By Joey Babbitt
Volunteering offers something for everyone, and a chance to give back to your community in endless ways. As a volunteer I have painted houses with Habitat for Humanity, cooked lasagna for Larkin Street Youth Services, and played with puppies at the SPCA!
At Stern Grove Festival, volunteers do everything from park beautification projects (we have a team from Twitter coming out on Friday this week) to managing the information booth at each concert. If you come to a concert and need assistance, you will most likely be speaking with a volunteer. In fact, as I write this, there is a volunteer in our administrative office helping us put together our spring mailing so that we can announce the 78th Season!
This week is National Volunteer Week and an opportunity to thank everyone who donates their time to support their community. As the volunteer coordinator, I am eternally grateful for the over 500 individuals who donate more than 3,500 hours to help Stern Grove Festival run smoothly and successfully. From corporate groups to retirees, each person contributes their time and skills to make sure that we can present admission-free concerts year after year.
Lydia and Cherry began volunteering with the Festival in middle school in order to fulfill their school credit requirements. More than ten years later, these girls are two of my most dedicated volunteers. They come to every concert and manage the volunteer booth.
When I asked each of them what they enjoy most about working at the Festival, they said almost the same exact thing: “I really enjoy the people I get to interact and work with!” “Everyone there is super friendly and approachable! It’s great to meet new people from diverse backgrounds that I wouldn’t normally have the chance to converse with and be able to connect with them through a common love for the Festival.”
When I asked what their favorite Festival memory is, they also had the same answer (these girls make me so happy): “All the moments at the Festival are my favorite memories!” Lydia elaborated, “I’m just glad that I’ve met so many awesome people through volunteering and I cherish the memories we have all created together.”
Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded friends, or to bond with current friends while helping support the Festival. Stern Grove Festival would not be possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of people like Cherry and Lydia.
I encourage you to get involved this summer and support your Festival by volunteering. The volunteer registration form will be available on May 1. See you at the Grove!