Just several months into his new job as a case manager with Meridian Services, Kris Jaeger volunteered for one of Headwaters relief trips to Haiti. “It was an incredibly emotional trip,” he recalls. “Seeing the poverty, the orphaned kids, and the lack of food was hard.”

Volunteerism has been a part of his family life since he was young – growing up, his brother and parents regularly volunteered at the Crisis Nursery. And at Mankato State, he began volunteering with Bethel Ministries boys youth group, which he continues today.

In addition to participating in a range of relief efforts, including past trips to Colorado, Arkansas and Fargo, Kris regularly volunteers for Headwaters’ River of Hope Mental Health Resource Center in New Orleans. “It’s so cool that we’ve been serving that community since Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago, providing mental health for those that have long-term mental illness needs,” he says. “Knowing that the company is continuing to work with people there who don’t have the financial resources is really rewarding.”

When asked how he sees volunteering enhancing his professional work, Kris says, “One reason is the relationships you develop with people you don’t regularly work with. You also learn something about yourself and that there are things bigger than yourself. As a case manager, volunteering has helped me to understand more closely people’s needs and wants.”