A volunteer is quite simply a person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it. As I reflected on this definition, I began to wonder what motivates people to volunteer. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity.
Is volunteering good for mental health? Research has shown that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially for people 65 and older. Volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feeling by releasing dopamine.
This all made sense to me so then I began to wonder how someone decides where to volunteer. I found that the following considerations could be followed:
Consider the experience of skills you want to gain…
Think of the experience of skills you can contribute….
Determine your passions…
Start your search locally..
People in the United States spend an average of 52 hours a year volunteering. Most of this time goes to the top four national volunteering activities: food collection and distribution, fundraising, tutoring, and general labor.
I decided to put my volunteer hours into my community by helping provide live entertainment. Directing shows and appearing on stage brings me joy. If I can take someone away from their daily life and/or struggles for a few hours and teleport them to a different reality, then all the hours of work are worth it. I never felt this more than when I directed our community youth last fall. Watching the children grow in their craft was amazing. They were so proud, as was I, of their accomplishment. The ability to take a concept and turn it into a beautiful production in only six weeks was outstanding. In addition to the actual stage work, it takes business minded people to keep the theatre running. Simply put, putting on plays costs money and someone has to manage those funds.
I asked Ron Smith, Immediate Past President of OBP why he volunteers. Below is his response:
“The call of the stage has always been a part of my life, from my early days as a student, throughout my adult working life, and now in retirement. My experiences in church, educational, community and professional theatre have all had the common elements of developing character (onstage and offstage), instilling self-confidence, setting and achieving goals, and learning the importance of teamwork, among many other benefits. Plays at every level from church to the professional stage have had an atmosphere of working together for a common goal, resulting in some life-lasting relationships.
As a theatre director and English teacher at Broadway High School in the 1970’s, I dreamed of the town of Broadway one day having its own theater space. I still hold hopes that one day I’ll see that dream realized. Meanwhile, the Off Broadway Players provides one of the few local opportunities for people of all ages interested in participating in any of the many aspects of producing a show. The support of the Broadway and surrounding communities and the Broadway Town Council, as well as the partnership with the J.F. Hillyard Middle School administration, is the lifeblood of the OBP. With everyone’s help, I believe that one day Broadway, VA will have its own designated theater to bring opportunity, education, and entertainment to people in the area and beyond. That hope keeps me working with the Off Broadway Players.”
Off Broadway Players is a 100% volunteer organization and we have many opportunities available. You do not need theatre experience to be part of our theatre family. We need people who can paint, sew, take tickets at the door, help with budgets/finance, help backstage, act, direct, sing and many other opportunities. We would love to welcome you and help you explore where your talents can help our community. Please visit www.offbroadwayplayersva.org for more information on how to reach us.
See you at the theatre!