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Meet Pat: Making a Difference after Retirement

Pat Kremer spends most of his retirement volunteering in the community. As an active volunteer within YSS of Marshall County, he also helps at his church and participates in Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Iowa.

“Sometimes people think of retirement as ‘I’m going to relax and have fun.’ But we still need to have meaning in our life,” Pat says.

Pat has worked with youth nearly his entire life. A former teacher, principal, and associate superintendent in the Marshalltown school district, Pat always valued service within his teachings. When he left his career in 2007, he had a hard time stepping away from helping kids succeed.

“I was on my deck one day reading the paper, and I saw that YSS was looking for a case manager to work with homeless youth,” Pat says. He knew of YSS from his time as an educator, as the schools and the nonprofit frequently collaborated.

Pat made some phone calls, and soon he was working for YSS of Marshall County within the Supportive Housing program. The program helps young people experiencing homelessness to find safe housing, in addition to offering individualized support and rental assistance.

Pat was a case manager for five years before he retired again, choosing to stay involved as a member of the YSS of Marshall County Community Advisory Board.

“As a board member, we meet each month and hear about things that are happening in the organization,” Pat explains. “YSS has always done a good job of responding to the needs of the community. Providing insights and feedback is key to being a good board member, as well as being there when you are needed.”

Reflecting on his own volunteering experiences, Pat is thankful for other people who come together for the community and lend a helping hand during times of need.

“There was a tornado here in Marshalltown, and because of that we were displaced from our YSS offices. The police department reached out to us and said, ‘Hey you can come over here and work from our basement,’” Pat says. “That encouraged a cooperative discussion between the police department and YSS on how we might work together. That tornado, in a small way, led to the MPACT program.”

MPACT (Marshalltown Police and Community Team) is a collaboration between the Marshalltown Police Department and YSS of Marshall County. Pat explains that YSS advocates are dispatched with police officers on calls involving mental illness, family conflict, substance use, or emotional/behavioral situations. Only in its second year, the MPACT program has been hugely successful.

Pat is proud of his involvement with YSS—from his “second career” helping youth as a case manager to overseeing major changes and new initiatives as a board member. He is always available whenever the organization needs him, knowing the difference it makes for local youth and families.

“There are so many opportunities for people to continue to make a difference in their older years,” Pat says. “I’m always searching for that because when you’ve had a career where you’re helping people, you can’t just walk away from that. You still have that desire to make an impact. I think it’s what brings meaning to your life.”

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