Volunteer Spotlight: Finding New Ways to Have an Impact

Diane may be retired, but she is far from being finished engaging in meaningful work.

Diane, Theater Arts Teacher

Diane is new to Arlington, having moved to the area last fall after living most of her adult life in Houston, Texas. She recently retired from 22 years of teaching middle school theater arts (drama and speech). When she speaks about her time as an educator, you hear in her voice the joy she found in the work and the pride she takes in her accomplishments. When asked how she feels her work had the most impact, it was in the opportunity she had as a teacher to expose kids to drama and speech, and to help them grow their skills and enjoy the craft. “I loved seeing them come to me in 6th grade, raw and new to drama and speech class, then seeing their skills grow through 7th and 8th grade.”  Diane also started, lead, and grew the school’s speech club which had numerous speech tournament victories under her direction. Parents of her former students still reach out to her, sharing their child’s achievements and successes, and thanking her for her role in their education.

Diane, APAH Volunteer Receptionist

Upon settling into her new Arlington home, Diane immediately started looking for opportunities to volunteer and to get involved in the community. “When I retired, I felt untethered. I was missing that connection to something meaningful and impactful.”  She wanted a volunteer opportunity that was regular and purposeful. Diane now supports our administrative team three days each week, and she has become an advocate for APAH’s mission and for affordable housing. What keeps her coming back as a volunteer with us? “I have a sense of being part of something, like when I was part of educating children.”  Her understanding of APAH operations, affordable housing issues, and resident needs, along with her passion for the mission, continues to grow. “When people I meet ask me what I do, I get to educate them about APAH and the need for affordable housing.”

What Do Staff Have to Say About Diane?

As support for APAH’s administrative team, the impact of her service is widely felt across the organization. Her help with various departmental tasks and her presence at the reception desk allow staff to work on various projects in and out of the office without interruption. “Diane is exactly what we were looking for when we wrote the description for this volunteer position. And she is much more!” says TyReisha Pugh, Administrative Assistant. “She jumps into action on any task, and she takes initiative.” The following are just a few of the adjectives frequently used by staff to describe Diane and her work: positive, willing, pro-active, friendly, and observant. “Diane really cares about what she does,” says Lana Jacobus, Community Engagement Coordinator. “She asks great questions so she can be thorough. Her thoroughness is a product of her curiosity.”

Thank You, Diane!

APAH is grateful for Diane’s support and her commitment to the mission. In addition to continuing as a volunteer receptionist, Diane volunteers with APAH special events, and she is now working with our resident services team to utilize her speech and theater arts skills and experience to offer public speaking, communication, and interview coaching for residents. Thank you, Diane!