Jenny Poyorena, the controller for American Converters, Inc. (Amcon) in Fridley, is an enthusiastic, generous volunteer who supports Rise in several different ways.
Amcon produces custom foam fabricating products for customers nationwide. People from Rise are well-integrated into Amcon's workforce and have worked together for many years on a wide range of jobs.
"A few years ago, I learned more about the work Rise does and met some of the people they serve," Jenny remembers. "I was struck by what a good fit our companies were together. Amcon and Rise's core values align really well - we both have great people who work very hard to go the extra mile for our customers and produce high quality products. I wanted to get more involved with Rise and do what I could to help."
One of the first projects Jenny volunteered for at Rise a few years ago was to rally her Amcon co-workers to purchase holiday gifts for Rise's annual Giving Tree. Presents donated helped make the holidays even more fun for kids and young adults served in Rise's mental health and housing support programs.
"Amcon employees were really generous in donating gifts or money to shop for people who were in need," said Jenny. "It felt good that we could reach out and help the community." Shown here from left are Steve Joyce, Natasha Ustimchuk, Jenny, Ryan Fitzgerald, Stephanie Miskowic, Jamie Koep, and Bonny Charlton.
In 2016 Jenny was asked to co-chair Rise's annual Celebrate Rise Fundraising Gala with Angie Franzen. She said she was honored and excited to take on this important role.
"As a controller, I don't often get to be creative so this was a really fun opportunity for me," Jenny added. "I loved all that went into the planning and working with other people to make the event so successful. It was rewarding for me personally as I knew the money we raised was going to a really good purpose and would help many people."
Jenny drew her Amcon co-workers into the event by asking some of the company's designers and machine operators to produce a one-of-a-kind photo booth to go with the oceanic theme. It was big hit -- people were lined up before dinner to have their photos taken in the beautiful water scene with lots of fun props -- all made from colorful foam by Amcon employees. Here, Jenny and Andy Harry take a selfie before it opens for guests.
"Amcon has wonderful employees," Jenny noted. "Everyone involved in that special project enjoyed contributing their time and talent. I was very proud of them and can't thank them enough."
With planning already underway for this year's gala, Jenny came up with the theme from a quote by Helen Keller: "Life is an adventure or it is nothing." All of us at Rise are excited to see how Jenny, Angie, and the rest of the volunteer planning committee incorporate this theme into the event which will be held October 5.
In addition to the Giving Tree and gala projects, Jenny is also volunteering her professional skills by conducting mock job interviews with Rise job-seekers. "I hope to give people some constructive feedback and support to help them improve their interviewing skills and land the job they want."
"I really enjoy working with Rise in these ways," Jenny said. "It feels good to give back; if you can help, you should."