Volunteers are all unique in his or her own way, and each has special reasons for volunteering. All give their time without the expectation of anything more than the satisfaction that comes with helping others.
Some give a little, some give a lot, but all give something to make the world a better place. To a person, each considers volunteering a privilege and honor, saying they receive far more than the time they give.
Carla Hawkins multiplies that sentiment at least five times and comes away from her experiences with a virtual mountain of satisfaction. What Hawkins says of the men and women who volunteer in the organizations of which she is a part appropriately applies to all volunteers.
“No one is paid for their time or expects it,” she said. “I think we all get more out of our time than what money could give us. I have definitely made lifelong friends, have a different perspective of the blessings in my own life and am a better person for being a part of them.”
Hawkins is a member of The Garden Club of Frankfort, which she is serving as president until March. She is the current secretary of Phi Beta Psi sorority, having previously served in several other capacities.
In The King’s Daughters and Sons Foundation of KY Inc., she has been a member of the board of directors since July. She’s been the secretary of the Western Hills High School FFA Alumni and is the recording secretary of the Frankfort Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Finding the time?
How does she find the time considering that being an officer requires attending meetings, not just having one’s name on the roll?
“I usually volunteer no more than 5-15 hours a week,” says the 58-year-old Hawkins, who is originally from Flemingsburg. “It really isn’t hard to find the time as I work it into my schedule of everything else I am doing. In a way, it is not ‘extra’ work, as I just consider it part of my schedule of things I am committed to. All of the organizations are important to me in some unique way, so I don’t have a favorite or feel like they are something I have to do.”
Hawkins and her husband, Keith, came to Frankfort in 1982 when he accepted a position with state government. They have two daughters, Kelsey, who’s 27, and Anna, 23.
Anna’s involvement in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program at WHHS was the impetus for Hawkins becoming part of the FFA alumni group.
“I have been able to connect the alumni and the Garden Club activities as we have planted a Monarch Waystation at the high school,” Hawkins said. “I used chapter members to help plant our new Frankfort Cemetery Chapel, and in the past, club members have helped in the classroom.
“FFA is all about leadership and stewardship. We could use many more community volunteers to help mentor the students.”
Hawkins looks at her involvement in the FFA Alumni group as “an ongoing thank you for everything JR Zinner and FFA did for (Anna) and others. She had such a wonderful experience in FFA and I saw her grow into her potential because of the opportunities JR and the program provided her.”
Zinner is the agriculture teacher at WHHS and sponsor of the FFA chapter.
Want to be involved
Hawkins says she’s found people want to be involved in something they enjoy and with which they can feel connected. She found that connection with Phi Beta Psi, which isn’t a “sorority” at all in the traditional sense of the word since it’s not affiliated with any college or university.
She became involved with Phi Beta Psi shortly after coming to Frankfort and has been a member for 31 years.
“It was someplace I wasn’t someone’s mother, boss or wife,” Hawkins said.
The sorority’s national project is cancer research and, within that rubric, money is raised not only for research but to help victims and their families with expenses associated with the dread disease.
“The most heartbreaking are the children who have cancer, or parents of young children, who need help,” she said. “We try to be as personal as possible when we are helping someone, so they know there is someone who truly cares what they are going through.”
Hawkins’ involvement in the local DAR chapter began in 2015.
“I joined the Frankfort DAR out of interest in my family history and enjoy being a part of it for many more reasons,” she said. “The DAR allowed me to reach back even farther through genealogy research and find members of our family who were patriots of the Revolutionary War.
“This organization does a lot for veterans of all wars and helps K-12 students learn about American history.”
Hawkins, who served in several positions before retiring from state government, becomes a bit reflective about the value of volunteering.
“I think it’s good for anyone, and those experiencing stress. Volunteering helps a person get over themselves and help others,” Hawkins said. “When you become involved, the amount of time spent isn’t noticeable.”