by Sue Murray, Volunteer Spotlight Writer
A pinch of time, a spoonful of generosity and gallons of personality, Karen Brandhorst volunteers to keep us healthy. Karen joined Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) Restaurant Ambassador Committee more than five years ago. Originally from the East Coast, Karen and her husband Jack moved to the Beach Cities twenty years ago. After her retirement, Karen wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her time. She was involved with various volunteer groups, including Ten Thousand Villages, but then noticed BCHD and the Blue Zones Project®.
She enjoyed cooking and had experience teaching cooking classes at a school in Palos Verdes, making Karen ideally suited to the cause. Her supervisor Lauren Nakano, Director of Blue Zones Project, explains that “it is Karen’s personality that makes her such a wonderful asset to BCHD and everyone she meets. It has been such a privilege to meet Karen and get to know her. Her open, friendly, generous and positive character results in her being so welcoming to new people, always making them feel at ease; she’s a great people connector!!”
Karen’s role involves helping the team plan a monthly Social Hour at a different Blue Zones Project ApprovedTMRestaurant and identifying prospective restaurants for the program. She meets with the managers, coordinates events and works with BCHD to promote and attract people to Social Hour. In fact, it is because Karen makes people feel so welcomed, that many become volunteers.
“I love the group of people I work with at BCHD,” said Karen. “I think BCHD is a wonderful organization to volunteer for, they have always provided a first-class volunteer experience.” And it’s clear everyone feels the same about Karen, to the extent that at one Social Hour on Valentine’s Day, Karen and her husband Jack were rightly crowned Social Hour King and Queen.