As a sociology student at University of Michigan, Kailey Whitted is preparing for a lifetime of service to others. And as a volunteer for Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, she’s getting firsthand exposure to the needs of the community and the ways she and others can help.
As part of a University of Michigan class called Project Community, Kailey was required to find a local organization to serve as a volunteer.
“I picked YMOW,” said Kailey, YMOW’s first Volunteer of the Quarter for 2021. She began as a member of the friendly caller team, making calls to help ease the loneliness of YMOW clients. But as she learned about the community and the work of YMOW, Kailey expanded her work to include meal delivery and even help with the Ani-meals program.
Kailey said she was surprised to learn how much YMOW has to offer its clients. But she is even more impressed with what clients have to offer her.
“I like hearing about their lives,” she said.
She still makes friendly calls to two clients each week, starting each conversation out with the same question: “What made you smile today?” It gets clients looking for the positive things in their life, she said.
With hopes of entering the UM School of Social Work after graduation, Kailey said she looks forward to continuing her relationship with YMOW, and those we serve, well beyond the current semester.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time,” Kailey said of the hours she spends portioning pet food, making phone calls and delivering meals. But she never doubts the impact that time has on the lives of those served by YMOW.