Working together for the community

Published on: 2/5/2013

Germantown - Leaders of prominent organizations from Washington County sat around a table last week not looking for recognition or gain. Rather, they were looking at ways to help each other so they can better help those in need.

The round-table meeting was for the Germantown Civic Group - started by Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell as a way for nonprofit organizations to collaborate to help their causes and, subsequently, the people of Washington County.

Any local nonprofit organization is encouraged to contact Hoell at to learn more about the Civic Group and how they can help find volunteers, spread information or simply be pointed in the right direction.

Projects abound

It was a productive meeting as organizations such as Kiwanis, Leadership Germantown and the Germantown Historical Society shared their plans and greatest needs for the upcoming year. Kiwanis, for example, is preparing to kickoff a massive fundraising campaign to build a $400,000 performing arts facility in Fireman's Park.

They are hoping to partner with others for the project that would ultimately offer a venue for nonprofit organizations to host their own fundraisers.

The Germantown Historical Society is planning a Fur Trade rendezvous May 31 and June 2, filled with re-enactors and family-friendly activities to engage the community.

The Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, or AODA, in Washington County is hosting a slew of events throughout the county, including the Germantown Lock-In May 10. They are also hosting a presentation March 13 at Germantown High School on drug prevention, said Anita Hilleman of AODA.

Our Kids Closet, which serves families in Washington, Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, is in great need of clothing donations. Family visits per month increased from 24 families per month to 32 families per month, making the need for children's clothing that much greater.

Co-Director of Our Kids Closet Dyanne Van Hecke, located next to Columbia St. Mary's Clinic in Germantown, said they are hoping various organizations will partner with them and hold clothing drives.

Connecting volunteers

JK Lee Black Belt Academy in Germantown may not be a nonprofit business; however, they are a great resource for organizations looking for volunteers.

As part of the requirements for karate students to receive belts, they have to complete a number of volunteer service hours.

'On behalf of our membership, I ask you to continue to forward those opportunities so we can continue to pass those on,' Robin Kubicek from Lee Black Belt Academy said.

The Volunteer Center of Washington County is hoping it can begin to benefit Germantown organizations. Groups typically have to pay membership fees to the Volunteer Center that help nonprofits with things such as marketing, organizing and finding volunteers. New Executive Director Sue Millin said they are trying to create a grant for organizations that would waive the fees so those services can be utilized without cost to the organization.

'We would really like to be working more in Germantown,' she said. 'As of right now we don't have a lot of partners so let's start today and how the Volunteer Center can help in Germantown.'

The Volunteer Center is also working with the Germantown Police Department on emergency preparedness. In the case of an emergency, the center will screen volunteers, have safety training and assign them appropriately. In emergencies, an influx of volunteers can become an unnecessary burden, as emergency services personnel have their hands full and cannot always assign volunteers appropriately and also want to keep them safe.

This is where the Volunteer Center will step in, set up an incident command center and filter the volunteers.

'The emergency services doesn't have to worry about that and we can have volunteers dealing with volunteers and I think that will be a huge asset to have,' Hoell said.

These collaborations are one of the many benefits of the Germantown Civic Group.