An annual commemoration seemingly not recognized by many, but one certainly worth celebrating, is that of National Volunteer Month that comes every April. As we exit the fourth month and enter into the fifth, we continue to celebrate this cause, recognizing the people that work tirelessly to help the Academy continue its mission of serving our community through arts and culture.
Often seen clad in black and white or an ACOA t-shirt, these hardworking individuals dedicate so much of their time to the Academy, striving to assist the organization in each of their own ways. Be it from scanning tickets at performances, ushering parties to their seats, and everything in between – the Academy is endlessly grateful to all of our volunteers for everything they do.
Volunteering is a way that members of the greater Lynchburg area can get involved within their community and aid in providing the region with arts access. At the Academy, there is an unlimited amount of opportunities and ways that you can help.
Some of these include, as previously mentioned, being present at performances (and seeing them for free!), helping with annual fundraising events, becoming a weekly front desk receptionist, assisting at Academy in Motion community events, and so much more.
Though serving your community is the greatest reward of all, we also have various benefits that volunteers at the Academy can be provided with throughout their time. From seeing amazing performances to getting free concessions and ACOA swag, volunteering can also get you featured on our social media plus the chance to meet new people from all over the Lynchburg area.
One volunteer who has been heavily involved within the Academy, in particular, is Ben Reagan. Ben has been a volunteer since 2018, years after he moved to Lynchburg back in 1997. It was then that he got a job working at 700 Main Street, just one block away from the theater.
“I walked past the theater hundreds of times on my way to the T-Room,” he states. “For 22 years, I never knew that the theater even existed.”
He continues, “During those years, I did a variety of other things. One of those was playing on a dodge ball team, and there, I met Tabitha, the current COO at the Academy.”
“Near the end of 2018, just before the grand reopening, I got a call from Tabitha,” he says. “She said to me, ‘Hey Ben, I have this private event for donors and construction workers that I don’t have any staff for yet. Could you show up tomorrow and lend a hand?’ I said yes.”
“When I showed up the next day and actually saw inside the theater, it was love at first sight. And now, as I’ve learned more about the events and activities of the Academy as a whole, I’ve made it a hobby to volunteer and participate in as many things as I can,” he notes.
Now, Ben can be found at most every Academy show or event, helping out in any way that he can. “The tasks we do before and after any given show, those one-on-one face-to-face activities, this is the true heart of community,” he states. “Whether we are making the popcorn, eating the popcorn, or sweeping up the popcorn, doing it with other staff and volunteers makes it more of a fun activity than a job. So, I get to interact with the inner community, while helping the outer community, and I get to see a show for free. Not a bad deal on the whole!”
Ben is one of the many volunteers who makes up the Academy family. The organization is so honored to have people like him, not only as part of the Academy as a whole, but of the overall Lynchburg community as well. These volunteers continuously help shape the heart of our city today and all that it stands for. “Every person on the planet should volunteer their time or talents at least once a month,” says Ben, “why not at ACOA?”
To all of the Academy’s passionate and dedicated volunteers, thank you for all you do for the organization. You are deeply valued, appreciated, and serve your community with such kindness.
If you are not a volunteer yet and would like to become one, click the button below to sign up today. We look forward to seeing you soon!