Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By BRANDEE BRITT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — When University of Iowa softball junior Angela Schmiederer decided to spend her summer in Iowa City, she knew she wanted a job where she could make an impact. She found just that at the Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.
Each year the UI softball team challenges its student-athletes to volunteer at an organization in the Iowa City community. Since arriving on campus in 2014, Schmiederer and several of her teammates have spent their free time at the Hope Lodge — an organization that offers private rooms for patients that are 18 years and older during their cancer treatment.
This summer, Schmiederer’s volunteer effort turned into a job as a weekend and night supervisor.
“I knew I was going to take summer classes at the university and I wanted a summer job,” said Schmiederer, a native of Prospect Heights, Illinois. “When I heard there was an opening at Hope Lodge, I jumped at the opportunity. I would much rather spend my time working there than a random place where I’m not invested. It’s a bit more personal and worthwhile.”
From Monday through Thursday, Schmiederer is a full-time student-athlete, spending her time in summer classes and in the weight room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. On the weekends, she’s in full work mode, tending to the needs of guests at Hope Lodge from 4 p.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. Monday morning.
“I’m there to hold down the fort every other weekend,” said Schmiederer. “I do some paperwork and am on-call 24/7 in case someone needs anything. I have a room there that I sleep in so I can be an immediate help to anyone in need.”
After only a few months on the job, Schmiederer has already been affected by the impact the lodge has on families in need.
“A lot of things happen at work that make me realize how special of a place it is,” said Schmiederer. “People come in after their loved ones pass away with huge monetary donations. They just want to give back to Hope Lodge, because it has impacted their family. That shows me what kind of place the Hope Lodge is, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.”
While her role at the lodge will change as the softball team’s fall season approaches, the secondary education major knows her experience on the job will benefit her for years to come.
“Ultimately, I want to be a guidance counselor in a high school setting,” said Schmiederer. “Being able to talk with anyone who is struggling through something is good experience in that regard. At the Hope Lodge I come across a lot of different people at difficult stages in their life and I learn how to interact with them.
“That will help me not only in a school setting, but throughout life as well.”
With two more years until graduation, Schmiederer looks to continue to help out and make an impact on an organization she has become so passionate about.
“I’m proud to be a part of a softball program that stresses the importance of giving back to the community,” she said. “Working at the Hope Lodge is a new experience that I never saw myself doing until I started volunteering. I’m grateful for this opportunity that my coaches and the softball program ultimately led me to.”