Kate Koval has been volunteering with Unity House for 20 years. It was the late Kathryn Allen, also a steadfast supporter, who introduced Kate to the idea of service. Kate started out volunteering on a Unity House event committee. As she learned about the work of human services, she got more involved; eventually Kate stepped up to join the Unity House Board of Directors, which she now leads. Kate credits Kathryn as her mentor, for encouraging her to give back and to do so in a meaningful way.
For Kate, of particular resonance are the needs of people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Unity House’s Community Resources program is often the first point of contact for people who need help with life’s essentials such as housing, food, and more. Of the many people served by Unity House annually, a majority find help through Community Resources. Often, people come in crisis; staff work to address immediate needs and then work together towards stability.
On How to Make Life Better
When asked what advice she would give someone considering volunteer service, Kate encourages people to look far and wide. “Try different things, at different organizations, and you’ll find something that speaks to you. At Unity House, for people who want to get involved, there is something for everyone because Unity House offers so many different services.”
For some, it’s justice for survivors of domestic violence that strikes a chord, or housing for the vulnerable. For others, it might be helping children with developmental delays, working to help people overcome barriers to employment, or addressing food insecurity.
Kate would be the first to tell you that volunteering changes the giver as much as the receiver, “I have learned so much over the years. I see how the disparities in our own community can seem overwhelming. But everyone has something to give. It all comes down to giving back, to make life better, right here, in the communities where we live and work.”
Volunteers are vital to the fulfillment of the Unity House vision of serving and empowering people in need. Not all volunteers lend as much time as Kate does in leading the Unity House board of directors, but all volunteers can be certain of one thing: they make a difference.