We Believe in Social Good.
In 1983, the Volunteer Center was founded by a group of community leaders led by Sharon Ziegler. These visionaries imagined a single place that connected volunteers with local for-purpose organizations. Fast forward to today and we still love matching people with the perfect volunteer opportunity. We’ve also grown to offer exciting programs that share a powerful message: it’s really quite simple to do good!
When you volunteer through the Volunteer Center, you’re helping a local for-purpose organization continue their important work. Whether you give a helping hand to someone in need, clean up a local park, or do any sort of good in between, you’re making a difference right here in the community in which you live.
Sue Millin, Executive Director
Sue’s personal mission of “leaving more than you take in this world” has led her to more than 35 years of nonprofit work. She joined the Volunteer Center team in 2012 and really enjoys being a community connector. Leading the Volunteer Center has allowed Sue to work closely with so many nonprofits doing amazing work in Washington County. Her vision and creativity has helped re-imagine the Volunteer Center’s founding mission to make a powerful impact for today’s volunteers.
Sue has been an active volunteer in our community and is currently serving on the board of directors for the Historic West Bend Theatre – a group working to turn the iconic theater into a multi-use arts and gathering space. She recently trained with her labradoodle, Cooper, to become a certified therapy team. Together, they volunteer at locations throughout southeast Wisconsin.
In her free time, Sue enjoys spending time with family and friends in Door County…tromping around the outdoors, harvesting prairie seeds, hunting morel mushrooms, upcycling old stuff… and always looks forward to her annual trip to NYC with her daughter (where they’ve been known to take in more than 10 Broadway shows in 6 days!)
Melanie Gonring, Director of Programming
Inspired by a middle school presentation about volunteering, Melanie walked through the Volunteer Center doors in 1996 and asked, “how can I help?” She spent 6 years volunteering at the Center and its many partner agencies before moving to the Twin Cities for college.
Melanie has worked as an event coordinator and as a marketing assistant at a corporate law firm but longed for a career where she could make a difference. In 2009, Melanie joined AmeriCorps and was placed “back home” at the Volunteer Center. She’s worn almost every hat here, but discovered that her favorite role is developing programs that inspire others to give back and build stronger communities. She is currently seeking her Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the Helen Bader Institute at UW-Milwaukee.
When she’s not working Melanie enjoys spending time with her husband and teenage son, traveling, a good trivia night, pretending she’s an Olympic figure skater, and (badly) playing her ukulele. She even finds time to volunteer, having been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County for 7 years and currently tutoring Latino adults seeking US citizenship at Casa Guadalupe.
Kayla Bieszk, Community Engagement Manager
A day of service in 2015 brought Kayla to the Volunteer Center’s front door. After 50 flights of stairs lugging rubbermaid containers up from storage, a few stubbed toes, and plenty of laughs, Kayla knew the Volunteer Center was the place she had to be! She came back as full-time volunteer manager a few short weeks later.
Kayla brings professional experience in public relations, event coordination, and customer service to her role. Her favorite part of the job is working with some seriously good people (the wonderful thing about volunteers is, well, they’re wonderful!). And in a world of busy schedules and full plates, she also loves reminding people that you don’t need to be Superman to make a big difference…sometimes all it takes is a few hours and a friendly smile!
When she’s not matching volunteers, you’ll find Kayla enjoying time with her husband and baby daughter, adventuring in the great outdoors, or trying (key word: trying) to tackle some sort of home project. She also serves as a hospice volunteer and is an aspiring master gardener volunteer with the University of Wisconsin Extension.
Michelle Spettel, Marketing & Outreach Specialist
Volunteering has always been a part of Michelle’s story. She grew up knowing it’s just what you do to be a part of your community.
She first experienced the Volunteer Center while working for a different company in the same building downtown. Michelle headed down the hall to find a meaningful way to help. Turned out, the Volunteer Center needed some graphic design assistance and was looking for new marketing committee members. A year later, she officially joined the staff. These days Michelle’s doing super cool things like designing buses and coffee shops!
When not at work you might find Michelle in Mexico, roaming the streets looking for the best taco stand. She is also very involved with Spotlight Productions where she designs and creates sets for all the shows. Eight crazy years ago Michelle was asked to design a set for Cats. Fifteen shows later; it has been a great way to volunteer, grow incredible friendships, and spend time (lots of time) with family.
Becky Kemnitz, Office Manager
Becky believes that through volunteering you create a strong connection with those you serve and more importantly a connection in your community. She found the Volunteer Center through her love for local coffee shops. The Hub’s mission in the community in connecting people to volunteer opportunities over a cup of good brew combined two things that she loves!
Becky has a background in office management and loves organizing those around her, supporting her team and being the front line to a company. She has served on LiFE OF HOPE’s board of directors as part of their grant writing team and is involved in their Butterfly Run. She finds the mission of making a genuine connection in her community through volunteerism an important driving force.
When she isn’t busy being the glue that holds the office together, you’ll find her hiking with family, enjoying Door County and having coffee with friends. In the winter she fills her time as a volunteer coach for a local cheer team and has a passion for teaching the girls servant leadership while being active in a team sport. She is looking forward to meeting each of you as you stop in at the Volunteer Center!
Roberta Rinzel, Hub Manager
Roberta’s passion for specialty coffee and volunteer engagement led her to the Volunteer Center. A strong believer in “being the change you wish to see in the world,” she jumped at the chance to serve the community literally and figuratively.
Roberta’s background in horticulture led her to a career in organic vegetable farming. In the off season, her love of local cafes resulted in a second career as a barista at a coffee shop in Cedarburg. There she quickly worked her way up to manager, and is excited to start a new chapter, mentoring a crew of volunteer baristas here at The Hub.
When not learning about and consuming yummy coffee and tea, Roberta enjoys growing herbs, flowers and vegetables and spending time with her family and lovable cockapoo sidekick, Sunny.
Jeremy Braun, Hub Coach
Jeremy is dedicated to the art (literally!) of serving up delicious coffee, making him the perfect addition to Volunteer Center team. He learned about The Hub by chance when a friend invited him to meet there, and he fell in love with the mission and the idea of working with volunteer baristas.
Jeremy studied small business management and entrepreneurship at Illinois State University. During that time he also began his career working in coffee houses. There he developed a passion for teaching others about coffee and bringing to light the work of those working in the coffee supply chain. He moved to West Bend in the summer of 2017, and loves that he gets to learn more about his new community while working for the Volunteer Center.
When he’s not training volunteers, serving up tasty drinks, or throwing down in latte art competitions, Jeremy enjoys playing chess and scuba diving. He also enjoys….wait for it….procrastinating.
Sydney Lawrenz, Program Coordinator
Growing up with a teacher and social worker for parents, Sydney always loved helping people. While working at Riveredge Nature Center, she first noticed the Do Good Bus and discovered it was connected to a local cafe she hadn’t yet visited. One visit to The Hub and she was hooked.
Sydney has dedicated her life to people and the outdoors. During high school she attended a three-year leadership camp which became a passion. It developed into a bachelor’s degree from UW-Stevens Point in Sociology, Camp Management & Youth Programming, and Adventure Education and afterwards, Sydney honed her skills working at Riveredge as an environmental educator. Also during this time, she developed a strong love of coffee and coffee shop exploration. She even spent a few years as a barista for Starbucks. Sydney never imagined that her two passions could unfold into one position…until she discovered the Volunteer Center!
When she’s not helping to develop programs for the Volunteer Center and The Hub, Sydney’s usually planning the next travel adventure for her husband and two dogs, Remi and Koda. Every summer she spends a week volunteering as a high school leadership mentor at the camp that started it all for her, and it’s always the most inspiring experience of the year. Sydney believes that everything happens for a reason, that everyone should live life to their absolute fullest, and to always appreciate the little moments of happiness each day.
Sammy Petitte, Hub Barista
A degree in non-profit management, a history of helping people through volunteer work, and a love of great coffee all brought Sammy Petitte to The Hub. Having first contributed more than 100 volunteer hours at The Hub, she was thrilled to join our staff.
After living in West Bend her entire life, Sammy earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky in Community and Leadership Development and is currently finishing up her Master’s in Recreational Therapy at UW-La Crosse. She has spent much of her time working with equine therapy programs, volunteering her time and training to become a therapeutic riding instructor. She has also given a TEDx talk entitled “Beatboxing as Therapy (And Other Impractical Career Choices)”. Currently, she is completing an internship at Rogers Memorial Hospital in the experiential therapy department, where she helps her patients process their recovery through experiences such as ropes courses, team-building initiatives, and yes, even beatboxing.
You can find her at The Hub on the weekend, but when she’s not there or at Rogers, you can most likely find her with her horse, Gracie, or doing something music-related. You can also often catch her performing at The Hub’s Play It Forward Open Mic nights!
Sandy Cashman | EPIC Creative
Beth Fellenz | Prescott Family Foundation
Gaytha Hillman | GrandCare Systems, LLC
Ted Neitzke | CESA 6
Mike Nowack | Senior Investment Consultant Baird
Lisa Sanborn | Kieckhafer, Dietzler, Hauser, Hanson LLP
Tim Schmidt | Delta Defense, LLC
Sharon Ziegler | Volunteer Center Founding Member
Carl Wegner, CPA | Wegner & Associates
Chris Zwygart | West Bend Mutual Insurance
Board of Directors
Jeff Szukalski, President | Jeff’s Spirits On Main
Jake Schmidt, Past President | West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.
Josephine Brzezinski, VP | Brookfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
Paul Price, Secretary | University of Wisconsin-Waukesha
Lisa Hammer, Treasurer | Wells Fargo Advisors
Rachel Bertsch | EPIC Creative
Jennifer Chamberlain | University of Wisconsin Colleges
Katie Evans | OTech Group
Tony Koebel | The Norbert
Glenn Leinen | Russ Darrow
Stacy Scherzer | Stacy Scherzer LLC
Tonnie Schmidt | Delta Defense
Marshall Welch | Stone Creek Coffee
The Volunteer Center mobilizes volunteers and resources to help improve the
quality of life in Washington County.
A community where every person discovers their power to make a difference…
creating a vibrant and healthy Washington County.