KINGSPORT, Tennessee (WJHL) — For 35 years, our Community Hero has devoted her time and energy to the children of the greater Kingsport area. She has implemented programs that help hundreds of children every year.
“This is something I am very passionate about, and I will miss it,” says Rhonda Helton.
Helton loves her job at the Kingsport YMCA. She got her start decades ago straight from college after talking to a friend.
“She asked me if I was interested in working for the Y,” recalls Helton. “And so I actually started working in our after-school programs.”
After-school programs grew, and so did her responsibilities. Now, as Vice President of Childcare Services at Greater Kingsport’s YMCA, she provides resources and opportunities for children to learn and grow.
“I oversee a program with 800 children, so I work with the staff who work with the children,” she explains. “I work with the employees who can really make a difference [in] the lives of the children.”
Helton says some employees have been inspired to dedicate their lives to children.
“Just by working here and helping them and [guiding] them, then they could decide that they chose their path in life and started working with children. Just seeing the difference it makes in the lives of our employees, not just the children, who they can give back to their own communities,” she explains.
After decades of service, Helton retires. But she says she won’t be able to stay away. She hopes to come back and volunteer for the Y, and continue to be a champion for kids.
“The Y will always be a part of my life somehow,” she says.