Point of View


MY POV: FOR DR. STANLEY JONAS, VOLUNTEERING IS A MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY AFFAIR
March 16, 2011, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, Volunteerism | Tags: , , , ,

My family volunteers at AAPAC. Yes, my family- wife Dollie, daughters Margie and Terry, granddaughter Libby, and myself. I tell everyone that we are the highest paid members of the staff. They laugh, because they know we are volunteers. But when I tell them how it has enriched our lives, they understand.

As volunteers, we serve and, like many loyal servants, we’ve become part of the Adrienne Arsht Center family. And what a family: students, retirees, professionals, housewives, husbands, and executives. From teenagers to great-grandparents, we’re united in a common bond to make our Center a special place.

We serve diversely. During performances, our patrons see trained ushers, welcoming guests, checking tickets and directing patrons with a smile. There are numerous additional volunteer opportunities. When program books have inserts, volunteers do that in our clubhouse, chatting, and enjoying a snack while inserting goodies about upcoming events.

Volunteers conduct tours of the Center, giving visitors a thorough experience of our beautiful venues. Volunteers work throughout the Center, phoning, answering calls, assisting staff, and preparing outreach packets. Inform Evelyn and Carolyn that you’re available, and you’ll soon be helping. We work on our time, at our pace, and love that we are a vital force.

When we arrive to volunteer, we’re warmly greeted. We visit Alice’s office, and enjoy some candy. In our clubhouse, we “suit up” with fellow ushers. There are always ample refreshments. After instructions by our knowledgeable house managers and tier leaders, we are equipped to serve our patrons professionally. Our compensation is not monetary. Volunteers don’t seek that. Superb benefits derive from seeing shows we choose to usher, and being given free tickets. Our greatest rewards are the staff’s respect, our friendships, and the knowledge that we are contributing to a better community.



HIGH SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS AT THE CENTER

There are a wide variety of opportunities for members of the community to volunteer at the Adrienne Arsht Center: as ushers, tour guides and wranglers, and as much needed support in the administrative offices, and at promotional events and outreach festivals throughout the city. In each case the volunteer is given wonderful insight into the business of guest and community service.

It’s particularly gratifying to see young people seek out and embrace these opportunities for involvement, and acquire the understanding that you always gain something, when you give something.

Recently, the Center had the pleasure of welcoming a group of 20 students of Miami Sunset Senior High School’s ESOL class (English as a Second Language), named the Close Up Club. The Close Up Club committed themselves to support the activities of the four-event FAMILY FEST, the Center’s ongoing series of free arts-related activities and performances, made possible by the support of Florida Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

Each student opened themselves up to the opportunity, unsure of who or what environment they might encounter, but with a great deal of courage and the desire to reach out and serve.

They ranged in ages, as did their proficiency in English – but they were unwavering in their committment to lend a hand. We are grateful to these fine young people, ready to challenge themselves, as well  as how the world sees them.

Nestor Cedeño, ESOL Department/Close Up Sponsor says, “I can say that as an ESOL teacher, I always tell my students that the best practice happens OUTSIDE of the classroom.”




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