Volunteer Voices: Kit-Sum Wong

As the new Manager of Volunteer Engagement, I knew it was going to be an incredible challenge to fill Taylor’s shoes. Her organization, creativity, and approachable personality make for a great Volunteer Manager. My hoped that our transition would be seamless for the volunteers who make it possible for Reiman Gardens to thrive. 

woman holding a vegetable from the gardenAs it turns out, organization, creativity, and personality help, but what really makes our volunteer program successful is the incredible individuals that show up time and again. In one short month, I’ve already met so many people who frequently answer the call.

Meet Kit-Sum Wong

One of these people is Kit-Sum Wong.

My first introduction to Kit-Sum was in her absence: Taylor explained some of the tasks that volunteers can do remotely. One of these much-needed jobs is to cut the stencils which will be used for Spirits in the Garden. More than 1000 stencils need to be cut before October!

“Kit-Sum is really good at this job,” Taylor explained. “She gets so many done really quickly!”

In only one month of working at Reiman Gardens, I’ve seen this to be true. Since the start of 2022, Kit-Sum has completed over 40 hours of at-home stenciling, in addition to many other volunteer opportunities on-site. I recently asked Kit-Sum to tell me about why she choses to do this remote work, in the hopes it would provide others with the opportunity to consider doing this fun task.

At-home vs. on-site volunteering

“I chose [the stencil project] because I can do it at home on my own schedule and at my own pace,” Kit-Sum told me. “I usually listen to music or drama when working on the stencil, so I am focused and yet feel peaceful at the same time.

woman climbing on a red rock cliff“Reiman Gardens has a huge collection of interesting stencil designs. I may have cut close to a hundred of them by now. It is fun and satisfying, especially after making a long carved cut smoothly or completing a complicated stencil.”

“I have tried out different volunteering activities at Reiman Gardens–it is hard for me to pick an all time favorite. In the summer and fall, I like the outdoor activities, such as planting and keeping the garden in good condition. In the winter and spring, I prefer the indoor activities like docenting and take home projects. Despite the cold weather, I had so much fun interacting with visitors of all ages while volunteering at the Spirits in the Gardens and Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show last year.”

This summer, Kit-Sum is traveling, doing pottery projects at the clay studio, and gardening with her husband at home. They also plan to visit one or more national parks right here in Iowa. And of course, she’ll be here (or at home!) volunteering!

Thank you, Kit-Sum, for your time and energy in service to Reiman Gardens!

Interested in cutting stencils for our jack-o-lantern designs at home?  Email Kim Home, Manger of Volunteer Engagement, at khope@iastate.edu for more information!