Volunteer of the Week: Jim Rutten, Edwardsburg schools volunteer
Jim Rutten, of Edwardsburg, is a longtime volunteer for Edwardsburg schools.
Q: What volunteer work do you do?
I volunteer at the school two mornings a week with the fourth and fifth grades. I work with the kids, doing whatever the teacher needs. I also play Santa every winter with different organizations — the Elkhart National Guard, several schools, the boys and girls club and old age homes. I’m part of the “Fixer Uppers” group that helps at the preschool with maintenance and I collect tickets at ballgames. I always try to donate blood frequently.
Q: How long have you been doing each of these jobs?
I’ve been with the School 12 or 13 years and I’ve been on the Foster Care Review Board for about 16 years. I’ve played Santa for about 15 years with my wife who plays Mrs. Claus.
Q: How did you get involved?
I got started at the school because I had a granddaughter in kindergarten. I just went to the school and got involved. I first started on the Foster Care Review Board about 16 years ago when I saw an article in the paper asking for volunteers. I got involved through the preschool and with the church when they needed a Santa Claus and asked me to do it. One thing led to another and I started playing Santa for other organizations.
Q: Why do you choose to volunteer?
I enjoy volunteering and I enjoy life and people. Everybody should have opportunities and it makes me feel good, especially working with kids.
Q: What is your favorite thing about volunteering?
Schools are fun. Kids are always fun to work with and they’re willing to learn in the right atmosphere.
Q: Why is it important to volunteer?
If everyone volunteered we’d be a better country. There are too many kids who need help. Teachers are very busy and work very hard and there are a lot of parents who don’t know how to help their kids.
The Lighthouse Chorus will host a concert to benefit a local food pantry at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at... read more