2012 Days of Caring
Madison, Wis. – Nearly 200 UW Health employees devoted their time and energy to helping 12 area non-profit agencies during “Days of Caring" the week of August 20-24.
Volunteer activities included:
• A work day at a Habitat for Humanity site
• Accompanying residents of the Oak Park Place community to the Henry Vilas Zoo
• Painting the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, Inc. building
• Clearing brush in the Cross Plains Ice Age Trail Scientific Reserve and Prairie Moraine County Park
• Maintenance tasks at the Henry Vilas Zoo
• An Olbrich Gardens tour with Oakwood Village University Woods retirement community residents
• Preparing the Middleton Outreach Ministry’s new facility for the hungry and homeless
• Processing food donations to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
• Mentoring a child whose parent is incarcerated through the United Way of Dane County’s Mentoring Connection program
• Building a natural playground at the Kennedy Heights Community Center
Director of clinic operations Deb Brausen spent an afternoon at Henry Vilas Zoo with Oak Park Place residents and forged an immediate bond based on, ironically, a mutual distaste for one of the zoo's offerings.
"My resident told me, 'I hate the snakes. Don’t take me by the snakes.' I told her we'll make a great pair," Brausen said. "I enjoyed every single second of it."
Brausen made special mention of the UW Medical Foundation allowance that permitted her to take four hours during a working day for the Vilas tour.
"It gave me the ability to leave work and help out with a cause that was already organized, which made it so convenient," Brausen said, adding that her team all took advantage of the policy. "We rescheduled our normal meetings so everyone could attend."
Reporting project analyst Kaitlyn Buol worked with children whose parents had been incarcerated at the Mentoring Connection Picnic, devoting an afternoon to fishing, arts and crafts, sports and storytelling. For Buol, the mentoring session wasn't her first.
"I was a mentor all throughout high school for younger students, and when I saw the chance to help a young child have a day of fun, I could not pass that up," she said. "The children we spent the day with come from broken homes and if I could help them forget all that, even for a few hours, I would definitely do it."
Buol was joined at the mentoring afternoon by director of Quality and Care Management Elaine Rosenblatt, who accompanied two high school-aged girls on an unexpected fishing expedition.
"I was paired with two girls who initially were not interested in fishing," Rosenblatt said, adding that the girls changed their minds when they saw how many of their peers were casting lines. "Halfway through the day they changed their minds and off we went. It was a thoroughly pleasant day. I think the kids had a nice time and the volunteers had as good a time, or better. I'll sign up again next year."
Human Resources analyst Alexis Anderson's Habitat for Humanity work day built - literally - upon a personal history of volunteerism.
"The first time I ever picked up a tool was for Habitat when I was 13," she said, adding that her group's varied levels of building experienced contributed to rather than diminished the build, which was Habitat for Humanity's 200th in Dane County. "Everybody was raring to go and in a good mood. It always says something when everyone shows up early, and we actually stayed late because we were so into it."