Lions Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Lions Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
Lions Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Club members and friends work on Woodbury townhomes

DCTC Campus Lions Club members and friends of the club traveled to Woodbury, Minn., Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, to volunteer with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and hang Sheetrock at two townhomes under construction. Brett Kolles, an English instructor at Dakota County Technical College and the Lions Club advisor, was joined by Greg McCalley, dean of admissions, and Nicole Meulemans, director of student life, along with five student Lions, Neil Klein, club president, Devon Kroll, Rory Bautch, Joe Bezek and Tyler Helgeson, the latter four all new club members.

Brett Kolles • DCTC English Instructor and Campus Lions Club Advisor“This is the second year in a row that the DCTC Lions Club has taken a day and worked with Habitat for Humanity,” said Kolles, who coined the campus club motto: “We Rock and Roar!” “One of the great benefits beyond just building a home for a family in need is also how we as a group come together, share laughs and develop skills. It is an experience unlike any other. These are the types of college experiences that will be remembered by our students for years to come.”

The Lions Club at DCTC has been exceptionally active since the club formed in November of 2010. DCTC was the first two-year college to establish an on-campus club in Lions District 5M-6. Club members have volunteered for numerous causes and events, including OneRosemount, the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure, Bridging, the Polar Bear Plunge and the Out of the Darkness Walk, the latter the signature event of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The Lions also sponsor photo shoots, résumé workshops and an annual Chili Cook-Off. In 2012, Lions Clubs International recognized the DCTC Campus Lions Club with the Award for Membership Diversity and the Award for Membership Growth.

Student Perspectives

Neil Klein • DCTC Campus Lions Club President

Neil Klein • Campus Lions Club President

Neil Klein • Age: 38 • Shakopee, Minn.

A 1993 graduate of Jordan High School, Neil Klein worked in the manufacturing sector in a supervisory capacity for the lion’s share of his career. When the economic downturn cost him his job in 2010, Neil participated in Minnesota’s Dislocated Worker Program and did what he had always wanted to do: He returned to college. He went on to earn an A.A.S. degree in the DCTC Executive and Administrative Assistant program. He is now completing his Bachelor of Applied Science in Management from Southwest Minnesota State University through a program that allows him to finish up his generals at DCTC while taking online courses from SMSU. He is flexible about his  future career plans and is considering jobs as an office manager, HR director or international business professional. He is proficient in Spanish and looks forward to the possibility of leveraging that skill set on the job.

“My dream is to launch a tea franchise and become the Starbucks of tea,” he said.

Neil also serves as the vice president of the Business Professionals of America student chapter at DCTC. As a BPA member, he competed with other DCTC students at the BPA 2013 National Leadership Conference, “Uncover Your Magic,” May 8–12 in Orlando, Fla., taking first place in the Presentation Management Team competition and fourth place in Banking and Finance.

Habitat for Humanity: “I had enough experience with Sheetrocking to lead my own group. It was pretty cool working with the people from Habitat for Humanity and being able to help out like we did. That’s one of things I like best about the Lions, how we have so many opportunities to give back to our communities.”

DCTC Campus Lions Club: “One of my goals as president of our club is learn more about the Lions and become more involved. I would like to organize a charity event in collaboration with the Shakopee Lions. I know several members from the Shakopee club and I definitely want to continue my work with the Lions in the Shakopee community after I graduate from DCTC.”

Outside interests: Reading science fiction and playing Xbox 360 games (Call of Duty, Battlefield) online with friends from around the country; likes all things science, the planetarium, museums, anything new tech, his newest hobby is cooking: “I’ll try anything.”

Devon Kroll • DCTC Campus Lions Club Member

Devon Kroll • Campus Lions Club Member

Devon Kroll • Age: 20 • Red Wing, Minn.

Devon Kroll graduated from Red Wing High School in 2011 and is currently a Graphic Design Technology major at DCTC. Devon chose graphic design as a future career option because all her life interests are connected is some way to the field. She also enjoys journalism, photography and Web design. Her plans are to complete her A.A.S. degree in Graphic Design Technology and then double major so that she can earn an A.A.S. in Multimedia and Web Design, a strategy that will add considerable weight to her design portfolio. She currently works at the St. James Hotel in Red Wing in the event services department, covering weddings, banquets, wine tastings and more.

“I am still learning a lot about the design field—and I really like the idea that I can do so many different things with my career after college,” she said.

Devon works in the DCTC Library and is also active in YMCA Youth In Government, serving as a resource advisor in the experiential learning program that encourages middle school and high school students to follow a path of lifelong, responsible citizenship. She likes finding her voice through social media and has her own Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

Habitat for Humanity: “This was new for me since I know next to nothing about construction. I did learn how to put up Sheetrock and I definitely would volunteer with Habitat again. I like learning new things.”

DCTC Campus Lions Club: “Brett Kolles is my English instructor. He showed me how joining the Lions was a great way to work together with other students to help out and give back to our communities. I really like my experience so far. The people are fun to be around.”

Outside interests: Listening to music, hanging out with friends, reading, writing; Devon writes stories about her life and is looking forward to becoming a blogger.

About Lions Clubs International

As the world’s largest service club organization, Lions Clubs International has more than 1.35 million members in 46,000 clubs across 208 countries and geographic areas. The Lions date back to 1917 and are renowned for combating blindness, but members also care for the environment, feed hungry populations, provide emergency aid following natural disasters, and help seniors and the disabled. The Lions Leo program provides personal development through youth volunteer opportunities. Approximately, 144,000 Leos and 5,700 Leo clubs are active in more than 140 countries around the world. The Lions motto is “We Serve.”

About Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

The TCHFH mission centers on eliminating poverty housing from the Twin Cities and making decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience. The organization sees the Twin Cities as a region where hard-working families can own homes in healthy neighborhoods with access to jobs, transportation and quality schools. TCHFH wishes to help make decent, affordable housing a matter of the collective character by continuing to build and preserve homes, by supporting families and by engaging the community in the organization’s mission. TCHFH builds or rehabs 55+ homes (single-family, twin or multi-unit) each year. Hundreds of families apply for homes annually.

Banner photo: (left to right) Rory Bautch, Devon Kroll, Joe Bezek, Tyler Helgeson, Neil Klein, Nicole Meulemans, Greg McCalley, Brett Kolles and Megan, the TCHFH lead on the townhome Sheetrocking project
To learn more about the DCTC Campus Lions Club, contact:
  • Brett Kolles
    English Instructor
    Campus Lions Club Advisor
    651-423-8395