Northfield Area United Way

One gift reaches thousands in our community

When you choose which nonprofits to support consider this: one gift to the Northfield Area United Way touches one in three Northfield area residents, and it reaches them in ways you may not have imagined:Greenvale Park Student

  • Parents who have lost a child receive nurturing support.
  • Children who could not otherwise afford books get age-appropriate books sent to them at their home from ages 0 to 5 to prepare them for school.
  • Women and children are sheltered from domestic violence and given a new start.
  • Adults receive interview and job skills training so they can support themselves… and lower their stress.
  • Children receive medical care that is not covered by insurance.

When you donate to the Northfield Area United Way, you make a difference in more ways than you may know.

Meet a High School Super Hero!

Patty Mondaca-Morales2

Patty Mondaca-Morales is a super hero volunteer – and Northfield High student.

Patty Mondaca-Morales may fearlessly chatter your ear off in the first minute of knowing you, but don’t think for a moment she isn’t also listening.

This bright-haired and warm-hearted senior from Northfield High School was recently honored as one of Northfield’s Hometown Heroes by the Northfield Area United Way.

Led by her love for people, Mondaca-Morales volunteers with Northfield Shares Give 5, TORCH, Northfield Arts Guild, District One Hospital, a local retirement center and more. Such magnanimity inspired Northfield community members to vote Mondaca as one of their Hometown Heroes, an honor bestowed by the Northfield Area United Way to acknowledge supreme dedication to community involvement.

St. Olaf College Senior Michaela Marincic had the opportunity to chat with her about her volunteerism.

Q: What is the earliest volunteer experience you can remember?

A: “In seventh grade I volunteered at the historical society; I was a cashier. I enjoy history—it’s one of my favorite subjects, so that was fun to do. And then I didn’t really do much until this year. Now I’m really—whoosh!—into it. I love volunteering.”

Q: What do you enjoy about volunteering?

A: “I like the feeling of helping others and being able to walk out and be like, ‘I did a nice job. I made people happy, and I did it for free,’ you know?”

Q: You help many community organizations. Are any especially dear or important to you?

A: “The Northfield Shares Give 5. That’s where it all started. I was like, ‘Well, if I’m going to be preaching to others to give five hours [of volunteer service per month], I might as well start that too.’”

Q: Do you ever wish you had more time for sports, clubs, or just hanging out with friends?  A: “Yeah, sometimes I just want to go home and watch TV or play on the computer, but it doesn’t fulfill me in the same way that helping somebody does. I like to be with other people … There’s a lot of people who tell me, ‘Why would I ever want to volunteer—it’s a waste of my time.’ But it’s actually really great if you try it out once … I feel like if [those people] volunteer once somewhere they really like, they’re gonna continue it.”

Q: Plans for after graduation?

A: “Uuuuh, run around in circles? Probably college, the normal.”

Q: What would you like to study?

A: “Probably education … I would love to work at TORCH [Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes]. I love TORCH so much.”

Q: I can see your excitement about TORCH. Why do you love this program so much?

A:  “I feel so grateful towards them. I volunteer so much because of them, I have good grades because of them. I don’t know where I would be without TORCH.”

Q: If you had to tell me one fun fact?

A: “I’m boring. I don’t know, now I’m on the spot. Well, I love choir. You can put that as my fun fact.”

Q: In your various volunteer experiences, you must see a lot of people who need help and the organizations that support them. Can you think of any issues in the community that still need solutions?

A: “Mental health.”

Q: Where have you seen the need for mental health services?

A: “Through my volunteering, through Laura Baker, even through my friends at school. It can really affect people if they’re not treated. I feel like if everyone’s mental health is well, then they can go on and get a better education, and they can also start helping other people.

“[Poor mental health] can lead into poverty. Some people in poverty have mental health issues that may be why they are in poverty.”


Q: What can we do to promote psychological well-being?

A: “End the stigma. A lot of people are very hush-hush about it, they don’t like talking about what’s going on with them, so maybe if we say, ‘It’s alright if you’re depressed, you know, it’s alright. You can always get help.’”

Q: What is one thing every person could do to help their community?  A: “Just listen. There’s always people that need help, always something you can do, so go and try to find it and find people that want to support you. We just need to listen.”




100% Local Music Festival – The Band Line Up!

It’s finally here! The 100% Local Music Festival is Friday, Oct. 23, at The Grand Event Center, and the schedule of performers is now set:

5:30 to 6:30 Anna Marie Mitchell100percentlocal_2015_web (3)

6:45 to 7:45 Jon Manners

8:00-8:30 The Knightingales

8:30 to 8:45 Presentation of Hometown Hero awards

8:45 to 9:45 Wendy Smith and The Zillionaires

10 to close The Counterfactuals

For tickets, go to The Rare Pair in downtown Northfield, or purchase tickets at the door at The Grand Event Center beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 23.  Tickets are $25 or $10 for students. See you there!

Skating Through Life – With a Little Help


Very few kids skate through life. But beginning at age seven, Vanessa Gonzalez has been gliding through the trials of growing up by lacing up a pair of sharpened figure skates. “I love tVanessa United Way Herohe feeling of the ice under my feet. It makes me forget about anything,” she says. A scholarship from the Northfield Youth Sports Collaborative, a Northfield Area United Way-supported program, was essential to her development as the scholar, leader and graceful skater she is today.  The scholarship she received has paid multiple dividends for her and those she’s touched.

From student to coach

A high school senior, she progressed from skating student to volunteer assistant to full-blown coach.  Vanessa Hero with N sign in backgroundNorthfield Skating School Founder and Director Carey Tinkelenberg says, “Vanessa is a natural leader. She is patient and kind, and she thinks through how her actions impact others. ”

As a coach, Vanessa is magnetic, Carey adds. Kids are drawn to her cheerful, calm disposition.

A former national competitor in a sport sometimes identified with prima donnas and tire-iron antics, Carey determined that her school imbue the beauty, grace and athleticism of skating with life skills — skills that give skaters an edge on ice and in life. Carey only hires coaches who are collaborative leaders and Vanessa is a shining example, she says.

Giving back comes naturally

Vanessa not only models leadership on the ice, but also in her multiple volunteer activities. She completes a circle of giving, and that makes her a United Way hero. Vanessa is a member of the National Honors Society’s Steering Committee; she was selected for the Junior Board at Community Resource Bank; and she was recently chosen as a Defeat of Jesse James Days ambassador. Next year she plans to attend Northwestern College in St. Paul, where she’ll study to become an elementary school teacher.

You can make a difference in another’s life, too.  Nominate a hero — someone who gives back in our community like Vanessa or her hero, Carey — and perhaps hasn’t been recognized. The deadline is October 12. Five minutes could mean a world of difference to someone who gives and gives.

Rock Your World at the 100% Local Music Fest!

Third Annual 100% Local Music Festival to be Held October 23

Musical talent is harmonizing on an electrifying event. The third annual 100% Local Music Festival is Northfield Area United Way’s premier fall campaign event and this year it will be held at The Grand Event Center, Friday, October 23, with bands beginning at 5 p.m. and playing until 11:30 p.m.

The impressive line-up includes Mark Allen, Anna Marie Mitchell, The Counterfactuals, Wendy Smith and the Zillionaires, Jon Manners and Carleton’s Knightingales.

The audience is invited to kick up their heels on the dance floor or sit back in the comfortable venue of The Grand Event Center. Food will be complimentary.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students. The ticket price supports the 20 agencies funded by the Northfield Area United Way. Purchase tickets at The Rare Pair or at the door at The Grand Event Center starting at 5 p.m. on October 23.

“The 100% Local Music Festival is a celebration of the fact that community donations to the Northfield Area United Way support local agencies that serve local people,” says Elizabeth Child, Northfield Area United Way executive director. “One in three Northfield area residents directly benefits from United Way donations.”


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