The Huron Valley Council for the Arts has teamed up with local high schools to help recruit student volunteers. The council currently works with Walled Lake Northern, Lakeland and Milford High Schools.
Lisa Merglewski, volunteer coordinator at the Huron Valley Council for the Arts, began working at the council in 2011. Her agenda: recruit honor students, something that has never been done at the council before.
“It hadn’t been done here before, and with high school students of my own, I know the importance of community service with the honor students program…and I know how capable high school students are and I thought it was a perfect match,” Merglewski said. “It gives them the community service hours they need while participating in fun events.”
To date, student volunteers have participated in council events like the Artist Marketplace held at the Boogey Lake Green House, the holiday extravaganza and their classical concert series. Students also do work in the council’s art shop.
During the classical concert series, which run once a month between January and April, student volunteers set-up and breakdown the instruments and gain an hour of community service time.
And the students aren’t the only ones doing some good. At the holiday extravaganza, proceeds that were raised during the show’s intermission went to a charity of the student’s choice, Heifer International.
“It just made the show warmer, friendlier and more of a success,” Merglewski said. Students were greeting patrons, working as ushers, taking tickets, selling tickets, they ran intermission and handed out programs. You could see the pride in their faces, they were proud to host such an event and then host it!”
In return for their work, Merglewski and the staff of the council reward students with things like raffles where they raffle off things like art shop gift certificates, Van Gough tour tickets and more. This year, Merglewski will also be nominating students for the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, for a chance to win a college scholarship.
With 40 annual events that the council hosts each year, there are 9,700 volunteer hours that need to be filled for the council’s regular operations.
“It takes almost 10,000 volunteer hours a year to operate and host all of the community events that we do,” Merglewski said. “It’s so inspiring because all of these people just give up their time so unselfishly because they believe in art and cultural events and the support of it and keeping this out in their community.”
Merglewski has been attending student NHS meetings at local high schools, recruiting more student volunteers, but she encourages students to seek out volunteer opportunities at the council.
“Every volunteer opportunity offers for one, great experience and great submissions for their college applications and also their resumes. There are a lot of different experiences that they can have here that will be valuable to a resume,” Merglewski said.
And honor students aren’t the only ones who are encouraged to volunteer. The council also offers opportunities for special need students as well as senior citizens.
For more information on the Huron Valley Council for the Arts or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer coordinator Lisa Merglewski at 248-889-8660 or visit their website at www.huronvalleyarts.org