Volunteer's commitment to Oakland Family Services spans decades
When Katie Prior began volunteering at Oakland Family Services she owned a women’s clothing store in Birmingham. That was nearly 30 years ago.
Yes, you read that correctly. Katie has volunteered her time to this agency for nearly three decades.
“It’s always been a rewarding experience,” she said. “I’ve done so many different events and have been involved in different ways and each time I take away something new. It’s really the people and culture at Oakland Family Services, it’s an incredibly warm and caring environment.“
It all started for Katie when a friend invited her to attend a meeting at Oakland Family Services. Before she knew it she was helping and eventually co-chairing the Fall Event, which was THE event not to miss back in those days. These annual events required a lot of hard work from volunteers. The agency eventually moved to the annual Building a Brighter Future Breakfast.
“It was one of the best events in town,” she recalled with a smile. “It was well attended and well recognized in the community.”
Katie has volunteered for everything you can imagine - sorting gifts for Adopt-A-Family, stuffing Thanksgiving baskets with food and filling children’s backpacks with school supplies, to name a few.
She also has helped in a 4-year-old classroom at Oakland Family Services' Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac and volunteered as an ambassador coordinator for the agency's Building Brighter Futures Tours.
“We absolutely love Ms. Katie Prior," Assistant Teacher Gail Petrusha said. “She has been a volunteer in our classroom for the last two years and is such a blessing. Her smile brightens up the room and the kids flock to her when she enters the room. She comes in Monday after Monday and is kind and compassionate. She always wants the best for each child and has ongoing patience.”
And Katie loves being in the classroom.
“I see them come in the fall and they are shy and uncertain and every week you see this growth with these kids,” she said. “It’s a transformation, and by the time they graduate in the spring they are totally different.
“It’s extremely rewarding to be part of Oakland Family Services and see the staff and volunteers dedicated to making a difference in others.”