Going Above and Beyond

By Patrice Peterson | May 26th, 2016

          Volunteering gives Kathy Grovum “a reason and a purpose for getting up and doing something,” but her approach to volunteering goes beyond answering phones,  gathering information, and directing people to resources. She also finds solutions to problems.

          Kathy spends every Wednesday morning at DARTS, and she also volunteers at Neighbors, Inc. and Second Harvest Heartland’s Snap program.

          “I like the variety of the three places I volunteer, and all of these opportunities have given me the learning experience where I can be that one person who isn’t afraid to speak up and reach out to help someone,” Kathy says. “So many people do what’s expected and nothing more. I’ve always wanted to go the extra mile.”

          Originally from Ohio, Kathy and her family have lived in the Twin Cities area since 1988. In her “past life,” her jobs included administrative positions in a hospital, a call center, and a labeling company. When she retired a year ago, it took her only “a week in front of the TV” before she realized she wanted to make a difference.

          “I went on the computer and pulled up the AARP volunteer website,” she explains. “I didn’t realize all of the services an organization like DARTS provides to help seniors stay in their homes.”

One extra task Kathy offered to do at DARTS was to call some of those seniors to set up options. Instead of simply delivering information, however, she talks to them.

“I truly enjoy those conversations,” she says. I think making people feel good about themselves is the best thing you can do for yourself.”

          Kathy also enjoys finishing projects that often get pushed aside in a busy workplace. Whether it’s finalizing a caregiving spreadsheet or reaching out to contact speakers, she feels appreciated and valued by everyone around her. In her additional volunteer activity as a DARTS Ambassador, she also spreads the word about the “amazing” programs provided here.

          “I just feel that the more active you are, the more you thrive,” she adds. “I don’t need to identify myself by a career. Each time I help someone, and each task I perform, I simply want to finish what I started. To me, there’s always a sense of accomplishment.”