News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: August 28, 2023

Dilley earns Volunteer of the Year award

Fennimore -

Terri Dilley began volunteering with Grant County’s Big Buddy Program in April, and she has already made a significant impact. During the Platteville Regional Chamber’s Party in the Park, “Salute to Volunteers,” event in July, she was named the 2023 Volunteer of the Year for the Big Buddy Program. Dilley is currently enrolled in the Human Services program at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College.

Terri Dilley (right) receives her award during the recent Platteville Regional Chamber event.

Dilley was introduced to the Big Buddy Program through a guest speaker in one of her Human Services classes at Southwest Tech. She decided to volunteer as a mentor for the program after that presentation, and now her family welcomes a 13-year-old boy to their home almost every weekend. “He loves being outdoors,” said Dilley, noting the boy helps with the family’s logging operation, among other activities. “We just let him know that we have an open-door policy.”

“It doesn’t take money to make a child happy,” said Dilley.

Terri and her husband have four children; 13, 22-year-old twins, and a 28-year-old. The mentee “fits right in,” said Dilley.

The mentee attended TechTrek recently at Southwest Tech, which is a week-long day camp for area middle school students to explore various careers. He chose which sessions to attend. “He wants to come back next year,” said Dilley.

Terri grew up in Richland Center, and her family now resides in Mount Hope. She works as a CNA at Crossing Rivers Health, while her husband works at Waste Management in Prairie du Chien. “My husband and I grew up not having a lot,” said Dilley. “We do have a lot of patience.”

The primary focus of the Big Buddy arrangement is being available and consistent. “I think it’s changed his life knowing that we’re not going to be absentee,” said Dilley. “We are going to be there. And he knows education is important to us.”

Dilley recommends the Big Buddy Program to others, noting the waiting list for mentors. “Seeing a child in a toxic environment and knowing that you do have a good environment, one day a month can make a difference.”

Terri Dilley

The volunteer award came unexpectedly for Dilley. “I didn’t realize, honestly, what I was doing,” she said. “I just thought taking a child in and showing them what a home was was overwhelming. I didn’t expect it (the award).”

Dilley will graduate from the Human Services program at Southwest Tech in May. Following graduation, she hopes to work in a local school district.

Dilley and the young man made a “pinky promise” that he will graduate from high school.

These words were offered to Dilley prior to her award presentation. “A Grant Count mentor has good character, a stable lifestyle and is willing to share her knowledge, skills, and life experiences to help a child develop social, coping, and good decision-making skills at home and school.”

“Grant County appreciates her willingness and dedication in serving our mentor program. Her contributions have made an impact, not only on her mentee, but the family and friends who surround him. Your commitment makes a difference. Thank you for your selfless and ongoing volunteer leadership.”

• The Big Buddy Program is a part of Grant County Social Services. It provides children from Grant County with a positive adult role model and a friend on a one-to-one basis. This program combines the friendship and guidance of volunteers and skills of a professional to support healthy growth in children. The goal is for a child to experience and become part of their Big Buddy’s life interests. Big Buddies are not legally or financially obligated to this program and are under no time obligations to the program, although the agency would like to see committed matches for one year.

To learn more about Southwest Tech’s Human Services Associate program, visit:

For more information, call the Grant County Department of Social Services at 608-723-2136, and ask for the Big Buddy coordinator.

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, a finalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

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