Spring 2023

Ricochet: An Extreme Leadership Program

The 4-H Ricochet Leadership Program is an after-school program that takes place on Wednesday afternoons. This program is broken into two sections. The first is activities in leadership and the second is planning a service project. This year’s community service projects were visiting Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter, Oskaloosa Care Center, and cleaning up the Oskaloosa downtown square. The projects were a huge success and a game changer for the Ricochet students. Many of the students were able to show their true leadership skills and the group was able to bond together. We heard many great words of encouragement being offered to one another and they displayed amazing teamwork. The students’ favorite service project was getting together with residents of Oskaloosa Care Center. Everyone had a great time talking with the residents, playing and teaching them new games, painting nails, and reading stories. You could tell there was an excitement between both the residents and the students.

The last big success of the Ricochet Program was the Cocoa for a Cause event. Students sold hot cocoa during the middle school lunch periods to raise funds for their service projects. The students took charge of the project by delegating tasks, taking shifts, and promoting their event.

A Note from the Director

I am a reader. Last year I read 101 books. I guess you could say I have been a reader all of my life. My genre of choice is mystery or thrillers. They make me think, or so I like to believe. Every now and again I like to dive into something different. My current read is Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t by Adam Grant. In this book, I am learning that I need to rethink and sometimes even unlearn my original thought process. The author discusses how seeing things from a different viewpoint helps us grow. He also talks about how making a mistake can be a learning experience and suggests that we should see disagreement as an opportunity to learn. We shouldn’t surround ourselves only with like minded people. Does this idea make you uncomfortable? If I am being honest when I first read this, I was a bit uncomfortable, but as I sat with the information I know that it is true.

I think we all get caught in the trap of this is what I do, how I do it, and why I do it. We like to be comfortable. Sometimes new ideas or different ways of thinking scare us. I challenge you to change things up a bit. Maybe volunteer at an organization you don’t know much about – one that will really cause you to Think Again ( is a great resource). Maybe attend an activity on the square and connect with someone you wouldn’t normally speak to. Maybe attend games and cheer on the athletes playing in the Challenger League. I know there are so many other things you could do that would get you out of your normal routine; your usual way of thinking. No matter what you choose to do, choose something outside of your norm and ask yourself, “How can I continue to put myself in situations that make me Think Again?” Let me know what you did and what you thought of it. It is okay to say, Michella, I tried it and didn’t like it for these reasons. If that is the case, I encourage you to try again with something different. Not everything we try is going to be our cup of tea, but sometimes a mocha latte is a nice change.

Warmly, Michella

MLK Day of Caring

MLK Day is the only federal holiday where people are encouraged to volunteer. This year for MLK Day of Service, United Way partnered with Cargill-Eddyville and Meals From the Heartland to organize volunteers to address food insecurity. Community members gathered together at the Oskaloosa Middle School to package over 40,000 meals to be distributed to families in Mahaska County and throughout Iowa.

167 Volunteers

3,600 Pounds of Pasta

800 Cheese Packets

40,176 Meals Packaged

Meet Carly

My name is Carly Still. I am from Knoxville, IA and graduated from Knoxville High School in 2019. I am currently finishing my senior year at William Penn University where I will graduate on May 13, 2023 with my Bachelors Degree in Human Services and Psychology. I chose United Way for my internship because I wanted to see how much of an impact I could have on the community. I am excited to continue learning how I can give back to the amazing individuals who live in this community and how I can take those experiences with me to hopefully help impact other communities.

Board Members

Angella FosterPresident
Cassie Veldhuizen – Vice-President
Melinda Walter  – Treasurer
Courtney PerreaultSecretary
Ryan ColterPast President
Haley VanDerPol
Mike Collins
Jane Krutzfeldt
Shayla VanWyk
Micaela VanZee
Kaleigh Robertson
Nate Harris
Choua Sayaxang

Community Investment

United Way of Mahaska County is funding
20 programs at the following 10 agencies:

4-H Foundation
Crisis Intervention Services
Ecumenical Cupboard
Family Crisis Center
Grant Senior Center
Imagine the Possibilities
Iowa Legal Aid
Mahaska County YMCA
Oskaloosa Education Foundation
Prevent Child Abuse Iowa

Congratulations to our 2023 Funded Partners!

Mark Your Calendar

Volunteer Appreciation Week – April 16th – April 22nd

Join us as we celebrate and show our gratitude to our volunteers in Mahaska County. Keep an eye on our social media for special Volunteer Appreciation posts all week long.

Summer Lunch – June thru July 2023

The Summer Lunch Program serves a healthy meal to children ages 1-18 years old at several sites in the community. If you are interested in helping serve meals contact Paige at 641-673-6043 or

SAVE THE DATE! – Bingo Ball – September 23, 2023

Save the date for our second annual Bingo Ball Fundraiser! This event is for all ages. The night will be filled with Bingo, prizes, hor-d’oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction. Find out more information on how to sponsor or reserve your seats by contacting Michella at