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Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Kamie Mulroy

'Cooking with Kamie' is just one way this volunteer gives back to the community on behalf of education

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Rabobank N.A., a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

“Cooking with Kamie” is one of the new favorite after-school programs going on at Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria. That might be because eating granola is almost as fun as making granola. Great ingredients, wholesome goodness, sweet treats and culinary success happen often on Tuesday afternoons in the kitchen at Girls Inc. Delicious goodies are being turned out by the dozens. One recent project was “Pop-Tart Magic,” including the process of pie dough-rolling and strawberry filling, for a mouth-watering after-school treat.

“Cooking with Kamie” is the brainchild of Kamie Mulroy, mother of two sons, full-time employee of BEGA in Carpinteria, and one of those rare women (these days) with a college degree in Home Economics.

I recently caught up with Mulroy inside her lovely home in Carpinteria. She and her husband, Tom Mulroy Ph.D., a chief scientist for SAIC, were busy entertaining son Matthew, the 2008 Junior Carpinterian who just graduated cum laude from Harvard University. Their oldest son, Michael, graduated from Pomona College in 2010 and is now a biologist working in San Francisco.

“You really love volunteering, Kamie?” I asked her.

She smiled and replied, “Well, I don’t love it, but I think it’s important. I enjoy the rewards of it. I started volunteering when my boys were in preschool — over at Kinderkirk here in Carp.

“I wanted them to always have the best experience(s) they could have.”

“Would your boys be where they are today were it not for your volunteering in the classroom?” I asked her.

“Oh, I couldn’t begin to state that as a fact, but as a mom, yes, I believe I helped them a great deal,” she said. “I was involved in their learning from the day they entered school, until the day they graduated. Whether it was small efforts like baking cookies for the hockey team or using a stopwatch at a track meet, I stayed close enough to know what they needed to succeed. I didn’t intrude, but I wanted them to have a leg up.”

“Was it difficult, working full time and volunteering?” I asked.

“No, it wasn’t difficult because it was part of what I enjoyed doing, part of my job,” she said.

“Your job?”

“As a mom, being involved in my children’s education was part of my job,” she said.

“But what about the school?” I asked. “Isn’t that their job?”

“Of course, but they do so much — they keep working harder and harder with less and less,” she explained. “I tried to fill in the gaps whenever I had time or something of value to offer. Usually that’s just time. Time is difficult to find; it’s the greatest gift to give.”

I wondered if she enjoyed working with the girls at Girls Inc. of Carpinteria after raising two boys and she said, “I do, I enjoy my time with them. I like teaching them skills they can use for the rest of their lives. Simple as granola is to bake, once you make your own, you never have to buy cereal again. It’s fun, too, and it’s always nice walking into a room where you’re wanted.”

“The girls come to the kitchen because they want to be there?” I asked.

“Yes, I hope so anyway,” she said. “They’re wonderful. I love our time together; I just wish it could be longer.”

“Do you think you will always volunteer?” I wondered.

“Of course,” she exclaimed. “It’s part of who I am now.”

I asked if volunteering changed her life.

“No,” she replied, “I think having children changed my life. Volunteering is just an added bonus.”

—- Suzie Zimmerman was an AmeriCorps volunteer who served as a Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteer coordinator during the 2011-2012 school year, with a special focus in Carpinteria. Both AmeriCorps and Partners in Education are programs of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

If you are interested in volunteering for Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, please visit our website at http://www.sbceo.org/~partners/, and sign up as a volunteer online!  Or email Lucille Ramirez at [email protected]

                                                                  •        •        •

» Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Click here to sign up to volunteer for Partners in Education, or email Lucille Ramirez at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

— Suzie Zimmerman was an AmeriCorps volunteer who served as a Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteer coordinator during the 2011-2012 school year, with a special focus in Carpinteria. Both AmeriCorps and Partners in Education are programs of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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