26 episodes

Community United is produced by the Sherburne County Area United Way. Each episode we talk to nonprofit and community leaders who are making a real difference in our local area. These community leaders are creating change, and you will learn who they are, what resources are available, and how you can join them to make our community an even better place.

www.sherburneunitedway.org

Community United Sherburne County Area United Way

    • Business

Community United is produced by the Sherburne County Area United Way. Each episode we talk to nonprofit and community leaders who are making a real difference in our local area. These community leaders are creating change, and you will learn who they are, what resources are available, and how you can join them to make our community an even better place.

www.sherburneunitedway.org

    Community Thanksgiving Dinner with Darren Kiser and Melanie Clemons of Kiser Construction, and Missy Wilson of Royal Supply and the Elk River Fire Foundation

    Community Thanksgiving Dinner with Darren Kiser and Melanie Clemons of Kiser Construction, and Missy Wilson of Royal Supply and the Elk River Fire Foundation

    This week Kat and Jim sit down with a few really impactful community members who make the Community Thanksgiving Dinner a possibility in Elk River!

    In 2022 the revival of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner was led by Melanie Clemons and Missy Wilson. They brought in their organizations to help support and fund the event, and with the help of other community partners, donors, and a crew of volunteers, they fed over 300 people Thanksgiving dinner. 

    The event is being held again in 2023 at Central Lutheran Church in Elk River on Thanksgiving Day 11:30-1:00pm. 



    Information on this FREE event can be found all throughout social media, and on the Kiser Construction website. https://kiserrenovations.com/community-thanksgiving/



    Toy Drives:

    There are many community toy drives in the area. 

    Fill a Fire Truck led by the Elk River Fire Foundation

    The Kiser Construction Toy Drive 



    Donation bins for both drives will be found around the community in December, please be sure to check online for details, information will be posted soon! 



    Note, another local organization accepting gifts this season is Gifts Anonymous. Check their website and social media to find out how you can donate! http://www.giftsanonymous.org/



    Find Kiser Construction online:

    https://kiserrenovations.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/KiserConstruction



    Find Royal Supply online:

    https://www.facebook.com/RoyalSupplyMN

    https://royalsupplymn.com/



    Find the Elk River Fire Foundation online:

    https://www.facebook.com/ElkRiverFireFoundation/



    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠www.scauw.org⁠

    Facebook: ⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 44 min
    Laurel Merten - Big Lake Ambassadors Scholarship Program

    Laurel Merten - Big Lake Ambassadors Scholarship Program

    This week, Kat sits down with Laurel Merten, Director of the Big Lake Ambassadors Scholarship Program.

    This program has a goal of empowering young ladies of Big Lake to be women of tomorrow through community service. They also work to promote leadership, professional development and personal growth, with an opportunity to earn an educational scholarship. All the Ambassadors had over 100 hours each last year of volunteering!

    The Core Values of the Big Lake Ambassador Program are Honesty, Respect, Loyalty and Commitment



    For the tie blanket service project, they are accepting fleece donations for tie blankets. Donations of 2.5 yards of fleece are preferred, fleece must be new and clean. Boxes can be found at Big Lake Coborns, Lupulin, and the City of Big Lake office.



    To inquire about being a candidate - email biglakeambassadors@gmail.com or find them on Facebook.

    Laurel also comes to the High School and Middle School lunches and distributes fliers at both schools.



    Find Big Lake Ambassadors online:

    biglakeambassadors@gmail.com

    https://www.facebook.com/BigLakeAmbassadors

    https://www.instagram.com/biglakeambassadors



    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠www.scauw.org⁠

    Facebook: ⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 35 min
    Great River Faith in Action with Maureen Baty

    Great River Faith in Action with Maureen Baty

    This week Kat sits down with Maureen Baty who is the Executive Director for Great River Faith In Action 



    Great River Faith in Action helps elderly and disabled people to be able to live in their homes safely by bringing in volunteers to help with tasks they are no longer able to do.  Some examples are lawn mowing, driving them to the doctor appt or grocery store, minor home repairs, snow removal, friendly visits, respite and more.  



    Rake the Town is a big fall event where business, churches, groups or families go rake a lawn in the community of an elderly or disabled person. 



    In their Furniture for Families Program they provide basic furniture needs to struggling families in our area. Their partnership with Becker Furniture World makes this happen and they also take some donated furniture & kitchen items.  



    Currently GRFIA has 406 clients they serve, some 1x a week and some 1x a year, depending on the needs.  In 2022, volunteer drivers drove over 32,000 miles bringing people to medical appointments & the grocery store.  They have many individual & group volunteer opportunities!



    Christmas cheer bags are an initiative started during the pandemic that they are excited to offer for the third year. Check out their website, information will be released soon: https://www.grfia.org/give/christmas/



    Find Great River Faith In Action online:

    763-263-4277

    info@grfia.org

    www.grfia.org      

    https://www.facebook.com/GreatRiverFaithInAction/ 



    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠www.scauw.org⁠

    Facebook: ⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 39 min
    Rewind: All about the United Way with Kat Sarff

    Rewind: All about the United Way with Kat Sarff

    On rewind episode, we're headed back a few months to an episode where Kat is shared all about the Sherburne County Area United Way. Our organization has undergone a lot of transition the last few years, and we're excited to be sharing our new focus areas and goals.



    The Community Connect event is from 11:00am-2:00pm Thursday October 19 at Elk River High School. Find out more here.

    We are looking for board members to be actively involved in helping grow our organization, if you would like to learn more, please email or call Kat.

    To find volunteer opportunities in the community, or to post your nonprofit volunteer opportunities, navigate to our online volunteer hub



    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠www.scauw.org⁠

    Facebook: ⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 15 min
    Big Lake ECFE - Sarah Fritsch

    Big Lake ECFE - Sarah Fritsch

    This week Kat sits down with Sarah Fritsch, who is the Early Childhood Coordinator for the Big Lake School District.  



    This fun conversation is full of great information and tidbits. As the Early Childhood Coordinator, Sarah has a unique perspective on families with young children, and this episode is a great way to learn not only about early childhood programs, but also some great information about young children.



    ECFE is Early Childhood Family Education. ECSE is early childhood special education. While the two acronyms are often confused, they both envelope very different and special programming. ECSE if for children ages 0-5 who can use some extra help before heading into Kindergarten. ECFE on the other hand, is for any child ages 0 to 8, and is a support system for those children and their families. 



    ECFE is open for any family of young children, it’s not income or needs based and you don’t have to reside in the district. 



    Early Childhood screening is for ages 3-5, and isn’t just for Kindergarten, it’s intended to identify any issues early to get kids the help they need before starting Kindergarten. This service can be found at your local school district. 



    Sarah provides some great tips for the early childhood screening at 20:30, as this screening can sometimes cause unnecessary stress for families and kids. 



    Discussion on nature based classrooms at approx 29:00 



    Big Lake’s family literacy class is open for everyone, but designed for English language learning families as a space space for families learning English. 



    Big Lake ECFE also provides a drop in service for childcare providers, because childcare providers are such an important resource to families. 



    Family Fun Fest is happening October 6, from 5:00-7:00. Family fun fest is a family resource fair full of fun, free family activities!



    At the end of the episode, Kat and Sarah talk about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Sarah is a huge proponent of DPIL, and 47% of eligible kids in the Big Lake area are enrolled in the program! Imagination Library is helping to build a culture of reading and learning in families by providing free, high quality literature to all families. SCAUW is an affiliate and provides the program in our area, where over 1600 kids are currently enrolled.



    Find Big Lake ECFE online:

    www.biglakece.com

    https://www.facebook.com/biglakecommunityed

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/BigLakeECFE





    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠www.scauw.org⁠

    Facebook: ⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Thumbs Up - Katie Shatusky

    Thumbs Up - Katie Shatusky

    Thumbs Up is located in Elk River, and is an organization that is committed to helping those who suffer from a mental health disorder find resources. They also support bereaved families and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide.

    Thumbs Up started as a memorial 5k in 2013, and now runs nine different programs. The 10th annual 5k and 10k is happening September 16, 2023 at Orono Park in Elk River. 

    Thumbs Up programs:


    Bereavement Outreach
    Calming Corners
    Cheer Bags™
    Community Outreach Events
    Emotional Support Dogs
    No One Sits Solo™
    Referral Assistance Program 
    Youth Mental Health Awareness & Prevention
    Smiles for Seniors 



    Referenced information in the episode:

    Joe Schmit's Book Silent Impact

    No One Sits Solo video

    Calming Corner teacher testimonial video

    Bereavement Gift nomination form

    Cheer Bag nomination form

    Referral Assistance information

    To reach out to Maria about gap therapy, email Maria at maria.thumbsup@gmail.com

    About us video



    Find Thumbs Up online:

    ⁠https://thumbsupformentalhealth.org/⁠

    ⁠https://www.facebook.com/ThumbsUpHigh5K⁠

    Instagram: @thumbsuphigh5k



    Find SCAUW online:

    ⁠⁠www.scauw.org⁠⁠

    Facebook: ⁠⁠www.facebook.com/sherburneunitedway⁠⁠

    Instagram: @scauw

    • 51 min

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