Volunteer Spotlight – Mitch Hegland
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am lifelong educator, currently serving as an elementary school associate principal in Eden Prairie. I have an amazing family. My wife Lois serves on the JSAW board, my daughter Abby is married to Jake who used towork for JSAW, and my two sons, Peter and Melaku, are long time skateboarders and snowboarders who take advantage of some of the facilities and programs JSAW has to offer. So, we are invested in this amazing work to be sure. In my off time I enjoy woodworking, mainly with reclaimed wood, fishing and just about anything outdoors! My passion is for kids which is why I love the important work that JSAW is doing.
When and how you became a Christ-Follower?
I grew up in a “semi-Christian” home, but quite honestly understood almost nothing about faith. When my daughter Abby was born, we knew we wanted more for her (and eventually Peter and Melaku too). So, as an educator and a dad, I thought I could volunteer in children’s ministry just helping to wrangle kids, but this is where my own understanding, growth, and faith journey really began. Since that point I became more involved in children’s and youth ministry and other church functions, including numerous mission trips with youth groups and with my family. Missions trips are a great way to build bonds with family and your community and really grow in your faith. They can be life changing and even life-saving. Serving at JSAW in any way that I can is an extension of that missions-minded work. Plus, I really enjoy building stuff!
How did you get connected to JSAW?
As you can see from above, our family is intertwined with JSAW in a number of ways, number one being our son-in-law, Jake. But, our son Peter spent a summer on the boat participating in the Wakeboarding ministry and Melaku has gone on one of the Snowboarding trips. Both boys enjoy coming to HELP Boardshop to skate and to buy skateboarding and snowboarding equipment, shoes, and other accessories.
Why do you volunteer at JSAW?
I serve because I can and because I am blessed by doing the work. I love working with my hands and my day job doesn’t really allow for this. For me it is fun and I know I am helping fulfill a need for the shop and I feel like I am helping make it a nicer, more welcoming space for the kids. As an educator, a Christian, and a human being, I am always reminded that JSAW isn’t just about skateboards and ramps, it’s really about kids and Christ. My serving has mainly been building projects, the bulk of which has been in the program room, along with my friend Bill Hoag, where we extended the walls up another 3 feet or so. I also built a bench, put up the pallet wall (my personal favorite), and help with the occasional ramp project. It has been a blessing for me to do this work. As a family we also support JSAW financially because we believe in the mission and we know this work needs our financial support as well.
I guess I would just encourage others to think about ways they can serve too, be it financial or any other gifts or talents they may have to share. JSAW runs very lean both financially and in staffing so there are always projects, big or small, that they need help with.