Q&A: McKale Pennell

McKale Pennell is working hard to make volunteering easier through the Rangely Volunteer Program

McKale Pennell is a 2014 graduate of Rangely High School and is currently a premed student at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. COURTESY PHOTO

RANGELY | Class of 2014 Rangely High graduate McKale Pennell is looking for ways to help improve her hometown through the creation of the Rangely Volunteer Program, a group of individuals seeking local volunteer opportunities. As a premed student at Colorado Mesa University, Pennell has been commuting between Rangely and Grand Junction, squeezing in volunteer work where she can, which inspired her to start something local.

Q: What was your motivation behind starting the Rangely Volunteer Program?

A: I had been doing a lot of volunteering at St. Mary’s Hospital in the E.R. and on the surgical floor. As you can imagine, the drive is pretty exhausting and I always wished it were a bit easier to volunteer in Rangely. I knew there were places around town that could probably use the help, but I also wasn’t sure who to contact to get started. I realized there was a need for volunteers in Rangely, and yet there was a lack of involvement from many areas of the community. Rangely has a great source of people who are always willing to help when needed, but I thought it would be a good idea to start an organization that anyone and everyone could come to, to help find a volunteering position that is right for them. This way they don’t have to worry about calling up individual businesses or homes, we can put them in touch with those needing volunteers.

Q: What kind of volunteers are you seeking?

A: Of course, anyone is welcome to volunteer, but my main goal for the program is to get younger students and children involved in volunteering, not only to help boost their resume, but to connect them with the community that supports them as well.

Q: What can people getting involved expect?

A: Someone who contacts me about the program can expect me to ask them a lot of questions about what their interests are, why they’re wanting to volunteer and what type of volunteering they want to do. I have been working with Konnie Billgren at the Chamber of Commerce, and she and I will work to connect you with people throughout the community that are looking for the type of volunteering you are interested in doing. You don’t have to worry about being stuck in a position that you hate, we will find something that interests and benefits you! Another great feature of the program is that if you are doing volunteer work to build your resume, it can be difficult to keep track of your hours on your own, I know that was a struggle for me. I want to help my volunteers by keeping track of all of their hours for them, that way they don’t even have to worry about it.

Q: What has the reception been like so far?

A: So far there has been a lot of positive feedback from the community about the idea of a volunteer program, but it has been difficult to get people involved. I think people are anxious about what I mentioned before, getting stuck in a position that they hate. But, like I said, we will work hard to find positions that interest you and we will make it easy for you to get volunteer positions.

Q: Where can people learn more if they are interested in getting involved?

A: They can email me at mckalepennell@yahoo.com. I also started a Facebook page called Rangely Volunteer Program where I will be posting updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities and any meetings we might be having.