POLLOCK PINES — Kevin Monsma and his family have spent countless hours volunteering in Pollock Pines. The big time committment earned the Monsma family the Community Economic Development Association of Pollock Pines’ Best Community Service award.
Jeanne Harper, of CEDAPP, said this was the first time a family has received the community service award. Monsma is Pollock Pines School District’s superintendent. He took over the job in August 2010.
“The award was a total surprise,” said Monsma. “I was humbled. I like to stay in the wings and applaud for other people. I like to say let them shine. There’s always things that you can do in the community.”
Monsma grew up in Flagstaff, Ariz. He sees similarities in the landscape and the community.
“The mountains are like going home,” Monsma said. “Coming here was just fabulous. I tell the staff I go home every day with a big smile on my face. I could not have asked to come to a better place or nicer community. People have been wonderful, the staff has been wonderful. We absolutely love it. It’s been a fabulous move; no regrets.”
Prior to moving to Pollock Pines, the Monsma family lived in Shafter in Kern County. There he served as assistant superintendent of curriculum for the Richland School District. While living in that area, the family has donated a lot of its time to help people who were struggling.
“We found ways for our kids (five) to be involved,” said Monsma of his family’s time in Shafter. “There were opportunities for them to do things.”
The commitment to volunteering came with the move.
One of the first things the family did when they moved to Pollock Pines was bring cookies and water to all the teachers on all the campuses in the school district. The Monsma family did the same thing when they were in Shafter.
“We loved that tradition because it allows us to interact with the teachers and the staff,” Monsma said. “We hit the ground running.”
Debbie, Kevin’s wife, volunteers for a first grade classroom at Pinewood Elementary. Two of the family’s five children — John and Rebekah, students at El Dorado High School — joined the Teen Ambassador Program.
The other three children, Zachary, Nathan and Elizabeth, all in their 20s are working, in the U.S. Coast Guard and attending college respectively.
The family has worked with the Dogwood Garden Club of Pollock Pines, a non-profit organization established in 1961 that supports the Pollock Pines Library. They also helped with National Night Out.
The superintendent is also a member of the Pollock Pines Rotary Club.
“The kids have been involved in the community and around,” Monsma said. ”It’s really about the people. It’s looking and seeing how can we impact people’s lives in a positive way. I think overall as a family what we have is a real belief that one of our purposes is to serve others.
“As a family who is deeply committed Christians we always ask, ‘how can we serve? I learned this from my parents. My dad always said, ‘we cast shadows wherever we go.’ I think the legacy we as family want to leave is being there to help.That’s what we do.”
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.