It’s hard to know where to start when describing the volunteer efforts of Ginger Sajna, a design technician for our Distribution Specification Team.
Ginger is secretary of the Lions Club in Dresser, Wisconsin, which has 10 members. The club hosts community events and works tirelessly throughout the year to raise money through efforts such as plant sales, meat raffles and auctions. She’s a regular blood donor and recently passed the three-gallon donation mark, and she helps coordinate donation efforts for a local food pantry. She also helps organize the Heat-A-Home project in Burnett County, which includes jumping in herself to hand-cut, split, stack and deliver firewood to those in need.
But no matter where or how she offers her time and energy, there’s a common thread: Ginger focuses all her volunteer work on directly benefiting individual people.
"I’m motivated by efforts where I can help specific people,” she says. “Instead of raising money for a new hospital building, I enjoy raising money to buy an oxygen tank for the neighbor who needs it."
And her efforts don’t go unnoticed.
“Ginger gives all through the year to many different outlets,” says Ryan Cathrall, East Division design manager. “She's not looking for praise or recognition; she just wants to help because she can, and it means so much to her. I couldn’t imagine a better candidate for this award.”
As part of her 2020 Volunteer of the Year Award, Ginger presented a $5,000 WAVES grant to the Dresser Lions Club, which will use the funds to sponsor local youth doing community projects.
Tell us a bit about your day job.
I’m a Designer IV with the Distribution Specification team. I support the Atlanta Distribution Center and a national homebuilder customer, doing layouts and producing materials lists for our engineered wood products.
Not many people know I was Weyerhaeuser’s first remote designer when I started here nearly 23 years ago. I had a small child and was working on my own when Weyerhaeuser approached me, and I’ve been working from home this entire time. That's how our remote design team started. We currently have 29 designers, and 19 of them were remote before COVID-19.
What motivates you to volunteer?
Volunteering has been a passion of mine for a long time, but I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it until 2016, when my daughter went off to college. I’m a single mom; my daughter's dad died when she was 9. It was just the two of us and we were supported by some of the same groups I work with now. I always felt the personal support people give is more valuable than the money. When my daughter left for college, an empty nest allowed me time to go all in with both feet.
What are the challenges you see that you’re trying to address with this work?
I like to volunteer with groups where I can make an immediate difference, where I have something to add. For example, I have good organizational skills and some social media savvy — things I could offer the Dresser Lions Club that they didn’t already have. I always admired their grassroot approach to support the local community and saw joining them as a way I could further their reach.
What’s your favorite part of the work?
One of the things I love about all the things I do is that we have people with the same passions working on all these efforts and supporting one another. For example, the Lions Club raises money for the Arnell Humane Society, and people at Arnell generate funds for the Lions Club. And the president of the Lions Club got us involved with the Heat-A-Home effort. They’re all focused on helping individual people who need help.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to give back but doesn't know how/where?
Remember that the great thing about volunteering is that it’s completely within your control. You can be involved as much or as little as you want. Find an area that you’re interested in and see what you can do.
How have you benefitted or changed from these experiences?
I enjoy being able to make an impact through the Dresser Lions Club. But I also like to do little acts of kindness by myself. One of my favorites is a jar that I use to collect all my change throughout the year. In December, I give the money anonymously to someone I know who needs it, along with a copy of a book called “The Giving Jar.” It’s one of the simplest ways to make a difference in somebody’s life.