For the City Times
Submitted by Angela Loucks, Volunteer Center Director
Janet Winn is living proof that volunteers truly come from all walks of life: Janet, 91, doesn’t let a little thing like age stop her from giving back to the community.
Winn has volunteered at Career Closet for over 13 years. It all started when she visited the Volunteer Center because she was looking for something to do in her retirement. She selected Career Closet because “it appealed to me,” said Winn. “I like clothes and helping people!”
Career Closet, a United Way Partner Program, provides clothing at no cost to men and women who are interviewing for a job, or have secured a job and are in need for clothing but can’t afford them. They also provide clothing for students who need it for school presentations.
Career Closet is important because getting a job – or upgrading to a better job – is a way for families to step up to a better life. However, having appropriate clothing for the interview or the job once they are hired can be cost prohibitive. “So many jobs require certain clothing,” said Winn, “such as black slacks, tan pants, scrubs or steel toed shoes.”
During a typical day, volunteers take in clients – many have been referred by a local agency (however, clients do not need a referral).
“When a client comes in, we gather information, like what job they are interviewing for – or what job they got – and try to help them find clothing that is suitable,” said Winn. “Then we sort donations in between tasks. We record what we do in a log book. This keeps us connected, since we do not see the other volunteers. Finally, we all have individual jobs to do too. My job is maintaining the racks in the lady’s clothing room.”
“The people who come here are in need,” said Winn. “They need clothing for a certain job and they can’t afford it. We get them into something until they can earn some money. And it’s amazing what clothing we get donated. It’s such a good program. I’m proud I’ve been able to volunteer here as long as I have.”
Janet will be moving soon to be closer to her daughter in Florida, and the folks at Career Closet are going to miss her. But they know Janet will be staying busy wherever her travels take her.
To learn more about Career Closet or other volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteerinnerwisc.org or call 715-421-0390. Whether you are aged 9 or 91, they are bound to have a volunteer opportunity just for you.
Volunteer Spotlight Facts
- Name: Janet Winn, age 91
- Nominating Agency: Career Closet
- Residence: Wisconsin Rapids; moving to Florida in December.
- Family: Janet has a daughter in Florida, a son in Oshkosh and four grandchildren.
- Occupation: Janet is retired from Polansky’s Buick, where she worked as a bookkeeper.
- Hobbies and interests: Knitting, crocheting, genealogy, sudoku, crossword puzzles.