First Presbyterian Church Fort Dodge


Joe's Community Story

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Linda & I have made volunteering an important part of our lives. As we grew up we noticed adults, our parents, teachers, and church members giving of themselves, setting the example, leading fulfilling lives. We aspired to be like them.  Upon moving back to town, we found volunteering was the best way to be involved, to meet new people, and to reconnect with the church & community. We became involved in Butler Builders, Service Clubs, FD Swim Club and volunteered at 1st Presbyterian Church.

Volunteering was also good for our social life. Being new to a community or church we have found that volunteering gave us the opportunity to develop our social skills. Additionally, being around like-minded people gave us opportunity to strike up friendships with people who had common interests. We joined church committees, filled in when church staff was short, we coached youth soccer, and became team/group parents in our children’s activities.

Volunteering keeps us happy & somewhat healthy. Helping develop the recreational soccer program and facilities, we found that the more people we could get involved the happier everyone was. It builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes volunteering fun.

We felt volunteering set a good example for our kids. Adults are role models to the younger generation, so when kids see their parents and/or friends’ parents giving assistance, they are more likely to do the same. We took on more duties with soccer, became members of the School Foundation, Athletic Boosters and service clubs. We needed to practice what we preach. We hoped to teach our kids lessons in thoughtfulness and teamwork that they could later apply on a larger scale.

Linda and I believe that everyone has the ability to volunteer, no matter their profession, age or situation. Balancing your career, family and service is not as difficult as it may seem. Look around the church at the people you worship with, those who share their God-given talents throughout their daily lives. Volunteering is not for recognition or honors, but as a way of life.  When we see volunteers — we think “there are people that care, we want to be a part of that team.'".

-Joe Ruge