The Joy of volunteering at GNAG
When we were young, a lot of us were told to do good things for others with a promise of good things coming back to us. It seems so simple when you are small, but then you grow up and realize that kindness and good deeds are always best when they are truly from the heart. It’s that moment when you hold the door open for someone behind you or, in my case, baking something sweet for someone you care about. It can also come in the form of a larger donation of your time by volunteering at a local community centre.
Personally, I volunteer at another non-profit organization a few times a year. This has connected me with some amazing people and strengthened friendships. This year, GNAG team member Lauren Kirk joined me to help support a large charity event. The event was a great learning experience and gave us several ideas to bring back to Taste in the Glebe, including the digital photobooth– which was a hit!
Volunteerism comes in many forms and brings together people of all ages to unite around a common cause. We are very lucky at GNAG to have a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated members of our organization and the community. We also have many other volunteers of all ages who help us throughout the year, from teenagers looking to get childcare experience, to the “dish darlings,” a group of women who come each year to wash all the dishes during Taste in the Glebe. We also have several committees that include community volunteers to help with various events: Taste in the Glebe, The House Tour, GNAG Theatre and more.
This year, the full-time team did several acts of volunteerism, most recently signing up to join the Glebe BIA in Cleaning up the Capital! Clare, Paul, John, Pete and I took the assignment of picking up garbage from the Queensway to First Avenue. I’m proud to be among a big crowd working hard to get rid of the winter garbage in the city to honour Earth Day.
One sad effect of the pandemic was that for a long time, extra people (not staff or clients) were not allowed in the building so volunteering was put on pause for several years. If we want to move forward and provide quality events and programming, we need to build back that base. If you are reading this article and think that you want to be a part of something at GNAG, please reach out anytime to Katie Toogood, our youth volunteer coordinator, or Clare Davidson Rogers, our adult volunteer coordinator, by filling out the form on our volunteer page at gnag.ca/volunteering. We would love to hear from you and have you help at one of our events!
Wizard of Oz
Speaking of talent, I had the pleasure of helping with and attending the amazing production of the Wizard of Oz. The show was of such high quality that it didn’t feel like we were in the Glebe Community Centre anymore but that we had been transported to the Land of Oz. I am truly impressed with all the gifted individuals who acted, created sets and props, and helped bring one of my favourite stories to life. This was the first musical production since 2019, and it was so special to have it back at GNAG.
There were so many volunteers and individuals who made this performance possible. Although most of them don’t ask for recognition, I want to hand out some accolades for their enthusiastic involvement.
A giant heartfelt thank you goes out to:
Eleanor Crowder, our fearless and kind director; Lauren Saindon, the beyond-talented musical director; Nicole Sauvé, known for her patience and choreography; Lauren Kirk, esteemed for her management and calmness in the face of anything; and Paul O’Donnell, our multi-talented production manager who can lift really heavy things.
To Luc Asselin for taking on assistant stage manager as a volunteer; David Magladry for lighting up our show and the yellow brick road; Susan Irvine and team for the gorgeous costumes; Chris Joslin for volunteering to do the complicated animation for this show; Jennifer Ford, our extremely creative creative director and her team; and finally to set designer David Harris who made the Emerald City sparkle.
To Clare Davidson Rogers, who is always truly dedicated and invested in every event (and GNAG), thanks to you and the team of volunteers that did front of house for this show!
To the cast, crew and other volunteers involved, thank you for making this live theatre performance truly magical – there is really no place like home, and we were so glad to have you back.
Editor’s note: see more on The Wizard of Oz elsewhere in this issue of the Glebe Report.