Your talents, expertise and energy are needed, whether you are new to the area, newly retired or looking to expand your resume.

To find out how you can make a difference and get connected in the Heartland Lakes area, read on.

Last year, as a part of ACTION Park Rapids, a steering committee dedicated to streamlining local volunteer opportunities launched the website called Volunteer Park Rapids. The site now has 27 organizations and over 100 volunteers signed up.

With our first anniversary approaching, we realized that our volunteers come from Hubbard and surrounding counties. In January, we changed our name to Volunteer Heartland Lakes. To better serve the needs of this entire area, we have a new logo, a new url ( and a new email address (

Our mission is to create a website that connects area volunteers with local organizations. The website is also features a community calendar. Each organization will post their needs and their events on the site. Any event automatically appears on the calendar as a link to the full information. This is a good way to look at what is happening around the area day by day and into the future.

You can freely browse the website to find an opportunity that fits your own schedule and interests. Once you find an opportunity, you will see all the details, such as time, place and special skills needed, then you can click "respond." The website will then ask you to sign in.

Signing in is easy! All you need is your name and email address. Once you sign in, you will have the option to choose areas of interest and causes. By choosing several interests and causes from the list, you will automatically be notified of opportunities that fit your unique profile. The organization will get your contact information. The system also will automatically remind you that you have a commitment just before the date.

One of the unique features of Volunteer Heartland Lakes that local volunteers find helpful is that you can keep track of your own hours and which opportunities you helped out with. This information can be printed as a personal resume that can be used for applications for schools or even jobs.

Take a look at the revised website. Let us know what you like and how we can make it better. Then help spread the word. The more people and organizations that use this site, the more our communities are connected.

Remember your talents, expertise and energy are needed. Find out how you can make a difference and get connected in the Heartland Lakes area by going to our website.