By Jennifer Meshanko for the Island Connection
As a former teacher and counselor, Kay Vrba lends her vast experience in multiple volunteer roles at Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach (OLMCO). Kay spent her entire life in Illinois until two and a half years ago when she and her husband moved to Johns Island to be closer to their son. She has always felt a calling to serve.
“There were seasons when I didn’t serve, when my children were young or when I was working and going to school,” says Kay. “Other than that, I’ve always served.” After moving to Johns Island, she was looking for ways to volunteer when she was directed to OLMCO’s website. Kay is a versatile volunteer who serves in many capacities, such as the Yes, I Can! afterschool program, clothing room, monthly senior food box distribution and the annual toy distribution. She also volunteers at OLMCO’s downtown location, The Neighborhood House, preparing and serving lunches.
Kay enjoys volunteering, because the clients are so grateful and appreciative. “The gratitude from a client when I serve them a meal, the smile on a client’s face when they receive clothing for their family and the ‘light bulb’ that goes on when a student finally understands, has made an impact in my life,” says Kay. She believes “respecting people regardless of their circumstances and helping people be self-sufficient” can make a positive impact in someone’s life.
Kay recognizes the tremendous need on the Sea Island and downtown Charleston. “I feel all of us who are blessed, especially retirees who have time, have a responsibility to help those in need, and OLMCO is a wonderful place to do that.”
Volunteering at OLMCO has been a blessing for Kay. “There are so many opportunities, and they have amazing staff who help you get connected and support you!”