Finding purpose through volunteering
Jeanne Jacobson’s job in high school, as a receptionist at Hastings Hospital, was more fortuitous than most first jobs. “The person who trained me was very excited to be heading off to nursing school,” Jacobson recalled recently. That excitement rubbed off, and Jacobson ended up with a nursing degree.
She held many leadership positions at the University of Minnesota before her career took her to Fairview Southdale and, later, to a corporate position at HealthEast. She finished her professional life as the director of graduate studies in nursing at St. Kate’s.
Jacobson was serving on many boards of directors at the time of her retirement, but turned to volunteering as a guardian ad litem, which she loved. “I met lots of wonderful families,” she said. But the volunteer program was converted to a more formal, budgeted one.
Accustomed to being super busy, Jacobson felt she “needed to find something more fulfilling. I needed a purpose.” She found the University of Minnesota Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC) website, and was attracted to volunteering with the Community Teachers for Health Professional Students program at the U.
Jacobson corralled her husband into helping at the Wellstone Center Food Market, part of the nonprofit Neighborhood House in St. Paul, working with immigrants and refugees. That led to Jacobson’s passion for working with ESL [English as a second language] students and the Tutoring in Your Community Program at Arlington Church, where she assists groups of students developing their language skills. In addition, she is working one-on-one with a student in the Reader/Writer Program at Franklin Middle School. Most recently, Jacobson started training with the International Institute of Minnesota to assist immigrants and refugees seeking U.S. citizenship.
“The number of possibilities URVC offers is wonderful!” Jacobson said. “You just figure out what works for you.”
To learn more about volunteer opportunities available through URVC, please call 612-625-8016 or visit urvc.umn.edu where you can register to receive information related to your areas of interest.
—Peggy Mann Rinehart
For 2023 grant year, the UMRA PDGR Committee reviewed 10 applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees. The applications covered a diverse set of topics and goals. The PDGR Committee recommended that nine be funded in April 2023. The recipients represented the Morris and Twin Cities Campus. The awardees and grant abstracts are listed on the 2023 PDGR Abstracts page.
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