Award winner volunteers time |

Award winner volunteers time

Tribune Daily Tribune

Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneKelly Humphreys, recipient of the 2003 Violet Richardson Award, center, is congratulated by Karen Johnson, Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra, left, and Linda Thompson, Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe.

Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra and SI of South Lake Tahoe recently joined together to celebrate the selection of Kelly Humphreys as this years Violet Richardson Award recipient. The daughter of Steve and Cathy Humphreys of South Lake Tahoe, she is a senior at South Tahoe High School.

The award program is named after Violet Richardson Ward, the president of the first Soroptimist Club in 1921. Her name was chosen because of her commitment to creating opportunities for girls and young women. Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly — as an active member in her community. The award was established to honor the memory of this unique woman and her dedication to volunteerism.

Humphreys has that same energy and spirit that was so much a part of Violet Richardson. She has persevered through four years of high school with a straight A average, including seven advanced placement classes. She currently stands fourth in her class with a GPA of 4.33. She also has played soccer and participates in a wind ensemble. And, yet, volunteering is a big part of her life. Roy Benevetes, her counselor, said that it’s never about what Kelly wants, it’s what Kelly can give to others. He spoke highly of her, saying that she is one of the most unselfish and giving students he has ever had the privilege of knowing.

Almost daily, Humphreys spends time visiting the residents at the Skilled Nursing Facility at Barton Hospital. She has become quite a fixture with the patients. They feel she is a ray of sunshine, bringing them hope and friendship.

“Continually, I meet new people and am able to share a little piece of my life and God with them,” Humphreys said. “Recently, I met a woman who seemed unable to speak because of a stroke, but one day God blessed me to be able to decipher her mumbled words. Now, we talk almost every day. She has told me that I am the only one who understands her and takes the time to listen. She also has told me that I inspire her to learn how to talk again.”

“Sometimes when I leave, I cry. My tears are for the people who are living in that place indefinitely, while I am able to leave. Though volunteering at the Skilled Nursing Facility is sometimes difficult, I feel a great desire to keep going back. Not only do I enjoy visiting with the patients, but it helps me to decide if I really want to pursue health care as a profession, since that is one of my aspirations for the future,” Humphreys said.

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“I have made a choice to serve God for the rest of my life and he has created in me a desire to love and help others. Though many of the people I visit are mostly unable to respond or have difficulty responding, I feel my presence there is a calling from God to make sure they know that someone loves them.”

Soroptimist International awarded Humphreys a $1,000 scholarship for her volunteer efforts. Her application has been submitted to the regional level for additional consideration. At that level, one recipient is chosen and a $1,000 award is given to the organization of her choice in her name.