Will Helling, CTRS, Volunteer Services & AmeriCorps Seniors Director

Will Hellling

On December 28 (way too many years ago), my parents were gifted with this enthusiastic, obnoxious, and fun-loving human. I grew up amongst the corn fields in Fort Madison, Iowa and was part of the last graduating class of Aquinas High School. I went on to graduate from the prestigious Western Illinois University where I majored in Therapeutic Recreation (adapting recreation as a form of therapy for individuals with intellectual, developmental and/or physical disabilities).  I was offered the extremely rare opportunity to an internship at the nation’s top ranked rehabilitation hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) where I introduced youth, teens and veterans to adapted sports.  

After completing my internship, I passed the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification exam and became a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist as and certified as an instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI Instructor) and continued in the realm of adapted recreation and provided programming, trips, special events and day camps for individuals with intellectual, developmental and/or physical disabilities throughout the entire South Side of Chicago. From there I went on to run overnight camps for individuals with disabilities and provided respite opportunities for the family members of campers. 

Life happened and I ended up in Kansas City where I found an incredible opportunity to work with victims and survivors of sexual assault and provide prevention facilitations to middle school students in North Kansas City. I also worked on the hotline and advocated for clients in hospital, police stations and courtroom locations throughout the city. I was living in Kansas City when the pandemic hit our country. During that time I realized that I not only wanted, but needed to be closer to my family who are all living here in Lee County. I was granted the opportunity to work full time as part of the team of United Way of the Great River Region. I am thrilled to be here and looking forward to bringing over 13 years of professional work experience in the world of nonprofits.  

Fun facts about me:  

  • I believe grape popsicles (made by Outshine) are one of the greatest inventions of all time. 
  • Ranch, ketchup, and BBQ sauce are the main staples of food that I could happily live off.  
  • As a child, a tombstone fell on my foot while I was walking past it. 
    • Please note, spending my leisure time in graveyards has become a pastime. 
  • Laughing is my absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world. 
    • I consider my family to be some of the most incredible and funny humans on the planet. 
  • I have an inability to smile on command. I have a plethora of high school senior photos as evidence.