Coming Together

Kayette members discuss plans at a meeting Sept. 17 in NAU's Dubois Center.

They make a difference, they impact people and most importantly they serve Northern Arizona University and the Flagstaff community. The NAU Kayettes have been around for more than four decades and their goal is to give back to the community and to have fun doing it.  

There are approximately 22 women in the organization and each of them is joyful and committed to original traditions and service projects. Junior Philosophy, Politics and Law major Celeste Tabares is the Kayette president. She was born and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona and has been a part of Kayettes for three years.

“I joined Kayettes to be a part of a group that represents dignity, unity and respect,” said Tabares.  “I cannot begin to explain how good it feels to be able to give back to the community that has given me so much and allowed me to be where I am today,”

The women behind Kayettes are very dedicated and loyal to the work they do. As a local organization, their mission is to make a positive impact on surrounding communities both on and off campus. The Flagstaff community has made a big difference in their lives and they are very thankful for that.

The Kayettes believe volunteering is a two-way street: it can benefit you as much as the cause you choose to help. Many of the Kayettes have gained first-hand knowledge and experience from helping different organizations like the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Flagstaff Family Food Center, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics. Dedicating their time as volunteers has helped them make new friends, expand their network and boost their social skills.

Sophomore Elementary Education major Kendra Kime joined the organization a year ago. Since then, Kime has become the corresponding secretary for Kayettes. She is proud to be part of a group of women who care and value the Flagstaff community.

“I will always cherish the friendships I’ve made through [Kayettes].” said Kime.  “I am grateful to have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day and impact their life in a way I never thought I could.”

The Kayette members help out at a number of events, like Relay for Life, Holiday Dinner and Bergs Barbeque. These are some of the events they truly appreciate because they have gained valuable life experience from them.

For the annual Holiday Dinner at Joe C. Montoya Community and Senior Center, everyone collects donations through a service event they call Trick or Treating for cans to make a big Thanksgiving dinner for the elderly. On Halloween they go around a neighborhood collecting canned goods. Before the event takes place, the women wake up really early to cook the turkeys and prepare the mashed potatoes and stuffing. Once the food is ready they set up the dining area and they begin to serve seniors. The Kayettes go to Bergs Barbeque at Killip Elementary every Sunday and prepare meals for the homeless. Kime says she has a lot of fun participating in these events because she sees familiar faces every time she helps out.

“The smile I see on people makes it all worth it and rewarding,” said Kime.   

Senior Business Management major Heather Carneal is from Phoenix, Arizona and she’s Kayettes Vice President. Carneal has been a Kayette since her sophomore year and she will be graduating this May.

“This organization has changed me in so many ways,” said Carneal.  “I have become a better community member and friend because of what I have learned from my fellow Kayettes,”

After graduating, Carneal says she will take her knowledge and experience gained from Kayettes to the next community she lives in.    

This organization is full of women who are very passionate about volunteer work. They care about each other and the people around them. They celebrate their success and encourage each other to be better. They are charismatic, supportive, knowledgeable and kindhearted women. 

Volunteering has connected the Kayette women to people who have made a big difference in their lives. The community thanks them for all they do but they are thankful too. They truly value the opportunity to help different organizations because they learn and grow from those opportunities.

What’s really important is that this group of women come together from different backgrounds and with different interests and bond through their mutual love of helping others. For Tabares being a part of this organization has been life changing. “Community and campus service is the foundation of this organization,” she says. “And this group will continue to make a difference in the community because it’s what they love to do.” 

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