Ways to Stay Engaged

2015-09-24 07.03.45Angie Hulsebus is the President of the Iowa Chapter – United Spinal Association and has served as an ambassador for Easter Seals Iowa. At the age of 20, Angie was involved in a motor vehicle accident, leaving her a tetraplegic, due to spinal cord injury. One year after becoming paralyzed, she returned to Des Moines Area Community College, where she had previously attended for two years. Angie graduated in May 2006 with two-year Business Entrepreneurship and four-year Liberal Arts degrees.

Angie’s passion for volunteering started in seventh grade! She thrives on being active throughout her community and the state of Iowa. She enjoys volunteering at annual community events, providing public and inspirational speaking and advocating at state and federal levels. Angie is honored to be Ms. Wheelchair Iowa 2009, and she also competed nationally that year for Ms. Wheelchair America.


Angie loves what she gets to do – help improve the lives of other individuals, and help bring awareness of accessibility to all individuals!

Angie also enjoys working part time. She’s employed at a local corn maze and pumpkin patch and local specialty coffee supply distributor. She is also a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

Angie says she enjoys trying new adventures just because she can! Here are a few examples – paragliding, water skiing, hunting deer and turkey, target shooting, playing pinball, hand cycling and snow skiing. Angie has been married for more than three years now, and is loving this new chapter in life!

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Ways to Stay Engaged
Do you find yourself wanting to do more with your days?
Do you have a disability that makes it extremely difficult to have a full-time job?
Do you feel disconnected from your community?
Do you like helping other people in your community?

If you answered YES, to any off these questions, this article is for YOU!

Solution: Find what you are passionate about, then volunteer in that area of interest!

Being a “Professional Volunteer” (as my friends and family refer to me), I have a deep passion for helping other people, and improving their quality of life.

Due to my preferred interests, I tend to help individuals with spinal cord injury or disorder. So much so, that I help operate a statewide nonprofit, Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association.

I love helping plan accessible and adaptive events, for individuals to be able to try new things, continue doing activities they love, and be able to do inclusive activities with family and friends!

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The largest annual event that I help plan, is Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association’s Annual Sports and Recreation Expo. This event encompasses much more than sporting activities. We are always adding new activities each year, improving the experience for all in attendance. We try to offer a variety of recreation activities and resources.

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We have various vendors present, to provide information to attendees. Vendors range from medical equipment companies to adapted driving, to a resource center, to other sporting groups in Iowa, and everything in between. If you’re interested in volunteering at this event, or being a vendor, please contact me at admin@unitedspinaliowa.org!  The event is September 15, 2018.

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Ways To Find Volunteer Opportunities:
1. Google the subject you’re interested in. For example, if you want to help individuals with spinal cord injury, Google “Iowa Spinal Cord Association” or “Iowa Spinal Cord Injury Organization,” or something that includes the words organization or association.
2. Search different volunteering websites such at www.volunteeriowa.org or www.volunteermatch.org.
3. Ask your friends if they volunteer anywhere. If yes, join them when they volunteer again.
4. If you have Facebook, you can look at your town’s Facebook page. They often post when they are needing volunteers.
5. Try a lot of different volunteer opportunities, to see what you like best. You may discover something new that interests you! Some ideas including working with animals, children, veterans, volunteering at a nursing home, landscaping/gardening/beautifying city properties and parks, etc.

No matter what you choose to do, the goal is to help others and better your community. Do not be afraid to try new things or to get out of your comfort zone. Not only will you be an asset to others, you’ll be bettering yourself as well.

The world awaits the many talents you behold!


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