For 33 years, Roxanne Yeoman, 68, dedicated her life to education. Born in 1952 in Springfield, Ohio, Roxanne came to Louisville in 1974 to teach high school at Jefferson County Public Schools. After teaching for 10 years she moved to the JCPS Central Office where she worked until her retirement in 2007. Now Roxanne spends her time volunteering at Olmsted Parks Conservancy where she’s a park steward.
Why did you choose to volunteer with Olmsted Parks?
I love the parks and love being in them. I live in the Highlands and I enjoy using the parks. In fact, Cherokee Park was one of the first places I visited when I moved to Louisville. I want to do my part to make sure the parks are around for future generations to enjoy. We do important work providing the community with well-maintained parks that people can go to and enjoy hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
What do you do as a volunteer?
As a park steward, we receive special training on how to identify plants and determine which are invasive and need to be removed. We do a lot of trimming and weeding and planting new trees and bushes. We keep the bike paths and walking trails clear and keep the parks healthy.
What is the biggest project you’ve worked on?
This past year we planted 100 trees throughout the parks. It was a joint project with Metro Parks. They dug the holes and we planted the trees and mulched them. My team worked in Cherokee and Seneca parks. Once the trees were planted, we continued to go back and care for them to make sure they survived.
How has volunteering enhanced your life?
I’ve met a whole new circle of friends — my park friends. We’re all about the same age and most of us are retired. We enjoy volunteering and doing things together outside our volunteer work. Last year one of my park friends helped me do some planting at my house.
What advice would you give seniors considering volunteering?
Find something you like and have a passion for. That’s the key. That’s why I volunteer for the groups I do. Just stick your toe in the water and try something. It might not be what you thought it was going to be, and the first thing you try may not work out. Don’t let that stop you and don’t feel bad about trying something else. Just keep trying until you find something that fits.
BY KYM VOORHEES RAQUE