Memory Hub Team Spotlight: Kathy Bainbridge, Front Desk Volunteer

June 02, 2023

Memory Hub Spotlight

I think of volunteering as a donation. But not a donation of gobs of money, but rather of time. I appreciate being able to help an agency do what needs to be done.

Kathy Bainbridge, Memory Hub front desk volunteer

Kathy Bainbridge is one of the five active front desk volunteers at the Memory Hub. These volunteers are the first contact that visitors have upon entering the community center. Each of them brings a commitment to the Memory Hub mission, a compassionate and helpful spirit, and respect and kindness for folks living with memory loss and their caregivers.

Last month, Kathy Bainbridge celebrated her twin childrens' 57th birthdays. These two were the "biggest suprise" of her life, after going into the hospital in 1966 to give birth to one baby and leaving with two. But being a mother (of 3) is only one part of her identity. First and foremost, Kathy's life passion is volunteering. In fact, she made a career in helping agencies to manage their volunteers and has a long history of volunteering her own time.

When Kathy's children were old enough for her to work outside the home, she enrolled in a community college certificate course that had grabbed her eye—a course in volunteer administration—and started a part-time job. Kathy worked at the (former) Seattle King County Council on Alcoholism, where she served as staff support for the board of directors, organized speaker bureaus, and created the newsletter. She went on to be a volunteer coordinator for a home health organization serving older adults and people living with disabilities. Three years later, in 1980, she started her first full-time job at the Seattle Public Library as the volunteer program manager, at time when the Library was just starting up a volunteer program.

"I appreciate being able to help an agency do what needs to be done," she says.

Over her life, Kathy has volunteered her own time at Children's Hospital, the Museum of Flight, KCGS TV Station as a tour guide, and United Way of King County. Her favorite volunteer experience, at the Museum of Flight, brought her close to aviation, one of her interest areas.

Kathy loves volunteering because it brings meaning to her life. "I love meeting people and I always learn something new in every volunteering experience," she says. "Now, I'm learning about dementia. It's a privilege to be a volunteer at the Memory Hub." Kathy especially enjoys meeting Memory Hub staff and program participants and other members of the public who visit our dementia-friendly community center.

"I think of volunteering as a donation," she says. "But not a donation of gobs of money, but rather of time. Giving my time to help an agency do its job is important to me."

In her free time, Kathy takes fitness classes in the senior community home where she lives. She enjoys movies, reading, and listening to jazz music. As a front desk volunteer at the Memory Hub, she is able to add 'supporting dementia-friendly communities' to her long list of volunteering experiences. • Genevieve Wanucha