We want to give a ‘shout out’ to one of our lovely volunteers, Karen Hooper, who has been volunteering with Podio Preston for over a year now. We are amazed by her positivity, especially when we consider her background story – which Karen is happy for us to publish below.
Karen has always had health problems – her knees started dislocating at the age of 7 following a fall. She has had quite a few operations in her lifetime; the 1st was at the age of 11. She was ‘declared’ by medical professionals as disabled at the age of 16 however, she worked for 15 years before retiring on medical grounds. In addition to her physical health challenges, her marriage ended in 2011 when her husband left, shortly before their 25th wedding anniversary. Not surprisingly given these events, she has experienced depression on and off for several years.
In recent years though, Karen has transformed her life. As a result of personal development courses and volunteering for her friend’s business, she started looking to the future and has become much more positive. Her new-found confidence and overall proactive approach to life led to her being ‘volunteered’ for a position with Podio Magazine by her friend who had also recently joined our community group.
Despite initially feeling outside her comfort zone, Karen has met new people, learned new skills and become an incredibly valuable and important member of our team here at Podio HQ. She is often the first point of contact for people who approach our organisation. Her role within the magazine is varied: She’s responsible for publishing our positive quotes on the Facebook page, she refers people who are enquiring about services via email and via the mobile phone and she provides general support directly to other Podio volunteers. She’s also the go-to person who connects the team in Preston with Andy in Thailand.
Karen is very much a people-person and a ‘mother figure’ to us all. She always makes new people feel at home such as the Preston’s College students who recently joined us for workplace experience. She’s also the one who chases the rest of us up when we need to be chased up about things!
Karen is keen to encourage others to value themselves and their abilities and to have that self-belief to be able to develop themselves. After all, Karen is doing things now that a few years ago she never believed would be possible.
Karen, we are so pleased to have you in our lives and onboard the Podio team!
Three cheers for Karen!