We have an amazing community of volunteers who faithfully and generously give their time and energy to serve seniors throughout Boulder County. In an effort to recognize their work, and so that our entire community can get to know our volunteers, we are launching our Volunteer of the Month award program. 

We are pleased to introduce you to Karon Johnson, our inaugural Volunteer of the Month for September 2018. Karon has been a wonderful member of our volunteer team, working with us in a number of capacities and across multiple programs. Most recently she has been contributing her talents to the Carry-Out Caravan program. Read on to learn more about Karon.

Note: be sure to subscribe to our redesigned monthly newsletter to get the Volunteer of the Month announcement, the latest Cultivate news, and other valuable content delivered straight to your inbox. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. Brockport, a college town of about 5000 people, near Rochester. It was a nice place to grow up.

What was your favorite job?

I worked for the Urban League in inner city Hartford, CT. We had a 15 week clerical training program helping women on welfare to get jobs. I was an instructor. It was mildly chaotic—just my speed—and was terrific. We were located in the Central Baptist Church right on Main Street in Hartford. At one time it was a rather prestigious church. But over the years, given that it was the inner city, it changed. There were three day care centers in the building, and downstairs was the training program. It was a real mixed community. I loved it. We were doing wonderful things—getting people a job, helping women off welfare. And we were in a community that was very supportive.

What was your proudest moment?

I recently won an award which was a nice honor. I belong to the University Women’s Club, and usually they provide an award to someone outside the university club community. However, it was in recognition of my career and service working primarily with low-income, minority, and underrepresented students. The award was a culmination of my professional career and a recognition of all that I had achieved. It was quite nice.

What is your greatest challenge?

I’m motivated to make the world a better place, and I like to stay busy—I’m a bit of a social butterfly. So, it’s challenging to find interesting work or things to do.

What are you most passionate about?

My garden. I have grandkids I’m pretty passionate about. And I have a cute guy I’m living with who I’m pretty passionate about!

What would your perfect day look like?

I would get up, have my coffee, and read the paper. I’d then go for a long walk, and then play in the garden for a little bit. I’d have lunch with some good friends, followed by an afternoon activity in one of the groups I’m a part of. I’d then have dinner with this cute guy I live with.

What is one item on your bucket list?

My nephew lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia. I’d like to visit them.

I’d also like to take a road trip to the South, and then drive up the coast, particularly in the spring when the gardens are just right.

What words would you want to describe your legacy?

Love. Peace.

Who/What inspires you?

My garden always inspires me.

Also, I’ve been married for 54 years, and my marriage is inspiring to me. It’s been an important part of my life-my husband has been very supportive of the work I’ve done. So, our relationship is inspiring to me.

And then there are those people who make the world a better place. Mr. Obama is one of my favorite people.

What advice would you give to people of a generation other than your own?

Follow your heart.

Why do you volunteer?

I’m very social and I like to keep busy. It’s nice that there is the structure that allows me to pick and choose the agencies with whom I volunteer. And certainly part of it is that I like to help people. You can have a significant impact on people.

Why Cultivate?

I learned about Cultivate in the Sunday paper. My initial goal was simply that I wanted to volunteer for one agency, and I could do that here.

Who is a senior who made a significant impact in your life, and what is one lesson you learned from them?

My uncle Neal. He was an eye doctor. He had to overcome certain disabilities—he was deaf. He had a sense of humor. We spent a lot of time together as a family at our cabin in upstate New York. He was a person who was close to me, who overcame physical obstacles to provide a lot of leadership in his community. And he was someone who I could go to—he always wanted to know how I was doing. He really cared and listened to me.

Volunteering with us is easy, flexible and fun! Join our volunteer team today and, like Karon, make a deep impact in the lives of your senior neighbors.