Joining us on the Board of Directors this year is Adrienne McKeown, Director of Communication & Administration for St. John Paul II Catholic Church.
How did you get involved with United Way?
I first got involved with United Way right after I graduated from college and started working at Citibank. Citi was very supportive of having employees volunteer in the community, especially with the Sioux Empire United Way. I think my first volunteer role was organizing the selling of roses as part of Citi's employee campaign for SEUW. Since then, I've volunteered in a variety of different roles with SEUW, including leading the Citi campaign and Heart Club, serving as a campaign manager for other firms, working on the WomenUnite luncheon, and helping to allocate funds for 15 years in the Community Impact division. Of course, I've also been a dedicated member of the Heart Club for the past 21 years.
What's a unique service provided by United Way funded programs that you discovered through your time as a Community Impact volunteer?
That's a hard choice! During my years in Community Impact, I've learned quite a bit about the counseling and the after school programs provided in our community by serving on those teams. However, I also have been able to hear a little bit about all of the different programs when all of the impact teams come together at the chairs meetings. One unique (and often unheard of) program that I discovered is "Sad Isn't Bad." It's a program that helps children and families deal with the grief caused by the loss of a loved one. It is such an important program that helps people at a very critical crossroads in their lives.
Living in a community outside of Sioux Falls, how do you see the impact of United Way programs in your community?
Harrisburg is growing quickly and is much more diverse than it was even a few years ago, so even though we are an outlying community, our residents still benefit from United Way funding. One of the ways I see the impact of UW programs here is through my role as a volunteer mentor with Lutheran Social Services Everyday Heroes program. I've seen the impact and importance of the relationships established between mentors and their mentees, and even though COVID restrictions have suspended in-person mentoring this school year, in a smaller town like this, I still see my mentee out and about in the community and am able to keep in contact with her. Harrisburg is also a very young community, so I see United Way funded programs like Girls on the Run and the Imagination Library (Dolly Parton books) impacting many of our young people.
Can you share some of your local faves?
- Family outing/activity? Our favorite family activity is getting together with three other families from our church once a month for "Family Game Night." It started about 2 1/2 years ago, and this friend group has really become our extended family. We're raising our kids together--sharing carpool duty, watching each others' kids, doing fun activities like movies or trips to the lake, etc.--and having fun together as families. It's given our kids--and the adults, too!--a sense of what it means to grow up with a village surrounding you.
- Fave thing to do/find in Harrisburg, that’s not available in SF? If you asked my kids that question, their answer would certainly be going to Air Madness! For me, one of the best things about living in Harrisburg is that we still have the small town feel. The other day, I was able to grab lunch, take care of something for my daughter at the eye doctor, fill up with gas, and get back to my office—all in only 15 minutes! Along the way, I also had a meaningful conversation with a fellow resident as I waited for my lunch order. Having grown up in a small town, I greatly appreciate the sense of community and camaraderie that comes with knowing the people you are sharing life with.
- Fave meal to eat out? I would probably have to go with a hibachi meal because it includes dinner and a show. I love watching the chefs work their magic on the grill, and I try to imitate the recipes at home. I don't think I'll ever be able to twirl the spatulas or flip the eggs into my hat like they do though! And I'm terrible at catching the food they toss out!