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In The Community

Special Recognition

Volunteer Spotlight - Peggy Gates-Wieneke
By Kristen Bosch, Development & Marketing Director

Crisis Nursery celebrates National Volunteer Week from April 6–12. The Nursery relies on over 150 volunteers per week, including Peggy Gates-Wieneke, who celebrated her 20 year volunteer anniversary in March. Here’s Peggy’s story.

You’d think Peggy was a staff member as often as she’s at the Nursery. It doesn't matter if it’s 7am, 11pm or any point in between, chances are you’ll find her rocking a baby, changing a diaper, preparing a snack or taking out the garbage. 

Peggy started volunteering at Crisis Nursery in 1994 and quickly became a favorite of both the kids and staff. She is always up for any task and can be counted on to volunteer at a moment’s notice. But,her favorite volunteer duty? “There is no contest...rocking babies!”

While volunteering with the kids keeps her coming back two decades later, Peggy assumed another role from 1997-2003 when she joined the Crisis Nursery Board of Directors. She continued to volunteer with the children on a weekly basis but also gave of her time as a board member. She was the board secretary for three terms and also co-chaired the Nursery’s Holiday Shop in 2001, helping to raise nearly $30,000 at the annual event. “I had 2 reasons for volunteering at the Nursery. First, I love babies and was not able to have my own, so I was seeking a place where I could rock babies and play with toddlers. Second, I was looking for a way to become more involved in the community. The Crisis Nursery was the perfect answer.”

Much has changed since she started at Crisis Nursery in the mid-nineties—our program statistics have nearly doubled; we welcomed a new Executive Director in 2008; new services and collaborations have been added. But there are still common misconceptions about our work that persist since Peggy’s early years at the Nursery. 

“It is important for the community to know that we are not simply a babysitting service,” she said. “It’s also important to know that our services are for ANYONE in the community. We serve parents from all walks of life and all services are confidential.

“The staff and volunteers work very hard to help families become the best and healthiest families they can be. It is also really important that we have volunteers who are permanent, local community members. The U of I and Parkland students who volunteer are great, but we need volunteers who will be available consistently throughout the year.”

So, what keeps her coming back twenty years later?

“I still love rocking babies and hanging out with the little ones. But, more than anything, I see, day after day, that it is critical for these little guys and gals to have someone who will care about them unconditionally.”

Now’s the perfect time to start volunteering at Crisis Nursery! Maybe you only want to volunteer a few months of the year? We're desperate for volunteers in December, May, June and July. Don't want to commit to a weekly shift? Consider our 'share a shift' option where you share the same time each week with a group so you only volunteer once or twice a month.

Long story short, we're willing to work with you. Crisis Nursery is a great place to volunteer and while the process may seem lengthy, from paperwork to fingerprinting to training, the payoff is worthwhile. Keeping kids safe and making them feel loved - doesn't get much better than that! Stop by for a tour, email or call 337-2731 and we'll answer all your questions.