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Newly Opened Yogurt Station Kicks Off CIVICS Program
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The Yogurt Station owners Jeffrey and Barb Goschen apply the first CIVICS program decal to their front door while city volunteers and officials look on. The CIVICS program is a city-initiative that encourages local spending by offering discounts to residents. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

The Oakdale CIVICS (Citizens Volunteering In City Services) volunteer program, kicked off with the first local business to commit to the cause on Saturday, Dec. 3 at The Yogurt Station.

The Yogurt Station, owned by Jeff and Barb Goschen, coordinated their soft opening with the CIVICS program kick-off by purchasing and applying the CIVICS decal on their front door.

Goshen was excited about the chance to support the Oakdale CIVICS volunteer program and is looking forward to providing discounts to Oakdale CIVICS volunteers. Goschen went so far as to set up his new cash registers with a CIVICS discount selection on the keyboards. The Yogurt Station will display the CIVICS Business Supporter’s decal on windows at both entrances to his new business.

The CIVICS program is an all-volunteer lead program designed to maintain and grow the city of Oakdale’s successful MVP volunteer program. Over 150 volunteers currently support the various city departments by providing ongoing program support such as C.A.P.S. Police Volunteers and T.A.G. Graffiti Abatement. In addition, projects staffed by volunteers are also included in the CIVICS Volunteer Program charter, such as the current Finance Department’s streetlight project and the recent City Park Clean-Up evening event.

There are nine CIVICS volunteers who serve as the program administrative leadership. This administration team works closely with city department leaders to provide recruiting for volunteer positions, help in defining and documenting volunteer projects and programs, and to ensure community awareness and support of the program. Working on a very limited budget due to the tough financial times, this all-volunteer administrative team is actively working to garner financial support from the community while at the same time expanding opportunities for citizens to participate in meaningful volunteer positions.

Helping to support current city volunteer efforts while developing exciting new opportunities for volunteers to participate in is the primary mission of the program. The administrative team is currently working with the Community Development Department on a multi-functional project where volunteers will provide a single, easy-to-reach communication link between Oakdale citizens and all city departments to receive and process citizen service requests for code enforcement, graffiti abatement, Public Works services, and other citizen service requests. This new project is only one example of a new volunteer spirit in city government.

An important part of the CIVICS Volunteer Program is about providing the following incentives: incentives for citizens to volunteer by providing worthwhile, mission-critical volunteer assignments; incentives to city department leaders to utilize volunteers to support city employees in performing their jobs and improving services to the public; and incentives for businesses to demonstrate their support for Oakdale’s citizen volunteers by financially supporting the CIVICS Volunteer Program and by displaying the new “We Support CIVICS” window decals which encourages Oakdale volunteers to “Shop in Oakdale” at these supporting businesses.