Meet Kristin Kobilis, she’s the 2020 Barbara Day Volunteer of the Year! This award is given to a volunteer who has made a lasting impact on BakerRipley and the community through their dedicated service.
The pandemic forced our senior centers to close, leaving many seniors who typically attend with no place to go. The older adults in our communities usually come to the centers for a meal, exercise, educational programs, games, and socialization.
After that, BakerRipley implemented weekly phone wellness checks with all seniors who attended our centers. For more than a year now, Kristin has called her list of “20 grandmas and grandpas” every week.
“I have a list of grandmas and grandpas that I talk with weekly, we enjoy talking to each other. Many of them feel isolated and a phone call means so much during these times. It makes my day and it’s so rewarding to know that what I’ve done so far with BakerRipley is directly making an impact.”
On top of the pandemic, the recent winter storm created additional stress, many seniors in our communities struggled to pay their bills. Sometimes all they need is the right information. Furthermore, the phone calls help BakerRipley understand the mental and health challenges that the seniors are facing.
It can be life-saving
During this time, Kristin developed deep relationships with some of our senior neighbors. One of them became very comfortable with her and they shared personal stories about their lives and struggles.
After the recent Houston freeze, this neighbor was feeling extremely overwhelmed. Their house had been damaged and it was too much to handle. The neighbor – wanting to end their life and with a gun in hand – called Kristin to let her know.
A gunshot went off and Kristen immediately called 911. Fortunately, the emergency responders arrived quickly, transported the senior to the hospital and a life was saved.
The only “requirement” of this volunteer assignment was to call, check on our neighbors, and report any concerns back to the BakerRipley team.
If Kristin had kept her calls “surface level” she may never have got to know this senior well enough for the senior to trust her and reach out. A genuine conversation can make a real difference for older adults.
We thank you for your dedication our neighbors!
To find out about current volunteer opportunities, click here.