Updated: Jun 3, 2021
A family tradition of faithful service
Kathy Smith’s family has been involved with the KC Shepherd’s Center since it was founded in 1972 by Dr. Elbert Cole. As a longstanding member of Central United Methodist Church and a close friend of Dr. Cole, Kathy’s father played a role in the inception of the peer-to-peer program that serves older adults in Kansas City, and even gave the Meals on Wheels program its first car.
Serving with KC Shepherd’s Center has been a lifetime priority for Kathy. She’s branched out from volunteering with Meals on Wheels over the years, even opening her home for several events. She still participates in Adventures in Learning, a lifelong learning program that covers a wide range of engaging topics from current events to computers and technology.
She’s inspired others in her family to get involved as well: Her husband, Don Smith, served as a volunteer and board member, including chair of the board, with Shepherd's Centers of America for many years. In recognition of his leadership nationally and locally, the Donald Owen Smith National Volunteer Leadership Award recognizes excellence in volunteerism and commitment to the mission. Each year, a committee of experts in the field and leaders from across the network are charged with reviewing nominations for this prestigious award.
Volunteering for close to 50 years, Kathy now gets to spend that time with her daughter, Sibley Frye, who has been volunteering with KC Shepherd’s Center since 2000. Following in her family’s footsteps is a way for her to give back to her community while also getting the opportunity to spend more time together with her mom.
Why volunteer as a family?
Finding the time and activities to bring family together can be a challenge, and volunteering can be a great way to close the gap between ages and interests, bringing your family closer. As Kathy and Sibley have learned, volunteering together is a great way to spend more time together with those you love, but giving your time away to others can make you feel like you have more time, rather than less.
Volunteering can also provide significant health benefits. Research has shown that adults 55 and older who volunteer are more physically active, have larger social networks, higher self-esteem, and maintain overall health longer than others their age.
We couldn’t serve older adults in Kansas City without volunteers like Kathy and Sibley. Beyond providing a service, we work to build lasting relationships and opportunities for more purposeful living. If you have a passion for serving and celebrating the contributions of older adults, we’d love to connect with you! Fill out a volunteer application or reach out to Terri Goddard, Director of Resource Development, to learn more.