Just over a year ago, this month’s Team Leader Spotlight embarked on a quest to carry on the legacy of someone special. In the process, she transformed many more lives than just her own.
Meet Claire Kuhn, a Team Leader who leads projects serving every kind of New Yorker (as diverse as it gets!) on programs like Morning Yoga at PS 20M, Monthly Social with Gigi's Playhouse, Recover Food with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine in the Village, Walk Dogs with BARC, and Urban Adventures with Jacob Riis Family Settlement – to name just a few.
All around, Claire demonstrates so well what it means to be a Team Leader: Engaged, passionate, and dedicated to ensuring volunteers feel prepared, valued, and supported, week after week.
We can't begin to tell Claire's story without leading with the inspiration that got her started in the first place. Her grandfather.
"He retired from Ford Motor Company at age 55, not anticipating a long-life expectancy. When he retried he dedicated his life to community service, spending many years as an elementary reading tutor and hospice volunteer. When he passed away in February of 2016, I felt like the world lost a major asset which compelled me to serve as a Team Leader. My grandpa, Al left very big shoes to fill and I feel myself working towards filling them every time I volunteer through New York Cares."
Claire has made it a point to not only ensure service stays in the family but has clearly carried on the ability to inspire as well. We heard from Marian Robinson, one of Claire’s volunteers, about how she has been moved by the leadership example set by Claire.
“I met Claire in March and she inspired me to do the Team Leader training (which I just finished last night). Claire is a very special young woman who devotes most of her free time to volunteering (she works full time). This week she's receiving the Presidential Award from New York Cares. Claire is smart, engaging, enthusiastic, and open to all suggestions to learn and improve her excellent programs."
For Jane Rainone, fellow Team Leader, Claire’s ability to foster relationships and run quality programs is what makes her stand out.
"I have volunteered with her at a project called Monthly Social with Gigi's Playhouse place which deals with young people who have Down Syndrome. This project is once a month a Claire is always so prepared. Not only is she prepared to keep these young people busy for two hours but it could be even longer. She has also volunteered with me on my project at Terrence Cardinal Cooke and has built a warm relationship with many of the residents by being the caring and giving person that she is.”
In just two short years, Claire has over 130 projects under her belt and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. She’ll soon be leading Swim and Splash with KEEN, a program that empowers children and teens with developmental disabilities through completing pool activities. We'd say Claire’s got the right idea for how she’s planning on spending her summer months!
And while we could go and on about the influence Claire has made since she decided to join New York Cares, there's no denying that the Team Leader shoe size seems to be a perfect fit.
Thank you, Claire, for all you do to inspire others through your service!