Volunteers are a crucial part of what makes the holiday season bright, and it’s important not to forget about all that they do. Many within our community take the time out of their own busy lives to give back, asking nothing in return. Jill Kouri is one of those volunteers, sharing her time and talents in a variety of ways, building a brighter future for many she serves.
At United Way of Greater Yankton’s, The Clothing Closet, Jill volunteers regularly on Monday evenings during distribution, helping clients find the critical items they need. Jill also ensures individuals and families who are limited in speaking English feel welcomed in the space by verbally translating the programs’ processes and procedures into Spanish. According to United Way’s Program Coordinator Baylie Barger, “She brightens every person’s day with her kindness and warm smile. We appreciate Jill’s dedication to our mission and are so grateful for her service.”
Kouri also has dedicated many hours to ensuring our youth have a bright and fun filled high school prom, by volunteering for many years as a Yankton Post Prom Party committee member. According to committee chairperson, Holly Wintz, “Jill has been such an attribute to the YHS Post Prom Party Committee. Even in years where she did not have a child attending Prom, Jill would donate countless hours as the leader of the Prize Buying Team. When Jill was in charge, you never had to worry if things were being taken care of or if they would get done. They always were completely planned out, organized and on budget!”
And Heartland Humane Society, Executive Director Kerry shares that, “Jill has volunteered both in shelter and as a foster family, providing quality care to animals in our community. It's been a joy as a nonprofit to watch her children grow and be a part of their childhood experiences, from watching them as young youth in a shelter helping socialize animals to having their help as young adults working with foster kittens and supporting their mom. Jill is an asset to Yankton and the Heartland Humane Society community.”
Because of her commitment to making the lives of others so bright, all year long, to so many organizations, United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton was honored to present Jil Kouri with the November 2023 Volunteer of the Month Award.
We asked Jill to share more about her volunteerism, in her own words:
“I was born and raised in Yankton but left for college and then returned 14 years later in 1999.”
“I began volunteering when our oldest daughter started school.”
“Currently I volunteer at United Way’s The Clothing Closet, Sacred Heart School Gala & Heartland Humane Society. In the past I have helped with YHS Post Prom, and many more groups our children were involved in when they were still living at home.”
“Volunteer work is enjoyable because it puts me into a different world that I wouldn’t be in otherwise and I love using my time to help others.”
“My best volunteer experience was volunteering for three years for one class period a day with the English Language Learning students at Yankton High School.
“Advice I would give to people contemplating about volunteering in their communities? There are so many organizations in town that need some extra help and would benefit from your time and talent.
Thank you, Jill, for all you do. To learn more about local volunteer opportunities or to nominate someone for United Way’s Volunteer of the Month Award, please visit www.yanktonunitedway.org/volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call United Way of Greater Yankton at (605) 665-6766.