This week I had the chance to sit down with Brian Davis, one of our most committed and dynamic ArtPrize volunteers. Brian began volunteering with ArtPrize in 2013 when he helped to organized several groups of volunteers. He works with young adults ages 18 to 26 in a program that focuses on developing vocational skills at the GRPS Kent Educational Center. And after visiting ArtPrize for three years with their teacher, Brian’s students decided that they wanted to become involved as more than spectators. It was an easy sell to gather a group of students and teachers together to work as ArtPrize volunteers!

Brian believes that this volunteering experience was important for these young adults and that “if you’re going to work in your community, you need to know what’s in your community.” Furthermore, he believes that it is critical for people to “take ownership of what’s going on in their city” and that volunteering is one way to create the type of community that they want to be a part of. His groups volunteered as Wayfinders several times per week, allowing the students to become familiar with their specific Wayfinding post and roles. By the end of the event, Brian saw a boost in the young adults’ confidence as they grew more comfortable meeting new people and offering assistance to visitors.

When Brian signed up his students, he also recruited a dozen of his family members to volunteer together for an afternoon. Since then, volunteering has become something of a tradition for the Davis family who would frequently get together for cookouts and family gatherings. Through volunteering they found another way to enjoy each other’s company and give back to the community. As Brian said, “Everybody has time to give, it doesn’t cost you a thing,” which makes it a great way to go out and spend time together without spending money.

The Davis’ had so much fun volunteering at ArtPrize 2013 that several family members began adding extra volunteer shifts on their own, sparking a competition to see who could volunteer the most hours during the event. They also challenged each other to find additional organizations where they could volunteer together throughout the year. Brian said of their experience, “You see people develop a sense of belonging, they have fun together and it really sets the tone for the people visiting ArtPrize! Why wouldn’t you volunteer?”

Find out how to sign up a group of your favorite people to volunteer during ArtPrize 2014!

Written by Brooke Hotchkiss, Volunteer Coordinator

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