Heart of Missouri United Way will provide volunteer opportunities through new program


The Heart of Missouri United Way held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning for its new Give 5 program. The so-called “Give 5” organization was founded in Springfield, Missouri by Greg Burris and is based at United Way of the Ozarks.

Members of the organization and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce held the ceremony at the Missouri Employers Mutual near North Keene Street in Columbia. Heart of Missouri United Way created the Give 5 program to match retired or near-retired people in Boone County with volunteer opportunities.

After Heart of Missouri United Way saw success in Springfield, they felt it would be beneficial to bring the program to Colombia. The organization says the program was originally scheduled to start in 2020, but COVID-19 put a hold on events.

The program is scheduled to start on July 22. Each class of up to 25 volunteers will meet once a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for five weeks. Volunteers will visit more than 20 nonprofit organizations during the program, according to the Heart of Missouri United Way website.

Missouri Employers Mutual donated the space the group will use for information sessions for the first class of volunteers. At least one guide will be with the class to coordinate and guide each day of the program.

The organization says it has already partnered with several local organizations that plan to bring speakers to classes and bring volunteers to their sites.

Heart of Missouri United Way says 17 seniors have signed up for classes so far, with a goal of at least 20 retirees. Jim Linsenbardt is one of 17 seniors who signed up. He told ABC 17 News he was looking forward to making new friends.

“I would say meet other people like me, you know, who are also interested in the program. Sometimes I learn a lot from the people I work with, so I think that will be good,” Linsenbardt said.

The Heart of Missouri United Way said the program hopes to make available volunteer opportunities available to participants. Andrew Grabau, president and CEO of Heart of Missouri United Way, says the program is a win for everyone.

“I’m also very excited about this, because our nonprofit partners who provide services to people in need can benefit from the professional skills and life experiences these retirees can bring to organizations,” Grabau said.

Upon completion of the Give 5 program, volunteers will be encouraged to “donate 5” hours per month to one of the non-profit organizations. The organization says the classes are free and there is no deadline for older people to sign up for the classes.

Heart of Missouri United Way says it also plans to have classes quarterly, so if someone has to drop the class and start over, they can easily do so.

To register for the program or ask the organization more questions, click here.

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