2019 Outstanding Staff of the Year

VNU Awards 2019 Outstanding Employee of the Year Award


Sheldon, Iowa– During the annual VNU Staff Christmas Party on December 5, 2019, Sara Wolthuizen was honored as the Outstanding Staff of the Year.  The Outstanding Staff of the Year Award is considered the highest honor awarded to a staff member of VNU, as the recipients are nominated by their peers for this annual award.


Sara began her career with Village Northwest Unlimited on September 11, 1999, while still attending high school.   Her first job was working as a Support Counselor in one of the campus homes.  She continued to work at VNU while she attended Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa.  In May of 2005, she graduated from Dordt with a Bachelor’s of Social Work degree.  Sara joined the Exercise and Sports Department (ESD) and became a Special Olympics coach in 2011.  Today, Sara continues to work in ESD, serves as a Special Olympics coach and works in waiver homes as well as homes on campus.


Sara lives out the Village’s mission of providing purpose, privacy and dignity, through the love and compassion she shows to all the individuals she serves.  As a Special Olympics coach, Sara helps our athletes develop their specific skills in various sports.  Sara also develops and writes curriculums, which provides unique opportunities for those we serve to experience community integration and attend many special events. Those events are wide and diverse in nature. They include everything from interacting with professional and collegiate sports organizations and athletes, to bonfires in the park. 


When thinking of the Village Northwest Unlimited, and our desire to provide purpose, privacy and dignity for all people, it is easy to see that Sara is a tremendous asset to the Village. Sara has demonstrated the Village values in all her interactions with others.  She works hard and is a huge part of the Village family. 



Ryan Haack, Director of Development

Village Northwest Unlimited

330 Village Circle – Sheldon, IA 51201

Ph. (office) (712) 324-5405