Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Tuesday, a national study ranked the Twin Cities No. 1 in the United States, for volunteering.
It just goes to show that Minnesotans tackle tough assignments — everything from children’s literacy to veteran’s needs to environmental clean up.
Jason Hammang lives at the Ridgeview home run by an organization called “Hammer.”
The suburban Twin Cities complex is home to more than 500 people with disabilities, where volunteers have been helping since the 1920s.
“They really help people that just need a little bit of help and instead of being in an institution they’re really using their life skills they’re learning things and they’re becoming a great part of society,” said Trevor Studanski, a volunteer.
On Tuesday, volunteers like Studanski have come to play Wii.
“It helps with their dexterity and stuff because they’re constantly moving,” he said.
Whether it’s having fun at Hammer or out on a field trip, Hammang said the volunteers make all the difference.
“We like to go out and do stuff with them, like Twins games,” he said.
If he wasn’t living under “Hammer’s roof” he’d be living with his parents or a group home.
“The group homes, there what you call it, like cerebral palsy, and they can’t do very much stuff,” he said. “This is mostly my home and I really like it a lot.”
Studanski feels the same way. He started with the organization three years ago.
“Volunteering might be a little selfish for me because I get a lot out of it,” he said.
And he’s not alone — 37 percent of those living in the Twin Cities volunteer, contributing more than $2 billion in service. Now he hopes Minnesota’s enthusiasm for volunteering will catch on in the rest of the country.
Overall, the state ranked No. 3, behind Utah and Iowa. The survey shows Minnesotans are educated, have short commutes and own our homes and that is what drives us to be better connected to our community.