Story & photo by Leslie Huffman.
Cary, NC – If there has ever been a person that exemplifies hometown spirit, it is Kay Struffolino. Originally from Northern Pennsylvania, Kay and her family moved to Cary in 1972. The population of Cary then was around 9,000 people.
Kay was always a volunteer. Up in Pennsylvania when her children were young, she was a girl scout and cub scout leader. And when her daughter joined a track team, she was trained to be a coach for the team. After moving to Cary, Kay continued with her daughter’s passion for running and started the girl’s track team at East Cary Middle School and Cary High School.
But if you ask Kay what her passion is, she will tell you “classical music”. She began volunteering with the North Carolina Symphony and was then offered a job working in the office and then as a production coordinator. The members of the symphony lovingly refer to her as “Mom to the orchestra”.
“People ask me all the time how they can get involved”, says Kay. “I always tell them to look for what interests them and then ask neighbors what they are involved in. There are plenty of committees or groups that would love another volunteer.”
Kay adds,”My grandchildren ask me when I plan to just take it easy, but I really enjoy getting involved and want to make the most of my time.”
Over the years she gave more of her time to many music programs. Kay has volunteered long hours for the Cary Concert Singers, the NC Symphony’s Summerfest at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, and has been a singer, a key volunteer, and manager for the Cary Community Choir for 38 years.
Presently, after “retiring” in 2002, Kay’s gives her time as the volunteer coordinator for Booth Amphitheatre and is in charge of guest services there. Kay is also on the Parks & Recreation Cultural Resource Advisory Board, Liaison to the Cary Senior Center, on the Festivals Committee and is Vice President of the executive board for the Triangle Youth Harmonic. She also volunteered at the first ever Cary Scavenger Hunt this year.
Woman For All Seasons
If you aren’t completely exhausted thinking about all the wonderful work Kay does, there is more! Every winter Kay helps with the annual Tree Lighting at Cary Town Hall and in the spring works on the garden committee at the Paige-Walker building.
This Sums It Up
“In all the places I’ve lived, I have never seen a town government that involves the community and encourages feedback from it’s citizens more than Cary. There are so many commissions, boards, and committees for folks to join. Being involved helps me to feel like a true member of my community.”
Everywhere you go in Cary, someone knows Kay. She is well respected by her peers. Kay has also been honored as the Town of Cary Cultural Arts Volunteer of the Year (2006), the Herb Young Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Volunteer of the Year (2001) and the Rayburn “Rip” Jackson North Carolina Citizen of the Year (2008).
Be Like Kay
Here are just a few Town of Cary resources where you can get involved:
- Special Committees
- Boards & Commissions
- Citizen Volunteer Opportunities
- Block Leader Program
- Festivals and Town events
- Community Facilities (centers, parks, etc.)