Millennials band together to serve community

Pictured, several of the founding members of the Monroe Millenials, from left, are Kalista James-Wetzel, Daniel Flaum, Amanda Schweigert, Jeremy James and Mindy James. (submitted photo)

A group of millennials in Monroe County will attempt to slash stereotypes and show the community that leadership can come from a myriad of ages and backgrounds.

“The mission of Monroe Millennials is to create community engagement and connections through serving others and preparing future leaders in the younger generations of Monroe and surrounding counties,” reads the group’s mission statement.

Monroe Millennials recently began piecing together a Facebook page, website and preliminary ideas for community service. But founder Amanda Schweigert said she hopes the group can engage millennials in the county in a number of events and programs that contribute to the betterment of society.

“I was really inspired by local businesses partnering,” Schweigert said of her inspiration behind the group. “And I was trying to figure out how to get to the people of my age group, because they are here.

“Also, local government is very homogenous, and I want to make sure that the younger generation is represented. Before too long, we’ll be leaders of the community. So it’s making sure, ‘Do young people have a voice?’”

One of the goals of the group is to provide support to existing community action groups, such as Waterloo Citizens for a Pool. Schweigert said as an example that Monroe Millennials can participate in WCP events.

“I want them to know that they can reach out to us if they need bodies,” she said.

Additionally, the group plans to develop “fun and community-building events,” according to its website.

Schweigert added the group will explore ways to help those in third-world countries with hunger and other needs.
Currently, the group is still organizing and has hence not planned any major events or projects. Recruitment events in the future will serve as a means to grow membership.

The group has held one member meeting so far to outline goals and the purpose of the group, and the next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 17 with a location to be determined. A total of 48 people have joined the Monroe Millennials Facebook group.

Millennials are the generation following Generation X, with the age group most commonly defined as 18 to 35. The generation carries the weight of many negative stereotypes.

For instance, Millennials are often said to be lazy and can’t or won’t hold down a job. Schweigert said she hopes the group will show that Millennials are part of a more diverse and well-meaning generation than advertised.

“There are 80 million people in our generation. There’s no way there can be one caricature that defines all of us. What if, instead, we say, ‘No, this is what Millennials look like?’ We want people to see that we are interested in being leaders in this community.”

Emily Whelan, who is an active member of the group, said she looks forward to the opportunity to build leadership within her generation.

“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to be in politics is because there are not enough young people that get involved,” she said of her recent bid for Waterloo alderman. “This is right up my alley of the kinds of things I want to do.”

More information is available at To join the Monroe Millennials Facebook group, go to Those interested can also subscribe to emails from the group by going to the website and filling out a subscription form.


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