Meet Karen, another one of our stellar volunteers. Not only does Karen volunteer as a mentor to one of our kids, but she volunteers around The Home for the holidays. Karen shared with us her motivations for volunteering and her advice to other volunteers.
SH: What brought you to The Settlement Home?
KM: My dear friend Kelly Sharp’s mom is Ms. Gwen Ford – she has been a Club Lady for 20 years. Through Kelly, I discovered The Settlement Home Garage Sale, where I faithfully shopped for 10 years. One day, Kelly asked if I knew what The Settlement Home does – which of course I didn’t. As she explained it – I had one of those inexplicable, un-ignorable, divine moments of clarity. I knew I was supposed to volunteer there.
SH: Why is volunteering important to you?
KM: I had plenty of issues growing up. Remarkably, I’m having a wonderful adulthood, with a precious husband and two amazing teenage daughters. I might not have been so lucky. That realization is always with me.
SH: What’s your favorite part of being a volunteer?
KM: OMG – that’s easy! My precious mentee! We have been together now for almost 3 years. When I first met her, she was in the RTC and now is in a group home, attending Lanier and making good grades! She has made enormous progress and it’s been a joy to watch.
SH: How would you describe your role as a volunteer at The Home?
KM: As one of the few (perhaps only) constants, in a life that has had none. I am someone to count on. And an additional way to regularly get off campus!
SH: What kinds of activities do you plan with your kiddo?
KM: My kiddo and I see each other 3-4 times a month – sometimes her best friend comes with us, which is even more fun. We go out to eat, we run errands. But most importantly, we talk – about life, things that matter. I know she trusts me, and knows that I have my broken parts too. She comes to my house to be with my family sometimes – definitely for holidays.
SH: What advice do you have for other volunteers?
KM: If you’re already volunteering for The Settlement Home – yay! There is a huge need. If you’re volunteering elsewhere – please consider. The girls have limitless potential given the right support and care.
SH: What is your favorite quote?
KM: I have two:
1) To whom much is given, much is expected. Otherwise known as gifted to give.
2) Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt, the world is unfolding as it should.
SH: What inspires you?
KM: Trying to be worthy of my own incredibly blessed life. Helping others thrive despite diversity is the way.