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Kathy Waychoff has spent a lifetime connected to volunteerism, something she believes fuels community connection.
“Volunteers are the glue that brings a community together,” she said. “They solve problems, create goodwill and their work makes our community, city, state, country and world a better place to live.
“We only had to look around our local communities after the flood in 2008 and derecho in 2020 to learn how volunteerism can impact a community.”
Waychoff got her start with volunteerism while her children were in school in the College Community School District. She spent 15 years volunteering for their schools in a variety of ways.
When her children were older, her spirit for volunteerism led to her taking on the role of district volunteer coordinator at College Community School District, a job she held for 16 years.
“My role was varied but involved connecting with school and community volunteers to assist our school staff in the day-to-day activities at school,” she said, noting that she also assisted with volunteers for special events.
“We have wonderful volunteers at Prairie Schools and so that part of my job was easy.”
Waychoff’s role also allowed her to be involved in other school related functions over the years including bond issues, open houses, groundbreaking events and school supply donations, among other activities.
Another role Waychoff treasured was serving as the lead adviser for the Prairie High School Key Club, which she helped establish in 2011.
“Our 100-plus student members volunteer at approximately 70 school and community events, primarily with nonprofit agencies, throughout the school year averaging 3,000 volunteer hours annually,” she said.
“But more important than statistics, though, was having the opportunity to provide our students with the education about the mission and vision of local nonprofit agencies and then watch them embrace serving our community through those agencies. Many past Key Club members have continued to volunteer after high school, which is extremely rewarding.”
While Waychoff retired in June and has plans to travel to see her children that live out of state when she’s able to do so safely, she hasn’t given up volunteering. She continues to serve on the Gems of Hope board of directors as the treasurer and is mentoring at the Catherine McAuley Center.
“As the world becomes healthier, I plan to investigate more local volunteer opportunities,” she aid.
She does appreciate not setting an alarm clock and getting time for reading, one of her favorite pastimes.
Waychoff encourages others to volunteer as well.
“It may sound cliche but find what you are passionate about and what warms your heart and spend your time there,” she said, noting that connecting with a library is in her future.
“Don’t’ wait for someone to ask. Call them and ask how you can help. There is a lot to be done out there and it truly does take a village.”
Once a month, Business 380 spotlights some of HER Magazine’s Women of Achievement, published by The Gazette. The awards were sponsored by Farmers State Bank.