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Young Leaders United feel ‘pool’ of volunteerism

Volunteer AnalisWaring Valparaiso (left) plays pool with Billy Piatek 13 play pool South Haven Boys   Girls Club South

Volunteer Analisa Waring of Valparaiso (left) plays pool with Billy Piatek, 13 play pool at the South Haven Boys & Girls Club in South Haven, IN on Thursday February 7, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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◆ For more on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County, go to www.bgcpoco.org. To volunteer at the South Haven unit, call 759-2565.

◆ To learn about the United Way of Porter County and its programs and services, go to www.unitedwaypc.org, or call 464-3583.

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Updated: March 22, 2013 10:04AM



Dan Trapp, 29, is a business banker at First Source Bank.Recently, though, after his workday was over, he headed to the South Haven unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County to play checkers and hang out with the club’s kids.

“It’s not that much different from home,” Trapp, a Valparaiso father of a newborn and a 3-year-old, joked.

Trapp is a member of Young Leaders United, a program of the United Way of Porter County that provides networking and volunteer opportunities for young professionals ages 20 to 40.

For a couple of hours on Feb. 7, about 15 members of the group volunteered at the South Haven club, which director Ron Ranta said is in desperate need of volunteers. He has one volunteer for a club that served 800 kids last year. He could easily use a dozen more.

“It’s nothing short of an emergency to have more volunteers,” Ranta said, adding he has coaches for the club’s sports program, but not volunteers for the six days the club offers other programming to members. The club is on track to serve 200 kids a day this month. “There are certain kids we can’t reach.”

The Young Leaders program started in June, after the revamping of another, similar group, said Mackenna Dickt, volunteer coordinator for the United Way. The group meets once or twice a month, targeting those who support the United Way in some way.

Given how short the South Haven club is on volunteers, Dickt said it was a good place to help out, with the hope that some Young Leaders will establish an ongoing relationship with the club.

“I really want to see at least a couple people coming back,” she said.

For his part, Trapp said he likes pitching in when he can, even though he doesn’t have a lot of time for it. And he liked playing with the kids in South Haven.

“It makes more of an impact,” he said. “I make a donation (to United Way) every week out of my paycheck, but it’s more real.”



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