URVC—Making a difference
More than 500 U of M retirees, spouses, partners, and friends currently participate in virtual or on-site volunteer opportunities—on the Twin Cities campus or in the metro area—offered through the University Retirees Volunteer Center (URVC). Working with U of M units and community agencies, the all-volunteer URVC project team facilitates the development of these volunteer opportunities and the recruitment of participants.
A sampling of current and upcoming volunteer opportunities includes:
Future City Competition seeking judges
The Future City Competition engages more than 45,000 middle school students each year throughout the United States and abroad. Students attest that the program increases their motivation and excitement about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and teachers report a marked improvement in students’ 21st century skills.
“A Waste-Free Future” is the theme for the 2021–22 competition. Engineers, surveyors, architects, city planners, scientists, and other STEM professionals are needed to volunteer as judges to evaluate the students’ work.
Afghan refugee resettlement
Since September, more than 100 Afghan families have arrived in Minnesota after fleeing their country under extreme circumstances. One of the Minnesota agencies providing volunteers to assist with services for those arrivals is the Salvation Army Northern Division Emergency Disaster Services.
Working alongside Hennepin Country Human Services site managers, volunteers help with immediate needs for the evacuees—bringing meals, sorting donations, having fun with the kids!—at a temporary shelter in a metro-area hotel.
To find the registration links for both these activities, log on to the URVC volunteer site and click on the Projects tab at the top of home page. Or you may contact URVC by email (preferred) at [email protected] or by phone at 612-625-8016.
Literacy Mentors needed for East Side Learning Center
A key aspect of the tutoring and mentoring programs at the East Side Learning Center (ESLC) in St. Paul is the one-on-one time students have with a caring adult. For this Literacy Mentors program, volunteers will work with preK to third grade students who are not yet at age-appropriate reading level and will benefit from one-on-one, in-person, or virtual tutoring.
ESCL is an affiliate host of the national, intergenerational tutoring program, AARP Foundation Experience Corps.
—Deanne Magnusson, URVC vice chair and project director
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.
In mid-July, a hacker on the “dark web” claimed they had gained access to University records with more than seven million Social Security numbers. Here’s what you can do if you are concerned about the security of your records and online identity.
Meet UMRA member Paul Ranelli, a man of many talents. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as professor emeritus, Santa Claus, photographer, voice talent, and public address announcer. Funny AND educated!
With this year’s World Series coming up soon, UMRA member Ron Matross is savoring memories of sharing America’s pastime with his son at the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in the 1980s. Those were glory days for the Minnesota Twins.
UMRA members have logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to the University and broader community through the Silver Gopher Service Corps since its launch six months ago.
How I learned, this summer, that my great aunt, one of my paternal grandfather’s sister, was included in a fresco at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. As far as I know she is the only relative of mine who is part of a fresco anywhere in the world.
Meet UMRA member Joni Mitchell, no relation to the “other” Joni Mitchell but there is an interesting connection.
Applications for UMRA’s 2024 Professional Development Grants for Retirees competition will be accepted beginning October 1. Funding of up to $5,000 per grant is available.
Sneak Preview Days have been happening at the University for many years. This year, adding 18 UMRA Silver Gopher Service Corps volunteers put a new twist on the welcome. Who better to provide a friendly greeting and lend a helping hand than those of us who have spent our careers at the University?
One of the great benefits that come with UMRA membership is the discounted rate for parking in University parking facilities. Forgotten whether you’ve already renewed your UMRA membership for 2023–24? It’s easy to check online.
Eric Hockert and Ron Matross represented UMRA at the 2023 Big Ten Retirees Association Conference held at UW–Madison in late July. They enjoyed sharing ideas and practices with the other conference attendees, and came away with several ideas worth pursuing.
The UMRA Board has selected Midland Hills Country Club in Roseville as the location for five of our in-person luncheon forums in the coming year, in part because of the high marks those who attended last year’s forums gave the location for its food, service, and easy and free parking.
As retirees, we are all learning to adapt to a world that seems to change on a daily basis. So, the editorial committee of the Journal of Opinions, Ideas & Essays (JOIE) is inviting UMRA members to share their thoughts on resilience via a short essay.