Whether they’ve volunteered once or have made decades-long commitments to our causes, Ellipsis wants to take time during National Volunteer Month to thank all of our volunteers. We often hear that it takes a village to raise children. The kids and families we serve, in addition to our staff, rely upon and benefit greatly from the support of our community.

Among their many efforts, our volunteers and donors ensure that our donations and supplies are sorted, our campus remains clean, our events go off without a hitch, and that our kids and families have special moments related to birthdays and holidays.

To show our appreciation, we wanted to highlight just a few of our volunteers whose efforts make an impact greater than they may ever know. If you’re interested in giving back to the community or getting involved with Ellipsis, fill out a volunteer form here.

Alana Trimble

For more than a decade, Alana Trimble has ensured our kids receive gifts for their birthdays, and not just any generic gift. Alana makes sure to customize each gift to our youth’s preferences.

“Many people donate during the holiday season, so kids receive gifts at that time. I just thought, ‘What if you can’t make ends meet during the year?’ The effort shouldn’t always be up to the people who work at places like Ellipsis because they already do so much. I saw a need that needed to be filled. If not me, who? I have the best friends and family who have helped make this happen.”

Alana Trimble

When she first began donating, Alana stocked common gift items like socks, candy, puzzles and board games. Now she works with Ellipsis and West Des Moines Human Services to understand exactly what kids and teens are interested in so she can customize their gifts. She always delivers them on time through monthly drop-offs so our kids can open their birthday gifts on their birthday, not a few days before or after. 

Alana encouraged those curious about volunteering to reach out, at least to learn more.

“If you are unsure of how to help or if you can truly make a difference, I would encourage you to reach out to Ellipsis and ask what they need,” she said. “When I started the birthday heroes program, I wondered if I could make my crazy idea work. But I was passionate about helping kids, so I put my fears aside and took the leap.  Almost 12 years later, I am so glad that I made that decision.

“I feel so blessed to be able to continue to make a difference in lives of the kids at Ellipsis.”

Jeff Badger

Each holiday season, Kemin Industries organizes a company auction to raise funds for Ellipsis, in addition to other events the organization holds to support our efforts throughout the year. The results are transformative for our programming. Several years ago, Jeff began volunteering on the committee before taking over as the lead organizer.

Through the efforts of Jeff and the other committee members, Kemin unites around the kids and families in our community who need support. Not only does Jeff help lead the end-of-year auction, he and his coworkers also have volunteered to improve Ellipsis’ landscaping, organize donation drives and provided other help while volunteering at the shelter.

“It’s easy to do, and it’s necessary help, no matter the time of year. While I’ve been out working on donations for the Kemin auction, I’ve encountered several individuals who have previously used Ellipsis’ services themselves and wanted to give back. Knowing you can help the community and our neighbors is wonderful. Reaching out is the way to get started.”

Jeff Badger

So what keeps Jeff volunteering for the auction to benefit Ellipsis?

“Simply put, it’s the kids,” Jeff said. “There are a lot of things to be worried about in the world, and Ellipsis does a lot to reduce those worries so kids can be kids. If it’s possible for us to help reduce those other factors to support them, we’re happy to do it.”

Matt Roden

Matt Roden has been instrumental in Ellipsis’ presence at the Des Moines Capital City PrideFest, allowing our organization the chance to show kids and families of all backgrounds and perspectives that we care about and want to advocate for them.

While several of Matt’s peers had previously volunteered with Ellipsis, his first introduction with Ellipsis came when he led the charge for his organization, ITA Group, to partner with Ellipsis on the event. As a member of the LGTBQ+ community, Matt is passionate about increasing awareness about LGBTQ+ initiatives and founded an employee group called LGBTQ+You. He and his colleagues wanted to have a presence at PrideFest, and sponsoring Ellipsis’ presence sounded like the best joint opportunity to create a space for teens to gather at the event.

“It was an incredibly humbling, emotional and successful experience,” Matt said, thanking ITA Group. “To make a difference is one thing, but to do so with coworkers who came together for an important cause is something else entirely. We witnessed team members of varying tenure and seniority level come forth to give their time, effort and energy. To say that we felt so seen and supported is an understatement.”

Through work and personal efforts, Matt said he hopes to continue volunteering with Ellipsis.

“Ellipsis does such important work that it felt and still feels like a no-brainer to help support, when possible. I look forward to continued opportunities to get involved and make a difference.”

Matt Roden

Rita Holtz

While a work-sponsored event painting and cleaning up Ellipsis’ campus was Rita’s first introduction to volunteering at Ellipsis, her connections to Ellipsis have become more personal. In 2007, her father passed away. In his honor, she and her family began donating blankets in his name on Christmas, Father’s Day and his birthday. Her commitment was grown over the last two decades.

Now as a conference president at Christ the King Church for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Rita helps to organize a winter gear drive for Ellipsis youth. This year, they donated 100 coats for our kids. She and her peers also helped donate several pieces of furniture to a former youth transitioning out of Ellipsis’ care, helping her set up her home as she moved in with a family member.

“My father always cared about kids and making sure they have a safe place to lay their heads. Everybody deserves a safe place to stay, and Ellipsis provides aftercare and many other services that set these kids up for success. These are kids who are local; they live right here in our community. They deserve support.”

Rita Holtz

Ellipsis has opportunities for both groups and individuals to get involved and make a difference. We work with you to customize your opportunity to your skill set and ensure your time is spent in a way that is meaningful to both you and your organization. Reach out here.