|While National Volunteer Week takes place only once each year in April, volunteerism thrives year ‘round at the Palo Alto Art Center, as hundreds of volunteers routinely donate thousands of hours to ensure the success of the Center’s programs and events. |
“Our regular and weekly volunteers give an average of 100 hours of service each year, and our special event and other occasional volunteers give an average of 10 hours per year,” says Emily Lacroix, Art Center Director of Volunteer and Intern Programs. “No matter how many hours you volunteer, what matters most is making the decision to get involved, being present in your volunteer role, and sharing your time with others!”
The Art Center boasts more than 850 volunteers and 25 professional interns annually. The volunteer program is a healthy mix of teens — as young as 12 years old — and adults, ranging from young professionals to seasoned community members. The intern program is comprised of college and grad students, people re-entering the workforce, and others seeking to gain additional experience in the field.
“In the last four years, we’ve seen interns come from 28 different schools across the country,” says Lacroix. “During that time, three out of four work-eligible interns have chosen museum careers, and four interns have been hired as staff.”
Volunteers gave approximately 8,000 hours of service to the Art Center last year, a value of more than $208,000, says Lacroix. She also notes that half of the volunteers are adults, and the other half are teens.
Earlier in the year, employees of the Palo Alto Art Center created a “Gratitude Tree” in the staff lounge, which features a construction paper tree with leaves that express written thanks to the volunteers. Following are some of the comments anonymously posted by staff members:
“So many children and families love the Art Center because of the wonderful volunteers who help in the classes and at special events. Volunteers make the Art Center wonderful!”
“Serving more than 75,000 visitors annually simply would not be possible without you!”
“Our volunteers are outstanding! Thank you for all you do to support the Art Center.”
“Dedication like yours is what builds a community.”
“Your bright smiles and warm welcome to the Art Center and to events here always make me feel so welcome. Thanks for bringing loads of joy to the Art Center.”
“You are the backbone of this organization and everyone here appreciates your efforts and contributions. You rock!”