Volunteer Kathy Mera: A Catalog of Good Works
For 24 years Kathy Mera served as the librarian at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. During that time she connected the school community with resources and helped them find answers to their questions. This approach informs her volunteer work to this day.
“It’s not that you know all the information or have all the answers, it’s that you know where to go to find them,” clarifies Kathy, “Sharing information and resources helps everyone be more efficient and effective.” With this as her guiding philosophy, Kathy is what Malcolm Gladwell calls a connector, a person “with a special gift for bringing the world together.” And over the years she has connected people and resources and channeled them where they need to go to serve those in need.
Almost three years ago, Kathy downsized from her family home of 32 years in Lakeville, CT and moved into a Noble cottage. “It’s been a wonderful move for me. I tell my children it’s the best move I’ve ever made. People truly care. We watch out for each other and reach out and help if needed.”
With fellow cottager Nina Mathus, Kathy co-founded a welcome committee for new cottage residents. This includes a monthly cottage gathering that’s been running for almost two years. She is a member of Noble Horizons Auxiliary Board, raising money to enhance the life of Noble residents. This past year she coordinated all the school and outside organization visits to the joyous annual Festival of Trees.
Kathy is a natural fit to take over the running of the Noble Horizons Library from founder Joan McCue. This healthy collection of large print books and videos enhances resident life. “I see myself becoming more and more involved in life at Noble because it’s where I live and there are so many ways to be involved.”
She is a board member of Lakeville’s Corner Food Pantry and also directs the securing of personal care items for their clients, the number of whom is growing daily. Families in need come from the local area, as well as neighboring New York. “The pantry serves the needs of the most vulnerable in our community and helps people make it through each week, especially during this time of COVID-19.”
Since 1976 she’s been a member of Salisbury Congregational Church. Currently, she is a deacon but in the past, she has served on multiple church committees. As deacon, Kathy assists and sometimes leads weekly worship at St. Luke’s Chapel at Noble Horizons. “It’s wonderful to see residents participate. Often, their family members are there too and they are grateful that their loved one has access to such a special service, particularly the hymns.”
An annual tradition of the Congregational Church is holiday caroling at Noble Horizons. In years past, Kathy and her family rode the big yellow school bus with other members of the congregation, sporting Santa hats and elf ears, ringing bells, and belting out holiday favorites in locations around the Noble campus. Today, her children are grown and living elsewhere, but Kathy still looks fetching in her oversized ears as she boards the bus to spread good cheer. “It was a wonderful opportunity for my own kids and the children of the congregation to make connections with Noble residents during the holidays.”
Kathy was a trustee of the Salisbury Association and ran their community events for nearly eight years. Today she is a trustee emeritus for the organization. As a trustee for Habitat for Humanity, she served 10 years and scheduled volunteers on the building sites.
“Volunteering allows me to meet interesting people and see different sides of the same story. I see my role as connecting people--I hear about something happening in one place and share that information somewhere else where it can do some good,” Kathy explains.
“For me, it’s important to connect the pieces, not reinvent the wheel. It’s this sharing between organizations and the number of volunteers filling needs in the community that make this area so special.”