Making Connections – Building Friendships
Moraine Park Technical College student Jordyn Schmitt, of Rubicon, found a lasting friendship through her volunteer work at Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County.
Schmitt, a first-year student in the College’s Nursing program, is also part of Moraine Park’s Promise program, an opportunity for debt-free tuition. As part of the program requirements, Schmitt volunteers in her community and selected Interfaith as her service site.
Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County is a community-based nonprofit organization that helps seniors in the county remain independent. Volunteers help with tasks such as transportation and grocery shopping or simply serve as a friendly face checking in from time to time.
“I choose to provide transportation services,” Schmitt said. “I enjoy helping in this way. As a nursing student, I know how essential doctor appointments are and how, at times, transportation is a barrier. I’m glad to help where I can.”
It was through her volunteer work that Schmitt met Carole Banse, of West Bend. Banse is unable to transport herself and relies on the support of Interfaith’s services for her vital doctor appointments.
“I don’t know what I would do without this service. It has really saved me,” Banse said. “It helps my family too. It was hard to always ask them to take me early or pick me up, they have jobs and it is just too much.”
Schmitt and Banse have enjoyed each other’s company so much that they make sure they are paired up in Interfaith’s system.
“Interfaith’s system allows the selection of preferred volunteers and members, and I always select Carole right away,” Schmitt said. “We have great conversations and I enjoy hearing about her life and family. We even found out that we are distantly related! I feel blessed to know her and be part of her life.”
The relationship being cultivated between Schmitt and Banse is exactly what Moraine Park’s student impact initiatives hope to achieve. A seemingly small student contribution within the community that creates a lasting impact.
“Jordyn and I have such good conversations when we get together even with the age difference,” Banse said. “She fits in so beautifully and she doesn’t treat me like an old lady. She is always bubbly and perks me up. I am very thankful.”
The pandemic halted Interfaith’s services for a while, but when they restarted in February 2021, Schmitt and Banse were excited to resume their normal routine.
“I would have never guessed that I would make a lifelong friend through this opportunity,” Schmitt said. “My advice to others is to open yourself up, give it a try and never put an age limitation on friendship.”
Schmitt is expected to graduate in May 2023. She hopes to continue volunteering for Interfaith and driving Banse throughout her schooling.
Read more stories like Jordyn and Carole’s in our Fall 2021 NEXT Magazine.