08:36 AM

UHCL alum honored for volunteering: 'Helping people is close to my heart'

Kala HackerInterfaith Caring Ministries and the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce both nominated University of Houston-Clear Lake double-alumna Kala Hacker for Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her contributions to the community. ICM presented her with the actual Volunteer of the Year award at an event held last month.

Hacker, who is receiving her Master of Arts in Sociology from UH-Clear Lake on May 14, said she had completed 500 hours of volunteering as part of her capstone project. "I chose to work in a nonprofit organization," she said. "I quickly finished my 500 hours, and stayed to keep volunteering at ICM."

She said she completes client interviews there, evaluating clients requesting assistance with rent, food or utilities and ensuring they are qualified to receive the support. "Just being nominated is an honor," she said. "Someone nominates you and I was so surprised someone did that for me."

Hacker said all her sociology coursework helped her gain a better understanding of people's problems and the reasons why they need financial assistance. "The pandemic was just one of many factors that has played into why people are having a crisis right now," she said. "My courses helped me understand the bigger picture, and become more understanding and sympathetic. Helping people is close to my heart."

Hacker was also named Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the College of Human Sciences and Humanities in 2019, when she received her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences.