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July 1, 2021 |

Creating Community

Being a part of a community is so much more than having an address. It is about being actively engaged, getting out and about, and giving back to the place we call home.

At Black Hills Works, the people we support are part of the fabric of our community. They are living their best lives as athletes, employees, artists, friends, leaders, neighbors, and volunteers!  

According to a recent Independent Sector report, volunteers contribute $187.7 billion annually to the United States through their time, talent, and effort. Black Hills Works both benefits and participates in this generosity.

The people with disabilities that we support give back as volunteers. In a typical year, an average of 80 volunteers contribute more than 600 hours. This time is valued at more than $14,000 for nonprofits serving community needs, like Meals on Wheels, Fork Real Café, and Feeding South Dakota.

One volunteer group, Circle of Friends, led by Gene Mason and part of the Open Heart United Methodist Church, was a 2021 HelpLine Spirit of Volunteerism Honoree. Circle of Friends includes people supported by Black Hills Works who learn important cooking skills while preparing muffins and for the Hope Center, Rapid Creek Patrol, and their peers at Black Hills Works.

As a community, we collectively benefit from their contributions, and our neighbors give back too! In 2020, 224 community volunteers donated 1,060 hours valued at $25,400 to Black Hills Works, making an incredible impact even with COVID precautions in place!

The South Dakota Special Olympics provides athletic volunteers the opportunity to build relationships with our Black Hills Works community. In 2020, 36 community volunteers dedicated 163 hours (16% of all volunteer hours) to the 235 athletes supported by Black Hills Works who participate on the Storm Special Olympics’ team, competing in basketball, softball, bowling, cheerleading, swimming, track and field, bocce ball and more. The Storm is one of the largest delegations in the state and volunteer are coaches, drivers, general support and as teammates in “unified games” – competition that pairs non-disabled volunteers with Special Olympic athletes to complete against other teams.

At Black Hills Works, it is our mission to create a community where everyone participates to achieve a life of full potential. We would love for you to join us in this mission. To get involved in ways that are meaningful to you and helpful to Black Hills Works, please visit our website at https://www.blackhillsworks.org/get-involved/, or contact Carrie Moser, Director of Engagement at 605-718-6207 or [email protected]. Because of you, the people we support with disabilities will continue to share their gifts with our community. Thank you!

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