For the love of volunteers, and right back atcha! – Part 2
This is part two of a two-part series on how volunteers help LBC thrive – and vice versa.
In 2005, Alicia Carrasco-Aldoney attended an LBC performance of the folk group Quilapayún. They were from her home country of Chile, and she found herself sharing her excitement and stories with some curious and friendly ushers. A self-professed “people person,” Alicia soon became a volunteer herself. Twelve years later, after losing her home and belongings in the Tubbs fire, Alicia, who was named our Volunteer of the Year in 2018, was standing at our front door, welcoming people who were struggling through that frightening time to the performances we hosted for their respite and relief. Alicia said she felt uplifted by uplifting others. “This is not a chore,” she said.
Two years down the road, Robin Williams, an 18-year veteran volunteer, was standing in the same spot, convinced that laughter truly is the best medicine. She had just returned to LBC after more than a year of Covid-enforced confinement and slipped right back into her favorite activity as a volunteer –greeting people with laughter. “People got really down after 18 months of isolation,” she said. “But they are so happy when they come here. There is always so much laughing.”
“LBC often becomes a focal point in the lives of our volunteers, especially for people who have retired,” said Betsy Boes, LBC’s Volunteer and Front-of-House Manager for the past 18 years. “They find friendship, support, and purpose in their service here.” Betsy enjoys helping retirees create a new sense of purpose and community. “Our volunteers develop a kinship with each other that goes beyond these walls,” she said. “They go to lunch together, to the movies. When Alicia had a knee replacement, they went to her house and drove her to doctor’s appointments.”
Once the shift ends, Betsy wants each volunteer to start looking forward to the next one. Just before Christmas last year, having finished up after the Dave Koz holiday performance, everyone gathered to talk about the night’s events. It was late. The lobby was decorated in garland and lights. “We sat around in the Schwing Salon, enjoying refreshments and sharing patron experiences. It put everyone in the Christmas spirit,” she said. She thought back to similar meetings that Alicia and Robin attended years earlier. “As long as LBC brings them here, I want all our volunteers to feel that spirit at the end of every performance.”
To learn more about volunteer opportunities and to fill out an application, visit lutherburbankcenter.org.