She cares at Wee Care


by Matt Bower

  var uslide_show_id = “0421E44E-1C66-4278-8CD1-AED921E05DA8”; var slideshowwidth = “468”; var linktext = “She cares at Wee Care”; Amanda Haag finds enjoyment in the wee things in life. In fact, due to the Simpson senior’s volunteer work at the Wee Care Respite Nursery, she was recently awarded the United Way Action Council Youth Service Volunteer Award.

Haag spent a semester studying in Australia, where she performed many service projects, so she was looking for a place to continue that spirit of volunteering when she returned to Simpson. She found it at Wee Care, located in Indianola at the First United Methodist Church.

“I did a lot of volunteering in Australia and when I got back to Simpson, I needed a new place to go,” Haag said.

The respite nursery provides a place where parents can drop off their children so they can get a break from parenting. It’s a free service to all Warren County residents.

Haag learned about Wee Care through the college’s Lilly Initiative program and she has been working there since February. Her favorite part about volunteering there is working with both her co-workers and the children.

“When I’m there, it’s like I’m on vacation and I don’t have to worry about anything but the kids,” Haag said. “It’s a getaway for me.”

She said her work has allowed her to develop some close relationships with some of the children.

“I’ve made some great connections with the kids,” Haag said. “When they see you and remember you and talk about how much fun they’re having with you, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Haag performs many duties at the nursery – everything from supervising the children and making sure they are having fun to ensuring their safety and helping out with crafts and snack time.

“I also read books and sing songs to the kids as well as help out in the baby room by holding, feeding and taking care of the babies,” Haag said.

Wee Care program director Lisa Gray said Haag has been valuable help at the nursery since she started because she’s responsible and has a great attitude with the children.

“We needed an extra set of hands and Amanda has been willing to do anything we ask of her,” Gray said. “She’s also very respectful and understanding of our program and the confidentiality that is involved with it.”

As a way to thank Haag for her hard work and dedication, Gray nominated her for the United Way Action Council Youth Service Volunteer award.

“She won the award and will receive a certificate signed by Governor Vilsack,” Gray said.

Even though Haag won an award for her community service, she said volunteering isn’t about what she can gain from the experience.

“It’s more about what I can give to the other workers and the children,” Haag said. “I can help out the other workers by giving them a break and I can provide a positive role model for the kids.”

During the summer, Haag worked at the nursery two times a week, but now that she has a full class schedule, she said it’s been hard to find time to get there.

“I thought I would have a schedule that could work around it, but it didn’t turn out that way,” Haag said. “But I’m still able to get there at least once a week and contribute something, so that makes me feel good.”

But even with all that Haag has given, she feels she’s gotten more in return.

“I’m grateful to be a part of Wee Care,” Haag said. “I want to thank the people there for making it so great and making me want to come back.”