Knights of Columbus, Life Skills prepare for 42nd Annual Phonothon

Thursday, September 8, 2022
Pictured above, from left: this year’s Phonothon Honorary Co-Chairs, Bruce and Frank Postma.
(Photo contributed)

The Plymouth County Knights of Columbus members are preparing for the 42nd Annual Plymouth County KC Phonothon, which raises funds for people with disabilities and specifically, Life Skills Training Center in Le Mars, on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

With the 2022 Phonothon set for Wednesday, September 14, Plymouth County KC members will be calling area residents from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day seeking donations. Ninety-percent of the money raised through the Phonothon will go to Life Skills, with the remaining ten-percent going to Special Olympics. This year’s goal will be to raise $55,000 (countywide).

The Remsen Knights of Columbus will be working out of the VFW Hall and have a Chamber Coffee from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. on that Wednesday morning. The public is invited to come out and enjoy donuts and coffee for the occasion. Calling at the VFW Hall will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day.

As the Phonothon Chairman in Remsen, Dr. Tim Russell will be leading the Knights at the VFW in Remsen.

Life Skills Director of Marketing and Public Relations Shelly Thomson stated, “This is Life Skills’ largest fundraiser. We really rely on this fundraiser. Throughout the years, it has pulled us through some tough times, and it has allowed us to try and reach our goal, which is, every individual that comes through our door, we try to give them the skills to achieve the highest level of independence that they personally desire. Some people desire status quo, but some of them want a job, want their own house, want to live independently in their own apartment, and be very independent. We have had very many success stories in that area.”

Life Skills uses the funds raised through the Phonothon for many different projects. Shelly explained, “In the past, we have used these Phonothon dollars on capital expenditures. We right now are in an era that we need to upgrade our existing building. This year due to a Plymouth County Grant in 2021, we were able to totally remodel our client break room. This year, we are also working on upgrading our tech capabilities. We are heavily mandated by HIPPA regulations, and we want to make sure our client’s identities and their personal details are protected. Also, there are always building upgrades including the lighting, the flooring, making this a very safe environment for our clients to move around in.”

In addition to the Phonothon, Life Skills is also celebrating their 50th Anniversary.

The honorary co-chairpersons for the Phonothon this year are Frank and Bruce Postma. “With celebrating our 50th Anniversary, it is only fitting that this year’s Phonothon honorary chairpersons are Frank and Bruce Postma. Frank and his family were part of the group that brought Life Skills into fruition. They went through lots of work trying to work with legislation, legal documents, all sorts of things had to happen for this to be up and running.” stated Shelly.

Shelly gave a little background of Frank’s and Bruce’s history with Life Skills, “For nine years, Frank was on Life Skills Board of Directors. His son, Bruce, was one of our first clients here to be part of it. When Frank and his group first started, we were called the Plymouth County Work Center. We were in the Central Junior High building, which now is the Plymouth County Historical Museum. They started with five people, and they started working from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Their ages were anywhere between 19 and 24 years old, and they worked for piece rate. At that point, Life Skills’ first customer was Harker’s, and they were labeling boxes. We’ve come a long way in 50 years.”

There are many options to donate to the Phonothon. Shelly stated, “In this era where people are going more towards cell phones, we are losing a lot of numbers, so it makes for fewer people that we can call. So if you are new to the community or if you are not getting a call, please call the VFW at 712-786-2074. If you cannot get anybody at the VFW or it is after the September 14, you can call me at any time at 712-546-9554 ext. 105, and I will get back to you. Also, if you would like to simply go to either American Bank or Iowa State Bank in Remsen, they are set up as to take donations.”

Shelly asks that you donate from your heart, “This is a very important fundraiser for Life Skills, so please pick up your phone and donate from your heart. Normally I stay away from phone numbers I don’t recognize, but please everybody on September 14 pick up every phone call you see.”