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Happy National Volunteer Week!

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Apr 23, 2017

National Volunteer Week, started by non-profit Points of Light, takes place April 23-29 this year. The purpose of National Volunteer Week is to recognize and thank volunteers, and inspire others to serve.

The organizations behind volunteer-matching website Ugetconnected - the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, Western Technical College, and Great Rivers United Way - want to thank the more than 5,200 community members seeking meaningful volunteer opportunities online.

Ugetconnected currently partners with 133 non-profits, and at any given time, those agencies are trying to fulfill 200+ volunteer needs. Since its launch in September 2015, Ugetconnected has been the catalyst for more than 3,500 connections. One of those matches was made between the Children's Museum of La Crosse and volunteer Lindsey Sattler.

The Children's Museum has been utilizing Ugetconnected since the summer of 2015. Lindsey, a UWL senior studying Elementary-Middle Level Education, first heard of Ugetconnected through the National Residence Hall Honorary. For Lindsey, working with kids was a natural fit, and Ugetconnected made finding that perfect volunteer match easy.

"I first chose the Children's Museum because I wanted to volunteer with children, but I continued to volunteer there because the staff and the atmosphere were so welcoming," Sattler explained. She continued, "I later found out about the Girl Scout Sunday events and thought that would be a great way to give back since I was a Girl Scout throughout grade school."

Children's Museum Staff & Volunteer Manager Jenny Nustad says that usage of Ugetconnected has increased dramatically, with the 33 connections the museum made in 2015-16 increasing to 136 so far this year. Museum volunteers assist with a variety of tasks, and Nustad calls them an "intricate lifeline."

According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, Wisconsin ranks third in the nation for volunteering, with 35.34% of residents serving. Approximately 1.6 million Wisconsin residents volunteered an average of 42.9 hours in 2015, resulting in 169.03 million hours of service at an estimated value of 4.6 billion dollars. That's a huge budget boost for non-profits like the Children's Museum.

Nustad confirms. "We simply could not afford to pay 10 individuals to help facilitate these events. Lindsey and the other volunteers are such as asset to the function of the museum," she said.

Ugetconnected serves Buffalo, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties in Wisconsin, and Houston County in Minnesota. The site is free and easy to use. Volunteers and agencies alike are encouraged to visit www.ugetconnected.org to get started today!

Questions about Ugetconnected may be directed to its site admins at info@ugetconnected.org.