MEET OUR VOLUNTEERS

We have some of the best volunteers on earth! Meet a few of the awesome people that make Elevate Branson a success. These wonderful folks and many more like them keep this organization going, growing, serving and elevating our neighbors and our community.

JODI BLACKWELL

Jodi is a faithful and consistent volunteer who serves our Elevate Kids during our afterschool program. We’re thankful for all the ways Jodi loves our area kiddos through her commitment to serving our neighbors and their families. Jodi mentions, “I enjoy building relationships with the kids and getting to work with Elevate Branson. It has humbled me to see some of the struggles our neighbors deal with, and it helps me to understand their situation to be more patient, understanding, and empathetic.” We’re thankful for Jodi, and all of our Elevate Kids volunteers!

SUZIE & ANNA:

Suzie and her daughter, Anna, actively serve with Elevate Kids, ensuring our area children receive nutritional, educational and social resources regularly. Suzie and Anna have both volunteered with Elevate Kids for our summer and after school programs. Suzie serves as an early childhood educator, and Anna shares the same love for investing in children as her mom. When asked how volunteering has impacted them personally, Suzie mentioned, “Volunteering at Elevate Branson for the past five years has softened my heart towards our neighbors. Every person we encounter has a story that can give us insight into their struggles and triumphs if we take the time to listen and build relationships with them. I am reminded daily that we are all God’s people and a little kindness goes a long way.” Anna replied similarly, saying, “Over the years that I’ve volunteered at Elevate, I’ve noticed tremendous self-growth in myself. I’ve become a much kinder person due to a newfound understanding. I’ve learned to never judge someone, especially not for what their life seems to be on the surface.”

 

We are so thankful for Suzie and Anna’s compassion for our neighbors and their children, and love serving our community with them!

SARAH KRAMME:

If you know Sarah, you love her. And if you don’t know her, you wish you did. Sarah has been an Elevate Outreach volunteer for well over a year and a half, showing up nearly every single Thursday night to love our neighbors through connection, kindness and a simple meal. 

Sarah reflects on a special relationship she developed with one of our neighbors, mentioning, “Our neighbor, Karen, who used to live at the American Eagle was one of the first neighbors I met, and we made a connection right away. She always had high energy and was ready to share a story about her grandson. She even tagged along with us one night to help finish delivering meals. I was always excited to see Karen on Thursday nights. She no longer lives at the American Eagle, but I hope she is living near her grandson and bringing her joy and energy everywhere she goes. Making connections with our neighbors – remembering their names, sharing a simple meal with them, and greeting them with a smile can change their whole day. That’s what keeps me coming back to Elevate to serve each week.” 

We love having Sarah with us as a part of our incredible group of Outreach volunteers!

JEFF & D'ANN KOHLS:

Jeff and D’Ann faithfully serve our neighbors each Thursday through Elevate Outreach, and Jeff can often be found behind the wheel – driving hundreds of our Elevate Outreach sack meals and a handful of our volunteers to various extended stay motels in our community. Jeff and D’Ann mention their favorite part of volunteering is getting to see the kids, and the excitement on their faces after receiving a simple meal. “Volunteering helps us to look past our own issues and the stress of current life circumstances and focus on the needs of others,” Jeff and D’Ann mention, “It helps us count our many blessings and unite with others around the love and grace of our God.”

 
Thanks for your commitment to love our neighbors, Jeff and D’Ann!

We are thankful for Whitney’s commitment to her Elevate Work student as a mentor! Mentors play a crucial role in helping our students achieve their accomplishments and reach milestones throughout the Elevate Work course and beyond. It’s with the help of volunteers like Whitney that we see our neighbors reach new heights each and every day.

BARBARA WEHRMAN:

Barbara has been a dedicated Thursday Morning Meal Maker for nearly 5 years (that equals out to making 147,980 sandwiches!) Here’s what Barbara had to say about her experience volunteering on Thursday mornings:

 

“I think more and more about the people that receive our meals and I thank God that I can be a part of it. What keeps me coming back is just everything! The other volunteers, the recipients of the meals, the joy of serving, the news of great things happening at Elevate Branson. I love it all and hate ever missing a week. I can’t think of anything that isn’t my favorite part of volunteering, but I really love the end result – when the meals are delivered and love
is shared with all that receive them.” 

 

We’re thankful for Barbara’s dedication to Thursday Mornings and our Meal Making crew!

WHITNEY McDERMOTT:

“My favorite part about volunteering is getting to know each and every person’s story. A lot of times you only see a person for their outward appearances – for what they’re doing, or not doing. But when you actually get to take the time to sit down and hear their story, hear where they come from and what they’ve walked through, it gives you the insight and compassion to walk this journey along with them.”

 

We are thankful for Whitney’s commitment to her Elevate Work student as a mentor! Mentors play a crucial role in helping our students achieve their accomplishments and reach milestones throughout the Elevate Work course and beyond. It’s with the help of volunteers like Whitney that we see our neighbors reach new heights each and every day.

JOSIE JENSEN:

“Returning from missionary service in Uruguay in March 2020, there were few opportunities to serve. I checked around I came across Elevate Branson. I stopped and was told that Thursday sack meals were going to be delivered that evening and they would really like me to join them. I returned and enjoyed feeling the warmth of serving. I was given a card to call Amy Stallings and upon a very animated conversation, I returned to make sandwiches on the following Thursday morning. It was announced that help was needed in the Thrift Store, so I signed up there too. I have been impressed by the Christian values in which Elevate Branson integrates into their programs to “elevate” families and individuals in the community. It is a joy, it’s fun, and it feels uplifting to be part of all those good people in the Branson area who volunteer their time at Elevate Branson.”


We’re thankful for people like Josie who commit wholeheartedly to serving our community!

DOUG LAY:

Elevate Work Instructor
Doug has committed countless hours to the Elevate Work program, dedicating his time and energy to loving our neighbors. As a mentor, business panel participant, and course instructor, Doug spurs Elevate Work students on to help them find purpose and overcome roadblocks that keep them from reaching their full potential in the workforce. “I have continued to teach because I’ve seen the need for students to understand their self worth and the dignity that working brings,” says Doug. “Most students haven’t been blessed with someone to help them navigate life and the deliberate steps they need to take to be contributing members of our community. Through encouragement and love, Elevate Work gives students the opportunity to completely transform themselves and their family’s lives.” We couldn’t agree more, especially when people like Doug take part!

JERRY SANDERSON:

Elevate Work And Computer Course Instructor!
Since November 2020, Jerry has tirelessly dedicated his time to investing in the future workforce through Elevate Work. His commitment to our Elevate Work and computer course students is unmatched! We’re so thankful for Jerry’s loyalty to our program, and for his calling to teach and invest in those looking to discover and pursue their purpose. We couldn’t do it without you, Jerry!

WAYNE & NIKKI YOST:

Finding Family and Fellowship Through Serving Others

Wayne and Nikki drive from Springfield every Thursday night for Elevate Outreach. For almost three years they have been part of the team connecting with the working poor of the Branson community. In their words, “We volunteer for the relationships. Other volunteers become like family, plus there’s the relationships with the neighbors we serve. The smiles we get at every door brighten our week.” Call Amy Stallings at 417.335.0266 to join the Outreach team this week. Helping hands and caring hearts are always needed and greatly appreciated.

LINDA McFADDEN:

We Think You’ll Agree, Linda Rocks!

Linda McFadden has been volunteering for more than ten years in thrift stores.  When asked about volunteering at Elevate Branson, Linda said, “God calls all to serve with the gifts he has given us.  Elevate Branson is a caring and enjoyable place for me to serve and be creative.”  She continues to act on God’s calling by using her skills in a selfless manner to help others.   Her gift of creativity shows in her painted pieces including rocks, jars, etc. that she donates to the Elevate Thrift Store.  The proceeds of her creative pieces support our Up with Kids! program.  We thank Linda for her time and sharing her calling and gifts with us to benefit the children in our community!

MICAYLA McCLURE:

High Schooler Helps Job Candidates Prep For Success

Micayla is a Spokane High School senior and part of the GO-CAPS program.  As her capstone project, Micayla chose to work with Elevate Branson to provide resources to those preparing for job interviews. So she reached out to area churches for the use of showers and lodging facilities for towels, shampoo & conditioner. Thank you Micayla and a shout out to all the great young folks making a difference in their communities.

AJ BASSET:

Stitching Together Many Ways To Serve God and His Community

AJ is a wonderful and appreciated member of the Branson community who lives a life of Christ-like service and love for others. He regularly helps Elevate Outreach with meal prep and delivery. One Thursday night, while serving, AJ heard about Elevate Thrift Store and he immediately exclaimed, “I’m gonna bring in my hats and scarves!” It seems one of his many hobbies is knitting, with all his knitted items given as gifts to friends and family or donated to charities like Elevate Branson.