First, it was learning to make biscuits and gravy. Then, it was on to more cooking classes, lamp wiring, public speaking and knitting.
Wina Dodson learned all these skills through 4-H as a child and has used them all her life. As an adult, Wina has volunteered with Carlisle County 4-H for 23 years to give other children the chance to learn what she calls “lifelong skills.”
“4-H has wonderful programs,” Wina says. “4-H teaches children responsibility and gets them in front of people.”
Her years of volunteering were recognized earlier this year with the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award, placing her in the Kentucky 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame.
Wina has been equally steadfast on her job. The West Kentucky RECC employee has worked at the electric cooperative for 34 years, currently in member services. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Wina says of both her job and her volunteer work with 4-H.
Shopping to meet needs
“Could I have a blanket?” The question came from a young child, who was part of a Kiwanis Club of Laurel County program aimed at ensuring that all local children receive something at Christmas.
The question broke Tracey Smith’s heart and simultaneously pulled her into more service with the Kiwanis Club. The club focuses all its efforts on children, including two major events each year. One is the Coy Hibbard Memorial Shopping Spree, which provides 50 children with clothes and a toy at Christmas. The other is a Sponsor a Child program that provides 500 elementary schoolchildren with shoes just before school starts.
“My favorite day of the year is the shopping spree where we go and purchase toys and clothes for the children,” says Tracey. “It jump-starts the holidays for me and changes my focus from the race of the holidays to what the focus should be.”
Tracey is a systems analyst with Jackson Energy Cooperative. “The entire management team encouraged me to get involved with the Kiwanis Club,” she says, “and they support every employee volunteering in the community. That makes it a lot easier to do.”