by Vicki Ikeogu
Since her days at Sartell Middle School, Lauren Lindmeier knew she had a calling to help others.
Lindmeier was recently named Sartell Student Volunteer of the Year by the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I really always had that sort of sense (to give back),” Lindmeier said. “And as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized there are more outlets to actually help others.”
As a middle-school tri-sport athlete – competing in hockey, swimming and lacrosse – Lindmeier was able to find time to squeeze in a few extra-curricular activities, mainly student council.
“But in middle school, there wasn’t as many clubs,” Lindmeier said. “I knew I wanted to do more and then in high school was when I really found so many different areas I wanted to partake in.”
Today, the Sartell High School junior spends 12 hours daily on average at the high school.
From early morning student-council meetings – on which she currently serves as vice president – to Yoga Club, which she helped found – to swim practice, National Honor Society, Target club (an anti-chemical-use club designed for teens), Students Against Trafficking club (to bring awareness to the issue of sex trafficking globally and locally) and of course classes – which include several college-level courses – Lindmeier’s schedule is full to bursting. Yet, the 16-year-old still feels the drive to give as much as possible back to the school and the City of Sartell.
“Nothing feels like, ‘Oh, I have to do that,’” she said. “It’s all things I want to do and I’m really passionate about them. And I guess I feel like I have to get it all done, so I do.”
Her volunteer work not only within the halls of Sartell High School, but outside as well, was the reason why the Sartell Chamber of Commerce, along with the Hospitality and Visitors Service and staffers with the City of Sartell have recognized Lindmeier as the 2017 Sartell Student Volunteer of the Year.
“My guidance counselor actually called me down to the office and told me I had been nominated,” Lindmeier said. “I was shocked. I didn’t expect to receive any sort of recognition. I wasn’t seeking that at all.”
In addition to her work at Sartell High School, Lindmeier is active throughout the area. She serves as a youth mentor at her church – St. Francis Xavier. She also teaches vacation bible school and assists at various church functions. Lindmeier also volunteers at Country Manor. She serves as the president for the Central Division of Student Council Executive Board, which is comprised of student council representatives from around the area. Lindmeier is also involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters and has volunteered to teach summer-school classes at Talahi Elementary School in St. Cloud.
She may have dropped hockey, but that seems to be the only thing Lindmeier has set aside.
“I find time for sleeping,” she said. “Even though that is a joke.”
Lindmeier said her inspiration to volunteer came from her parents and two older siblings.
“My parents have always been the ones, they taught me you work hard for what you get,” she said. “And in my (older) brother I saw the essence of feeling passionate about something and really finding your passion. And through my older sister I learned what volunteering could do for others and the goodness it brings. I was just really inspired by her in the sense of volunteering.”
It is Lindmeier’s hope to embody that same sense of passion and inspiration to help pave the way for her younger sister.
“I encourage her to get involved and know that she’s a freshman. I’m like ‘You can join this club or this club.’ And she’s starting to get into a few more clubs and activities that she’s really enjoyed,” she said.
While she isn’t sure what her post-high school plans are yet, Lindmeier said she would like to go to college and one thing is certain: she will continue to give of her time and talents to help others.
“Getting involved gives you so many skills and helps you learn a lot about yourself,” she said. “I personally would rather help someone out than be like, ‘no, I’m too busy.’ And in the end, it’s all worth it.”
Vicki Ikeogu is a local freelance reporter from St. Cloud. Ikeogu is a 2015 mass communications graduate from St. Cloud State University. Ikeogu was previously the business reporter at the St. Cloud Times. She currently works as a transportation planner for the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.