the YWCA and involved as donors, volunteers and ambassadors," Hokinson said.

"One of the benefits of their doing this work is they learn more about us and spread the word of our programs," she said. "It's a great opportunity for us to further our advocacy through these additional voices in the community. The benefits are enormous."

Last updated: 8:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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