“I feel humbled and shocked. It means a lot […] it’s kind of mind numbing.”
Kim Doyle Wille, a Colorado native, is still surprised by the national recognition she recently received for her volunteer work with Cooking Matters Colorado. Staff that have had the pleasure of working with Kim see no one more deserving.
Kim was honored with the Daily Point of Light Award last week by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Kim received this recognition for her dedicated work with Cooking Matters Colorado with teen parents at Yampah Mountain High School and with childcare professionals in Garfield County.
Daily Point of Light Awards are given five days a week in the United States and the United Kingdom to honor individuals and groups creating meaningful change to meet community needs; efforts which often lead to long-term solutions and impact social problems in their local communities. “The Daily Points of Light award recognizes exceptional individuals who are using their time, talent, voice and treasure to improve the lives of others,” said Jaqueline Innocent, vice president, Recognition Programs of Points of Light.
Time, talent, voice and treasure are all assets Kim brings to Cooking Matters.
Her love for cooking began at an early age, helping at her parent’s restaurant, and continued as she worked throughout the hospitality industry. This passion evolved when she hit hard times herself and saw how unhealthy the selection was at food pantries. She discussed the issue with gardeners across the Garfield County and began facilitating seed donations to become harvested crop donations. Kim claims as soon as fresh food arrived at a food pantry it “would be snatched right up.”
This program, Growing Empowerment, eventually spanned 100-miles, but Kim saw she could do more. She began an after-school gardening program teaching at-risk teen parents at Yampah Mountain High School how to grow produce as well as how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.
Kim continues to volunteer at Yampah Mountain High School, leading two classes two times a week. She also leads classes for childcare professionals on weekends to accommodate their busy schedules. Kim claims, “the childcare professionals love it, they’re jam packed each time.”
Drew Schilling, Garfield County coordinator for Cooking Matters, says “She has a unique gift and inspires many young parents every single day. Growing Empowerment empowers the community through education, sustainable projects and gardens for hunger relief and economic development within our communities.”
Kim is a great example of the volunteers that empower families with the skills needed to shop for and cook nutritious, affordable meals. She encourages others to volunteer for Cooking Matters Colorado and says, “I love Cooking Matters. I would encourage everybody to volunteer. You don’t have to be a chef or nutritional expert, you learn so much through the curriculum and get more out of it then you ever put in.”