Kay Worden was a champion of Child & Family since the 1980s and up until her passing in early 2015. Kay supported Child & Family with her time served on the board of directors, installations of art, financial contributions, and most importantly, her goodwill toward the young girls in our group homes.
Reflecting upon her time on the board, she said, what she loved most was the various arguments about decisions to be made “I always thought that was fun because it got us talking about the real issues.” Kay discovered firsthand the struggles that young girls faced when visiting a group home. “These kids were in trouble – either rejected by their family or deliberately kicked out.” As a result, she visited weekly teaching them how to play with clay or paint and generally to just have fun doing different things. She recalled telling them about her experience flying in her hot air balloon. “One day I landed that device on their backyard and took each girl up for a ride. They were thrilled and scared at the same time!”
Worden’s most familiar outdoor bronze sculptures were dedicated to Child & Family as open reminders of the importance behind service to those in need. “Art is meant to inspire,” she said. “Anything I could do to make someone smile as they walked along may help in their lives.” Located at Easton’s Beach since 1997, Each Other depicts an older man reaching out to receive an embrace from a young girl. Across town in Brick Market Place stands the Hurdy Gurdy Man a gift in 1983 which actually serves to collect donations as well as to offer inspiration. Kay also donated The Waiter to the annual Taste of Newport live auction. She said she liked how his hips go one way while balancing the tray, much like our unbalanced lives that she finds humor in. “Everyday activities are subjects to make fun about – not make fun of.”
“I’ve had a lucky life!” Worden declared as she recalled her time with the girls in the group homes. “Kids in these situations at the very least were neglected and at worst mistreated.” By comparison she said that through the years her parents weren’t the least bit interested in her art, it didn’t matter because she was proud of her work and so were her kids. She was proud that her five children live full rich lives around the world and she was able to keep in touch with them daily. For children who may not feel support from their families she offered this advice, “Care about yourself. Be real about it and if you don’t like what you are doing just stop and do something different until you do care. I can’t imagine doing something I didn’t care about.”
Child & Family lost a true friend and advocate. Little did we know that her generous spirit would have a lasting impact. Thank you Kay.