Eagle Rare Life Award Nominee

Jennifer Knutson

Date Added

November 7th, 2016

CHARITY

Minis and Friends

Category

Character

VOTES

41

VIEWS

1747
The voting for the contest is closed
 

“Character from the heart/soul/above and beyond her duties in all her volunteering.”

My sister has overcome several adversities. Jen was in the military for over 6 years and is now a disabled vet. Her stories are really up to her to tell. She has gone through many years of PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. She also took care of our other sister when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She and Deb lived down in Texas while the rest of us live in Minnesota. Unfortunately, our sister did not make it. Jen took care of Deb for three years by herself and never complained once. She was there side by side with Deb during the surgeries, chemo and of course the worse parts of the following days of Deb's deteriorating health right before she had to go into hospice where she passed. Because all of this and much more, she feel into a hole and became depressed, angry and isolated all over again, until she heard of this amazing organization called Mini and Friends. This organization is a mobile herd of miniature therapy horses that visit children's hospitals, senior living facilities, Alzheimer facilities, children with intellectual and emotional hardship, just like she had. They also go to facilities where kids are taken out of their homes and placed there with little warning. This organization has pulled such a strength out of her that we never thought we would see again.

Jen has been with Minis and Friends for a little over 3 years now. In this time, she has become a Master Volunteer. She also helped develop and has taken on the responsibility of "Office Manager". She has now been asked to create and become the editor of their newletter ! Because of her dedication, she has even been asked to help develop and become part of the EGI Volunteer Training Team, where she trains new volunteers how to interact with the minis for visits. She goes beyond what an ordinary volunteer does at every chance she can. She has spent much of her own money buying thing for the organization, the volunteers, items for fundraising, not to mention the things she makes for the same. She does it cause she loves it. That's the kind of person she is. She's never asked to do these things, she comes up with it and goes on her own and does them. She does fundraising on her own and researching the net to find anything that can better this organization. Most of all, now she smiles, engages with people and makes it her mission to help others not feel the way she has felt before.

Jen also volunteers at the Blood and Tissue Center. She works in the Canteen. Again here she goes above and beyond what is required or expected of the average volunteer because she wants to and wants to make the donors feel special. She brings in cupcakes every now and then, specially around the holidays, which she is known as the canteen decorator, for she decorates it for every season.. She buys prizes for trivia questions. She even prints out search, crosswords, and other puzzles so they have something to do. But what she's really good at is having conversations with them. She loves to talk to them and they love to talk to her. She has been volunteer of the month a couple times and have had many positive comment cards sent in about her. There are several donors that come in on Weds because that is the day she asked to be her day (no other volunteer has a specific day). She goes in more days than any other volunteer also.

To really sum it up. Jen, my sis, goes so far out to make everyone she comes into contact with feel special and important I want her to feel it in return. She does so much without anyone asking her or thinking about it. She is just an over achiever and when you volunteer, sometimes you get overlooked when you are an exceptional one. She used to work for MADD and received two awards in the two years she volunteered there again, doing more than what was asked and more hours than what was needed, but unfortunately, they stopped with volunteers because of funding, but she excelled there as well. Jen has had many surgeries in the past two years but that has never kept her down or out of any of her volunteering, slowed her down maybe but she kept right on participating!. She still volunteered no matter what part of her body she had a cast or a boot on.

I know if she any money to be able to give to MF she would be thrilled. She tries to hard for them and they are such a small 501C3 group, that I think she would feel she finally got them to where they need to be. I'm sure there are more people out there with better stories, I'm not that great of story teller and within 500 words, to tell hers is impossible, but I hope you consider her because what she does is amazing.