Katherine began working at ABC Radio Networks in October 2001 and was immediately drawn to the Company-wide Disney VoluntEAR program. She started attending meetings and events to get a sense of where her skills could be put to best use. She soon realized that she wanted to focus her attention on children and learning. Katherine says: “It’s so important to start children with an early education and to inspire and foster their imagination – I couldn’t imagine a life without our hopes and dreams.”
The Disney Reading Together Program – Uptown became the project for her. She has been the catalyst behind the effort to bring this reading program to Uptown Disney and ABC employees. In this program, employees read and deliver books to pre-school age children before work, during lunch and after work at the Bloomingdale Family Center. This program allows more children the opportunity to jumpstart their education and helps level the playing field for poor children in New York City. Katherine coordinates the VoluntEARS and works directly with the directors of the Bloomingdale Family Program and Jumpstart, an organization that gives pre-school children in underserved neighborhoods individualized attention from an AmeriCorps college student. These pre-school children are given the chance to get a head start at entering school with all the necessary skills to succeed in life.
After only the first week of reading to the pre-school children in the program, the impact was vividly evident. “The children’s faces lit up when we entered the room and I immediately knew this is where I could make the most difference. When I see the smiles on the children’s faces that we serve, it makes me feel good to know that I have made a difference in their lives.” Katherine has been the project leader and driving force for this program since its inception which currently services over 200 students at the Bloomingdale Family Center.
Katherine says: “The Disney VoluntEAR program has opened the gates for me and I hope to continue my career of service to the community to make a lasting difference.” She is one of the most gifted, kind and warm human beings you will ever meet. She is Katherine Lee — the Disney VoluntEAR of the Year from the ABC Radio Network Group.