Sometimes, a simple question is all it takes to launch a caring heart on a bigger mission. For over a decade, Claudia Millington has grown the Woodbury Citizens’ Academy (WCA) as a must-do program for future public servants and volunteers. Now entering its 14th year, the WCA boasts alumni with titles including mayor, state senator and nonprofit board member among many passionate volunteers.
A 35-year veteran of the banking industry, Millington was deeply engaged with the financial aspects of the community. But the busy buzz of corporate life was also isolating. “I lived here for 20 years before I knew what was going on; my kids were in school here, but I didn’t know the community,” she says.
In 2010, a retiring colleague at the bank asked Millington if she could take over her volunteering roles. With a smile, Millington recalls that it felt a bit like a volun-telling. She says, “She said, ‘I’m retiring, and I need you to take over.’” Her colleague’s trust proved well-founded as Millington went on to embrace leadership roles with various nonprofits while nurturing the WCA. The journey also energized her connection to the community. “That’s the nicest thing about being involved; you can see people totally,” she says.
Kevin Gilboe is a volunteer with the Woodbury Community Foundation. Find more at woodburyfoundation.org.