About Us

We’re so happy you stopped by!

Let us tell you our story.

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.

Support our Mission

Meet our Team

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!)

Miriam Kaja, Director of Hub Operations

“How can I help?” might have been the first words Miriam uttered. Whether for her family, friends, or community, helping comes by default. She once got in trouble as a child for voluntarily donating her allowance to support the plight of her brother’s desire for more candy.

When she wasn’t handing out her allowance, Miriam spent her childhood falling in love with two characters: Sherlock Holmes and Scooby Doo. One taught her the infinite power of reasoning, deduction, and observation. The other, a love of food, that an accidental solution is still a solution, and the reluctant hero is still heroic. They both made her laugh and love a good mystery.

As the Director of Hub Operations at the Volunteer Center, Miriam wonders frequently how she can help. She works hard to solve the mystery by drawing on the experiences of her life: in STEM education, in Data and Analytics, in restaurant ownership, as an expat in France, and finally, with a devoted, lifelong passion for infusing all the love in her heart into every recipe, drink, snack and crumb she touches.

With her new found love of indoor gardening, Miriam was surprised to discover that life happens exactly when it’s going to, and generally not sooner. When will the orchid bloom? When it’s ready. While she practices patience, her four, very wise feline assistants frequently remind her that the busyness of the day can only exist when you’ve spent part of it doing nothing.

When she’s not doing nothing, Miriam can be found at the opera, antiquing, thrifting, listening to her favorite Mildred Bailey record on vinyl, and watching nature go by from her balcony.

Kayla Bieszk, Community Engagement Director

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 the shows. Back in 2007 Michelle was asked to design the set for Cats, a whole bunch of 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 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!

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.

 

Dan Schultz, Do Good Ambassador

Dan took one ride on the Do Good Bus & knew he was ready for a more purpose-driven career. A few short months (& bus rides) later, Dan joined our team as our Do Good Ambassador.

Dan has a degree in Architecture from UW-Milwaukee & joins the Volunteer Center with over a decade of professional project management experience. Dan is excited to give his career new life by using his background in creative leadership to support his passion of doing good.

Dan is always up for an outdoor adventure. He loves hiking, biking, camping & traveling with his wife, Beth. When he’s not trekking through the woods, Dan’s most at peace with a cup of coffee & an acoustic guitar.

Monica Mauney, Hub Ambassador

Born and raised on her own little mountain in the foothills of North Carolina, one of Monica’s fundamental beliefs instilled in her by her father, is that even seemingly small acts can make a difference in the lives of others. Kind words, simple smiles, and heartfelt care can impact the world in huge ways. 

After college, Monica found her herself relocating around the country following her husband’s corporate career. Nine moves later Monica has developed a passion for textiles, furniture, art and gardening, and her version of homemaking entails rehabbing, refinishing, restoring, repurposing and re-landscaping. Her current, unending project is an 1860’s farmhouse on 30 acres.

When the family moved to West Bend, her girls found a thriving school and community theater program and Monica was hooked. She has volunteered in many facets within the local theater community and has even enjoyed several roles on stage with Spotlight Productions and The West Bend Children’s Theatre. Her favorite stage roles are Frau Bleucher in Young Frankenstein and Miss Spider in James and the Giant Peach.

This outreach has enabled her to touch the lives of others and she brings this same joy to her role at The Hub. 

Lydia Spettel, Lead Barista

Lydia grew up in West Bend. She has since moved to Evanston, IL, where she is studying Learning and Organizational Change, with minors in Music and Theatre, at Northwestern University. There, she is an Evans Scholar, Executive Director of Arts Alliance, and Director of Community Development for the 78th Annual Dolphin Show.

Between her involvement in these and many other student groups, Lydia has always found time to work a shift or two at a local coffee shop, Backlot Coffee. She truly admired the way Backlot sourced local products and provided a space for Evanston community members to gather.

The last summer that she was at home in West Bend, she tackled a couple projects for the Volunteer Center, including managing the auction site for the 2018 Community Mosaic Project. The Volunteer Center’s work has always been a source of inspiration for Lydia; as someone who wants to go into nonprofit development and fundraising herself, she looks to the Volunteer Center as an example.

She’s so excited to be joining The Hub team for the summer because it is the perfect combination of these two things, coffee-making and nonprofit work. She looks forward to being able to serve her hometown community in this way!

Rachel Mauney, Lead Barista

Rachel Mauney has grown up all over the country, but she considers West Bend to be her home. She currently attends the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University – Bloomington as a Vocal Performance Major. She is a member of the Singing Hoosiers and is a recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award Scholarship.

Opera and Musical Theater are Rachel’s two great passions. She’s performed quite a bit in the West Bend and Milwaukee area, most recently as the Third Spirit in The Florentine Opera’s The Magic Flute, Emma Carew in West Allis Player’s Jekyll & Hyde, and Inga in Spotlight Production’s Young Frankenstein.

She’s so excited to be working with the Volunteer Center at The Hub this summer. Her love of coffee parallels her love of volunteerism, and she is so grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community.

Advisory Council

Sandy Cashman | EPIC Creative

Beth Fellenz | Prescott Family Foundation

Gaytha Hillman | GrandCare Systems, LLC

Ted Neitzke | CESA 6

Mike Nowack | Baird, West Bend

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, President Emeritus | West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.
Josephine Brzezinski, VP | Brookfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lisa Hammer, Secretary | Wells Fargo Advisors
Eric DeGroot, Treasurer |  Michels Corporation
Rachel Bertsch | EPIC Creative
Jennifer Chamberlain | Monarch Library System
Terri Fredrich | First Weber
Andrew Kaehny | Steiner Electric, Inc
Tony Koebel | The Norbert
Glenn Leinen | Russ Darrow
Stacy Scherzer | Ascension
Tonnie Schmidt | Delta Defense

Mission

The Volunteer Center mobilizes volunteers and resources to help improve the
quality of life in Washington County.

Vision

A community where every person discovers their power to make a difference… creating a vibrant and healthy Washington County.