Volunteer: Megan Kilgore

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If you don't like kids, don't volunteer to work at an after-school program. If you're not into the outdoors, don't sign up for Habitat for Humanity.

Instead, begin volunteering by thinking about the things you enjoy and finding ways you can help other people enjoy them, says Megan Kilgore.

She certainly did.

In addition to other volunteer commitments, Kilgore is a Special Olympics basketball coach and integral organizer for the expansion of the Pater Noster House, which provides transitional housing for people with AIDS who find themselves homeless.

Of course, her level of involvement goes beyond the average volunteer. When she realized the family of one of her Special Olympics players was living without gas heat in the winter, unable to pay their bill, Kilgore mobilized her connections and raised enough money by the end of the day to fill the rural home's outdoor tank.

Kilgore's friends are used to receiving her e-blast pleas for help, and they're among those who helped pay that gas bill. She said she's lucky that they're able to "take care of business so quickly."

And even though she's hardly home herself, she's got to pay the mortgage: Kilgore is an assistant auditor for the City of Columbus - where things have been pretty busy lately, to say the least. She hopes her community involvement can help her with a future career in public service.

Kilgore credits City Auditor Hugh Dorrian for preaching public service and her mom, a special education teacher, for being a living example of the concept.

So what's the secret? Kilgore stresses maintaining a manageable work-life balance - "You don't want to do a bad job. I'd rather say, 'No, maybe down the road.'" - and added that volunteering with diverse groups keeps her excited about them. So do the people she meets.

"I had some extra time, and I called up Pater Noster because I'd heard about it and wanted to know more," Kilgore said. "Phillip [Zimmerman], their executive director, picks up, and after I talked to him for a half an hour, I was in love with him and the organization. He's so inspiring, he's so enthusiastic."