“I’m a recruiter,” says Senior Corps RSVP Volunteer Jean Akin when asked about her volunteer work and motivation. A native New Mexican, Jean first visited Kansas after marrying an Air Force man. She followed him back to Kansas and they ended up in Manhattan when he found a job with Kansas State University. Jean also found employment with the university, retiring from the Kansas State Student Union after 26 years. She has been volunteering with the Flint Hills Volunteer Center’s Senior Corps RSVP program for 5 years and lights up when talking about her love for the Center and the volunteer work that she does each month. Helping with the North-Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging mailings is one of her favorite volunteer activities, but she also enjoys visiting the nursing homes and assisting friends and neighbors with rides as needed. Jean encourages others to visit those in nursing homes as well, stating, “I can end up there one day and I want people to visit me.” Jean often finds herself chatting with others and encouraging them to volunteer as well. Jean will tell you that her favorite part of volunteer work is getting to know new friends. She laughs about the time that she was at a volunteer project and found out that three of the other volunteers lived in her neighborhood and they’d never met each other.
One of the benefits of volunteering is that you get to say no, something that Jean does do every so often when she feels a need to rest. She stressed the value of getting out of the house and seeing other people because it uplifts her spirit and there is always the potential for a new friend or to meet a neighbor. She greatly appreciates the Flint Hills Volunteer Center and RSVP program for providing a variety of volunteer opportunities to the community that help her and others find things to do. People that know Jean well call her the “Go-Go Girl” as she always seems to be on the go. When asked for advice she would give to someone considering volunteering, Jean says “If you’re tired of sitting at home and need something to do, get out and volunteer. Give back to your community. Get up and go while you have a chance,” advises Jean.