LAKELAND, Fla. — A Polk County native is this year’s recipient for United Way’s George Jenkins Volunteer of the Year award.
What You Need To Know
- Kim Elmhorst has decades of experience in grass root volunteer work throughout Florida
- She volunteered with The United Way for over 20 years
- More Polk County headlines
Kim Elmhorst of Greater Junior League of Lakeland has decades of experience in grass root volunteer work throughout Florida but admits she was still shocked to receive such an award.
“It’s honestly amazing, but in Chinese culture we were always raised to stay out of the limelight, so this is different,” said Elmhorst. “I follow people who have won the award like Carole Barnett, Barney Barnett — Mayor Bill Mutz received the award last year so, it’s amazing that they consider me amongst people like that.”
Elmhorst graduated from Southern Florida where she says she found her passion in volunteer work.
“I kind of started realizing that I could be a leader and had passion with volunteering when I was a student,” she said. “I left college and stayed at home to raise my kids but after 21 years, I wanted something for myself.”
The Lakeland native says she was determined to be more than a stay-at-home mom. Over the years, Elmhorst served on the board of directors for The United Way of Central Florida, been a Reading Pal volunteer and served on the boards for Lakeland Volunteer in Medicine.
“She’s a beautiful person and a wonderful mother,” said Elmhorst’s parents, John and Sarah Yang. “She’s a good tennis player too!”
Elmhorst volunteered with The United Way for over 20 years. Her advocacy work has touched dozens of non-profits throughout Florida.