Local volunteer nominated for national award

Kevin Cederstrom June Stafki of New York Mills is one of 12 finalists named for Catholic Charities USAs Volunteer of the Year Award. Stafki, who lives at Kaleva Apartments in Mills and volunteers as a foster grandparent in Perham, ...

Kevin Cederstrom

June Stafki of New York Mills is one of 12 finalists named for Catholic Charities USAs Volunteer of the Year Award.

Stafki, who lives at Kaleva Apartments in Mills and volunteers as a foster grandparent in Perham, is honored at the recognition but feels she isnt doing anything too extraordinary. She works with kids daily at Heart of the Lakes Elementary in Perham and her reward comes in seeing them improve.

My payback is everything Im getting from them, She said humbly. I gain much more than I put into it.


June, who is known to her foster grandchildren as Grandma June, volunteers 4-5 hours a day, five days a week at the school and helps the kids improve in school, with special attention on reading.

She enjoys seeing a child at the beginning of the year who is not trying and watch them develop and improve to the end of the year. Thats why she does it. It makes your heart feel good, June said.

And she spends a lot of time listening to the kids and talking to them about whatever problems they have. She said the kids feel comfortable opening up to her.

I wanted to be able to do something to help people, she said. These kids are not spoiled. Many of them are just not getting the love and care they need. There are a lot of disruptive families.

Stafki was chosen from nominations submitted by local Catholic Charities agencies and other Catholic Charities member institutions for exemplifying the spirit and mission of Catholic Charities in reducing poverty, supporting families, and empowering communities.

In 2002, Grandma June began volunteering with Catholic Charities and the Foster Grandparent program at Lakes Elementary. Today, she contributes around 80 hours a month by working with children. She helps run learning stations in classrooms at the elementary school, works with class reading groups, and serves as an adult mentor by participating in activities with the children.

Grandma June volunteers at the school and utilizes her talents and love to help children from difficult homes prosper in their academics, self-esteem, and social abilities, said Becky Martinson, area supervisor of Catholic Charities Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent program. She believes that academics are important, but that all children need to know someone loves them before they can properly learn.

June also does volunteer work with Tri-County Hospice and Friends of the Library in Mills.


This annual award recognizes the invaluable contributions volunteers make to the Catholic Charities network of human services agencies. The 2006 award recipient will be announced during National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, and will be honored at Catholic Charities USAs Annual Gathering on Sept. 15 in Minneapolis.

Grandma June is also involved with the Rainbow Widows Club, a group for recently widowed people that she originated. She attends United Way events to represent Catholic Charities and volunteers with the VFW Auxiliary, the Wadena Dance Club, Friends of the Library, and Christian Mothers.

Volunteers nationwide provide the backbone of the Catholic Charities movement. In 2005, Catholic Charities Central Minnesota Foster Grandparent program utilized 251 Foster Grandparents who served a total of 4,518 children at 100 volunteer stations for a total of 180,519 hours of service. Collectively, local Catholic Charities agencies rely on more than 213,000 volunteers each year to serve more than seven million people of all faiths and diverse needs

To learn about the other finalists, visit .

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud is a nonprofit organization which provides help, creates hope, and serves all faiths across 16 Central Minnesota counties. The agency operates 40 programs of human service and serves over 54,000 children, adults, and senior citizens yearly.

Catholic Charities USAs members-more than 1,700 local agencies and institutions nationwide-provide help and create hope for 7.1 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic background. For more than 275 years, local Catholic Charities agencies have been providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from day care and counseling to food and housing. For more information, visit .

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