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Local woman receives volunteer award

Kim Rhoads began volunteering as a child and has introduced her own children to volunteerism

Posted: April 15, 2009 3:37 a.m.
Updated: April 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Kim Rhoads, 37, was recently named 2008 "Champion of the Community" by the California Park and Recreation Society. For the last 10 years, she's donated thousands of hours to the Castaic Sports Complex.

She’s given so many hours of effort and time to the Castaic Sports Complex, many there probably wouldn’t guess Kim Rhoads does it for free.

“Everybody just assumes I work here, they don’t know I’m a volunteer,” said Rhoads, a volunteer at the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation’s Castaic Sports Complex.

Rhoads, 37, was recently named 2008 “Champion of the Community” by the California Park and Recreation Society.

Rhoads’ philanthropic roots reach back to her pre-teen years. At age 11, she was selected by the city of El Segundo as “Kid of the Year” for her volunteer efforts at the library, organizing books and reading programs. She was also selected as the city’s “Best Kid” for her contributions on behalf of the school and local churches.

“My parents always did extra things. When they volunteered in the community and got involved, they always told us it was always better to give than receive,” she said. “When I started, it felt so good.”

 Since she began volunteering, Rhoads has worked with the homeless, the elderly, AIDS patients and many children. 

“(Volunteering) became such a part of my life and when I wasn’t doing it, it felt like there was something missing,” she said.

For the last 10 years, she’s donated thousands of hours to the Castaic Sports Complex. Rhoads, an 11-year Castaic resident, contributed to laying the foundation of the complex’s day camps, senior programs, youth sports, registration, watching over children and basically anywhere she is needed.

“The first time she came here, I suckered her into coaching a youth soccer team,” said Jared Didier, a supervisor for youth programming and day camps at the Sports Complex. “It was my first time running the program, and her first time coaching.”

Didier, who has worked with Rhoads for more than 10 years, said Rhoads will always show up for the kids. She even turned up a day after having knee surgery.

“Everybody asks why I don’t just work here,” said Rhoads, referring to the sports complex. “But it would take away from the fact that I like volunteering.”

Rhoads has also tried to instill an appreciation for volunteerism in her two children, Matthew, 14, and Melissa, 10, whom she home-schools.

One Christmas, her children suggested that the family give money that would be spent on their presents to homeless families.

“They felt so good – they just loved it,” she said.



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