June 2016 MVP: Kim Popkes
A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) will recognize the work and get to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs will receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
Is there a volunteer you’d like to nominate to be MVP? E-mail us (email@example.com) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!
MVP is a volunteer-driven project with articles by Brian Kozak and pictures by Jim Harvey.
June 2016 MVP: Kim Popkes
Retired news anchorman Tom Brokaw once said: “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Chances are Tom’s never met Winnipeg Humane Society volunteer Kim Popkes, but if he did, he would certainly find this quotation appropriate.
Kim is a familiar face to mostly anyone who’s come to The WHS looking for a cat. She just celebrated 20 years of volunteering and in that time has served over 4,300 hours (that works out to just under half a year of 24-hour days!).
“The cat condo assistant job, which has had many names over the years, has been my main job pretty well since I started,” Kim said. “I’ve done other things. I do cat assessing now. I work at lots of special events.”
Raised on a cattle farm in Arden, M.B., Kim said she’s liked both cats and dogs from a young age. “I like dogs but I have never had a pet dog of my own. We had farm dogs growing up,” she said. “So cats have always been my thing.”
Kim decided to start volunteering after adopting her first cat from The WHS. “I started getting the newsletter and seeing all the different opportunities,” she said. “It made me think I’d like to try that.”
Initially Kim wanted to volunteer taking animals out to senior homes for visits, but there weren’t any openings for that position when she started, so she began working with the cats.
Both of her volunteer jobs bring their own rewards, Kim admitted. Assessing cats “is totally concentrating on the cat,” she explained. “I find it interesting because I like to see the cats when they get here and how they react to you.”
But as a condo assistant she gets to deal with people and cats, she pointed out. “I like trying to match people up with cats, maybe highlighting ones they otherwise might not look at,” she said. “When you see a cat go home with someone you’re happy because they have a good life ahead of them now.”
There’s another side benefit about being a cat condo assistant. Kim admitted, a little sheepishly. “I tell people if you talked about cats non-stop for four hours in a normal situation people would think you’re a crazy cat lady,” she laughed. “But you come here and people come in and they want to talk about their cat at home or the cats that are here.”
Kim has had a range of duties in her 20 years at The WHS, and she brings to each job an enthusiasm and good nature that has the respect of her volunteer peers and staff alike. “Kim’s kind and enthusiastic nature is contagious!” said Rachel Roy of Adoptions. “Clients often approach me and mention what a great help Kim was when selecting their forever friend.”
Amy Moyer of Education agrees: “Kim is so knowledgeable when it comes to the cats up in adoption and I never hesitate to ask her which cats might like to come to birthday parties. She always has a smile on her face and always, without a doubt brightens my day.”
Thank you for making a difference, Kim!