A Nevada woman has been honored by the Youth and Shelter Services organization for her volunteer efforts with YSS of Eastern Story County.
Kim Houston is a third-generation YSS board member, following in the footsteps of her father, Steve Williams, and her maternal grandmother, Harriet Ringgenberg.
At a recently held awards ceremony, Dr. George Belitsos, CEO of YSS, presented Houston with the 2014 Volunteer Leadership and Service Award, citing her involvement with the annual pool party fundraiser, the Winterfest tree competition and the YSS of Eastern Story County’s Close to Home Endowment campaign.
Laura Bell, the new YSS of Eastern Story County coordinator, said Houston is "an amazing, genuine person, who contributes a great deal of her time and energy to the board and the community. We are overjoyed to see her be recognized for all that she does."
Houston, who works as a human resources assistant at Burke Corporation in Nevada, is a 2002 graduate of Nevada High School. She didn’t grow up in Nevada, but moved to the community when she was a freshman in high school. After high school, she attended Central College in Pella and then returned to Nevada with her husband, Josh Houston (a detention officer with the Story County Sheriff’s Office), after her college graduation.
"My dad asked me to join the (YSS) board when I moved back to Nevada after college. At the time, he was on the board as well, so we were able to serve together until he moved away," Houston said.
Houston enjoyed serving on the board to spend time with her father and to learn more about YSS and the opportunities it provided for her to "give back."
As a kid, she said, her father often took her along to different places with his volunteer work. "I learned at a young age that volunteering helps others and is also very rewarding." Volunteering, Houston adds, gives you the opportunity to "learn a few things along the way" that you might not have learned otherwise.
Houston also learned about volunteerism from her grandmother, Harriet Ringgenberg, who lives in Ames. "She is still very active. She always led by example. My grandmother is a very giving person, and I am still learning about things she has done over the years."
In presenting the award to Houston, Bell commended her board member for balancing a busy schedule at work and home (where she and her husband have two children, Allison, 4 and Colton, 2) and still helping YSS with its various projects.
"This summer, when YSS took responsibility for the summer child feeding program, Kim worked with her employer, Burke Corporation, on a meat donation (for meals) and volunteers to help serve meals. "An average of 70 children had a healthy lunch and snack two times per week throughout the summer" through that program, Bell said.
Houston said the project she has enjoyed working on most for YSS is the annual pool party fundraiser. But it’s all good. Houston believes in the valuable work of YSS, which pays attention to important issues like synthetic drugs and human trafficking, things that can adversely affect our young people.
Saying she felt "very honored" by the award she received, Houston said she plans to continue her service to the YSS Board of Eastern Story County. She thinks others might enjoy this type of volunteerism, too.
"Anyone who wants to make a big difference in someone’s life (would enjoy it). YSS does a great job working with families and children to help them have a brighter future."