COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Heart of Missouri United Way held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning for its new Give 5 program. The organization says "Give 5" was founded in Springfield, Missouri by Greg Burris and is based at the United Way of the Ozarks.
Members of the organization and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce held the ceremony at Missouri Employers Mutual off North Keene Street in Columbia. The Heart of Missouri United Way created the Give 5 program to match retired or nearly retired individuals in Boone County with volunteer opportunities.
After Heart of Missouri United Way saw the success in Springfield, they felt it would be beneficial to bring the program to Columbia. The organization says the program was originally supposed to start in 2020 but COVID-19 put a pause on events.
The program is expected 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 nonprofits during the course of the program, according to the Heart of Missouri United Way's website.
Missouri Employers Mutual donated the space the group will use for informational sessions for the first class of volunteers. At least one tour guide will be with the class to coordinate and guide each program day.
The organization says it has already partnered with multiple local organizations that plan to have speakers stop by the classes as well as have the volunteers attend their sites.
Heart of Missouri United Way says so far 17 seniors have signed up for classes, with a goal of at least 20 retirees. Jim Linsenbardt is one of the 17 seniors who signed up. He told ABC 17 News that he can't wait to make new friends.
"I would say meeting other people similar to 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'll be good," Linsenbardt said.
The Heart of Missouri United Way said the program hopes to provide participants with available volunteer opportunities. Andrew Grabau, president and CEO of Heart of Missouri United Way, says the program is a win for everyone.
"I'm also really excited about this because our nonprofit partners that deliver services to those in need, can benefit from having the professional skills and the life experiences that these retirees can bring to the organizations," Grabau said.
At the end of the Give 5 program, the volunteers will be encouraged to "Give 5" hours a month to one of the nonprofits. The organization says the classes are free and there is no deadline for seniors to sign up for classes.
Heart of Missouri United Way says it also plans to have classes every quarter, so if someone needs to drop the class and start again, they can easily do so.
To sign up for the program, or ask the organization more questions, click here.