Point of View

June 3, 2010, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Volunteerism

On May 26, the Adrienne Arsht Center held its inaugural CIRCLE 500 VOLUNTEER AWARDS DINNER in honor of  those amazing individuals who have contributed between 500 to 2,000 hours of volunteer service to the Center.

As ushers, ticket-takers, and tour guides in the theaters and as support at the Center’s free outdoor festivals, AileyCamp, marketing events, school performances and in our administrative offices, the Center’s volunteers work alongside staff—sometimes even taking the lead on projects—ensuring that the Adrienne Arsht Center stays true to its mission. Through the efforts and commitment of its volunteers, the Adrienne Arsht Center is able to welcome patrons, students, teachers , special guests and other visitors  in the tens of thousands every week. 

“While there are many hundreds of volunteers to recognize for this monumental support, it is the Circle 500 Volunteers who serve by example, who serve as our leaders and mentors, and who are among our greatest contributors. Jointly, Circle 500 volunteers have served more than 34,000 hours since 2005,” says Volunteer Services Manager Evelyn Gigiras Sullivan.

At the awards dinner, Circle 500 volunteers were also recognized for their tenure at the Adrienne Arsht Center.  Since the last volunteer awards breakfast on April 19, 2009, eight more volunteers reached the 500-hour milestone, and one volunteer was recognized for reaching the 1,000-hour milestone.  Honorees were awarded ceremonial pins by their family members and friends.

Additionally, the first recipients of the ADRIENNE ARSHT VOLUNTEER SHOOTING STAR AWARD in 2010 have each contributed over 2,000-hours of volunteer service.  Matilde Montejo accomplished this amazing milestone in just two years of volunteer work, while Eugene Spencer was able to accumulate 200 hours in just two short months while volunteering at the school performances of ROCK ODYSSEY in April, which boosted him just over the 2,000-hour mark as well.

Shooting Star Awardees, Eugene Spencer and Matilde Montejo with Volunteer Services Manager, Evelyn Gigiras

As the Adrienne Arsht Center finalizes planning to commemorate its upcoming 5th Anniversary in the 2010-2011 season, the volunteer services department is creating some “5ths” to celebrate as well.  By April 2011, there will be five categories to recognize volunteer contributions. “Adrienne Arsht Center volunteers honor us every day with their support and volunteer work, it brings us great joy to celebrate and honor them as well.”

Adrienne Arsht Center Volunteer Community Embraces Call to Service
October 16, 2009, 2:11 am
Filed under: Volunteerism

In response to President Barack Obama’s United We Serve national volunteer initiative, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, in partnership with V Initiative and the Office of Miami-Dade County Mayor, the Honorable Carlos Alvarez, Center On Nonprofit Effectiveness (C-One), and HandsOnMiami, opened its doors to the community for a free volunteer festival on Friday, September 11, 2009.


President and CEO, M. John Richard; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

President and CEO, M. John Richard; Photo by Mitchell Zachs


The Center’s first ever United We Serve Volunteer Miami Day served as both a day of remembrance and a national day of service. It featured free seminars covering topics in energy conservation, personal and career advancement, and community involvement; live musical performances; a preview of the Arsht Center’s 2009-2010 season, and lectures from representatives from some of Miami’s leading non-profit organizations and business who spoke on topics ranging from how “going green” can impact individuals’ lifestyles and businesses, to how people can market their skills in a tough economy.

The Adrienne Arsht Center embraced the call to service motivated by President Obama, and forged alliances with twenty-two organizations, each with a mission to serve Miami’s populace with the most need. With just under 300 attendees, volunteers and volunteer leaders from AARP, Alliance for the Aging, American Red Cross, Zoological Society, Habitat for Humanity, Miami Council for International Visitors, Miami River Commission, Miami Veterans Center and Switchboard Miami, among many other participating agencies, each had an opportunity to speak regarding their operations, how they serve the community and how volunteers are an extension of the fine work that they do.


Volunteers (L-R) Francisco Lopez, Suyen Morales, Irving Kreisberg and Jorge L. Jaehnig; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

Volunteers (L-R) Francisco Lopez, Suyen Morales, Irving Kreisberg and Jorge L. Jaehnig; Photo by Mitchell Zachs

From the agencies who have reported the number of prospective volunteers who expressed an interest in their agency and followed through, the recruitment efforts yielded between ten and forty new volunteers for these individual agencies.

Two of the most exciting aspects Miami’s national day of service offered were a service project organized by the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office. The project involves 20 students from Doral Academy Charter Middle and High Schools, Mater Academy Charter Middle and High Schools, and Mater Academy East Charter Middle and High Schools, who kicked off a campaign to collect care items to send to US troops abroad. The students also included motivational thank-you letters for soldiers which were prepared by students from Mater Academy of International Studies.

To keep the momentum going and leveraging resources, a majority of these participating agencies and new partners, including Miami International Airport, Miami Art Museum and WLRN, have already committed to participate in the 2010 United We Serve Volunteer Miami Day. In addition, these new partners are eager to create and support a consortium of volunteer managers and directors through its own D.O.V.I.A. (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) Chapter in Miami. Through the D.O.V.I.A. Miami Chapter, we will have a stronger network of volunteer leaders with the knowledge and expertise they need to truly manage their volunteers.

“It really impresses me to see the number of new volunteers who are referred by the Center’s active volunteer members or who inquire about volunteer opportunities after attending a performance or event and speaking with one of our volunteers” says Volunteer Services Manager Evelyn Gigiras.

“The Arsht Center’s volunteer corps has grown tremendously since its inaugural season in 2006, with 500 active volunteers as it opens its fourth season, and an on-going recruitment campaign that reaches out to the entire community.”

The Center offers volunteer opportunities ranging from ushers, tour guides, event volunteers, researchers, data entry, festival volunteers, as well as professionals who offer their services of photography, translations and graphic design, all on a volunteer basis.

New volunteers interested in joining the Arsht Center’s army of good-doers begin with an orientation where volunteer opportunities and wonderful benefits are outlined. The opportunities are discussed in detail so that expectations are defined for the volunteer at the on-set.

“We have a commitment to creating an open dialogue; one where expectations are clearly defined, both from the volunteer’s perspective as well as the Center’s,” said Gigiras. Training, guidance and support are key to fortifying these new relationships. Adrienne Arsht Center staff works very closely with all of its volunteers on projects and at performances. “We clearly have a responsibility to support the volunteer’s work, as much as they support ours. It’s a cohesive relationship, as most good partnerships need to be.”

Please contact volunteers@arshtcenter.org for specific orientation dates.

Check out the Behind the Scenes of this extraordinary September 11th event.

United We Serve
September 2, 2009, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Volunteerism

In honor of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, the Corporation for National and Community Service is supporting service activities in all fifty states to reignite the spirit of unity and service that inspired Americans in the days after the September 11, 2001 tragedy.

This year we commemorate the first September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. The tragic events of September 11, 2001 inspired Americans to come together in a remarkable spirit of unity and compassion. It was a stark reminder that our fate as individuals is inherently tied to the fate of our nation. Eight years later, September 11 continues to evoke strong emotion and is an homage to sacrifice and a call to action.

Adrienne Arsht Center Volunteers out in the community

Adrienne Arsht Center Volunteers out in the community

In his United We Serve address to the nation President Barack Obama said, “America’s new foundation will be built one community at a time.” With that same spirit, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s inaugural United We Serve Volunteer Miami Day will bring together various organizations from around the community, including Hands On Miami, American Red Cross, Alliance for the Aging and many others, to educate and provide volunteer opportunities for participants.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts will promote this powerful call to action through United We Serve Volunteer Miami Day.  Volunteer Miami Day is a comprehensive volunteer event featuring free seminars covering topics in energy conservation, arts education programs, personal and career advancement, and community involvement; live musical performances; a preview of the Arsht Center’s 2009-2010 season and the exclusive opportunity to become an engaged volunteer in our community.

“Our 600 volunteers play an integral role at the Adrienne Arsht Center,” said M. John Richard, President and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “We understand the value added to our organization through volunteerism. We encourage our professional staff to do the same for other non-profit organizations. We are proud to host the United We Serve Volunteer Fair.”

Entertainment offerings will include a live outdoor concert by the Spam Allstars (5:30 p.m.), performances by the New World School Concert Choir (12:00 p.m.) and Bahamas Junkanoo Miami Revue (12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.), and an appearance by Florida Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin. Free tours of the Adrienne Arsht Center will be conducted in English and Spanish at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

In April, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which, for the first time, officially recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, on September 11, the President, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the 9/11 families will ask all Americans to remember that Tuesday eight years ago and recommit to service in their communities throughout the year.

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