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Volunteer of the Month: Winona man connects with kids through service

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Volunteer of the Month

Yorkson Jeen, right, of Winona plays on the swings outside Pleasant Valley Church in 2016 with Ben Lorisch, Jeen’s “little brother” through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization pairs adult volunteers with youth in need of mentorship and support.

A little generosity can produce a lot of big smiles, and Yorkson Jeen knows their importance is deeper than face value.

Jeen, the October Volunteer of the Month, finds the time to bring positive influence to the Winona community by working with Big Brothers Big Sisters, mentoring children.

“Kids, they are the future,” he said. “I strongly believe that if a kid is not raised in the right direction, it’s not just them, it’s also society's problem.”

Yorkson is new to the Winona area, arriving just a few years ago from Vancouver, Canada to join Fastenal’s software engineering department. In his brief amount of time so far in Winona, he has already taken the initiative to contribute in ways that provide all kinds of benefits.

“I’m really happy and very blessed with so many opportunities that have been given to me in Winona, and that’s part of why I want to give back to this community, because they’ve been very good to me," he said.

Jeen is involved with the child care at Pleasant Valley Church, and is also a volunteer big brother. He finds it rewarding to help kids grow, and keeps a youthful, upbeat demeanor to match their energy levels.

The relationships Jeen has built outside of work have helped him quickly transition from a stranger in town to a welcomed community contributor.

“Coming to a new town, it’s definitely overwhelming at first," he said. "When I first came to Winona, I didn’t know anybody."

That changed one Friday afternoon in a parking lot.

Jeen was buying groceries, and saw a woman standing next to her car with the hood up. Figuring she might be having some trouble, he approached to help her and her friends jump the battery.

They got to talking, and Jeen hit it off with one of the friends, a pastor at Pleasant Valley. It didn’t take long for Jeen to recognize that he was in good company. The encounter spurred him to do more, and recognize the virtue in putting others before himself.

“After seeing some of the stuff they do, I really liked the aspect that they were helping their community, people in need, helping out with kids, but also just people in general," he said.

The relationships be built also got him connected with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which he continues to participate in.

"It’s extremely rewarding to see this wonderful kid," he said.

Through these acts of kindness, Jeen does more than see the big picture. He is able to make his own contributions, however small at first, and watch the growing results.

“I want to help (kids) go on the right path, even just nudge them in the right direction," he said. I want to transfer that positive energy to wherever that may be needed."

"The biggest reward is seeing the people I’m helping, and that they’re smiling, too."

"The biggest reward is seeing the people I’m helping, and that they’re smiling, too."

Yorkson Jeen


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