Charlenne Jacobson started her volunteer journey at the Central Iowa Shelter & Services in January 2011. She answers the phones, helps with some of the office work, helps take much needed donations, and interacts with some of the residents at the shelter.
Jacobson comes into contact with an assortment of interesting people, of whom many are veterans. Although they lack the comforts of home, she finds that they don’t want pity or sympathy, but rather a job and a place to call home.
In June, Jacobson was given the opportunity of a lifetime with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She became the first member to start work on the Veterans Outreach Project with the aim of ending veteran homelessness in central Iowa. Jacobson says she feels fortunate to be able to come back to the shelter and help the veterans.
For the last few months, Jacobson and other VISTA members have been interviewing veterans at the shelter. They are working to identify what their needs are and the best practices to address them. Jacobson’s interviews support the overall outreach project by discovering the needs of the veterans, which aids in informing their outreach and support work. Jacobson contributes to the veteran community by providing aid and bringing their unique stories to light.