Volunteering + Nonprofits
Good Deeds: 2012 Volunteer Hall of Fame
Ten outstanding volunteers who make a positive difference around the Twin Cities.
Photo by Stephanie Colgan
» The Tutor - Michael Guggenheim
“There’s a lot to learn from these kids and how brave they’ve been.”
At age 5, Michael Guggenheim was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a condition that makes it painful to write by hand. But when his parents bought him a laptop, he started excelling in school. This gave him an idea. “One of the main skill sets you need to get a job is knowing how to type and use a computer,” he says. “If I could teach homeless children to use a computer, hopefully that could help get them out of the vicious cycle of homelessness.” He founded a nonprofit organization called Showing People Learning and Technology. Guggenheim, now 16, collects donated computers from local companies and tutors children at the Neighborhood House and People Serving People. “There’s a lot to learn from these kids and how brave they’ve been,” he says.
» The Athlete - Kent Herbek
Nearly every Minnesotan knows Kent Hrbek as the former first baseman for the Minnesota Twins. He uses that star power to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “When you lose your father to ALS and watch him waste away to nothing, that rings a bell,” Hrbek says. He’s worked with The ALS Association Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter since 1993. He helped start a series of fundraisers—from golf tournaments to snowmobile races—with the money going to medical research and equipment to help those who have ALS. “It’s a killing disease, but we try to comfort people who have ALS as much as possible,” he says.
» The Musician - Ann Buran
To those who know her, it’s no surprise that Ann Buran volunteers for music organizations in the Twin Cities. A successful pianist and organist, she’s a past chairman of VocalEssence, a founding member of the Frederic Chopin Society, and a fundraiser for the MacPhail Center for Music. Plus, every Tuesday, she plays the piano at Whittier International Elementary School. “Music is a natural fit for me, because it’s one of my gifts,” Buran says. “It’s a universal communicating tool, and it brings people together in so many ways.” With a passion for giving that reaches beyond music, Buran also serves as a hospice volunteer for Methodist Hospital, comforting those who are about to die. “It’s inspiring to be with them, and I feel privileged to be part of that process,” she says.
» The Big Sister - Molly Doran
“Getting involved is less intimidating if you bring a friend or tag along with someone who already has a relationship with an organization. Talk to the volunteer coordinator or someone who can give you a bit of a briefing.”
“Volunteering is something that I was raised with, and that example was passed on to me,” says Molly Doran, who comes from a family of volunteers. As a kid she tagged along with her grandmother working with patients at Children’s of Minnesota. Today Doran is particularly drawn to youth organizations. She’s volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities since 2003, and she works with Children’s Grief Connection of Minnesota and Amanda the Panda Family Grief Center. She’s also an active member of Cretin-Derham Hall’s and Drake University’s alumni associations. It makes for a busy schedule, but she can’t get enough of it. “Some volunteer experiences are just so powerful that it’s an addiction,” she says. “You just keep coming back.”