Yes, indeed, in spite of my recent behavior, I must assert that I was brought up to be properly grateful for the gifts that came my way. My Mother always stressed the importance of timely thank-you notes. But, I find myself very late with this thank-you, embarrassingly and painfully so, but, I cling to the belief that my Mother would agree that a late thank-you note is better than none at all. With apologies for failing to meet my Mother’s standards, this is a very late thank-you note to the American University Freshman Service Experience (FSE).
On August 22nd-23rd, CHAW’s halls were filled with 24 incoming freshmen from American University. They were part of the FSE program at AU which sends 600 freshmen out into the community to assist non-profit organizations with various tasks. This past summer was the fourth time that CHAW has benefitted from the efforts of the incoming AU freshmen class. Kent Gay, CHAW’s Development Assistant and Theater Facilitator, efficiently coordinated the overall effort. The group that visited us this year was led by a sophomore who had been part of the 2011 CHAW FSE crew, so we were very glad to welcome Connor back and to find out that he had wisely changed his major to arts administration. In their two days at CHAW, our team, fueled by dorm food, pizza, and donuts, scrubbed and cleaned virtually every nook and cranny at CHAW (and there are a lot of those), transformed paint-encrusted tables into almost new, cleared out the storage space under the black box theater (yes, there is such a thing) and cleaned all the chairs, painted the walls and floor in the theater, gallery, chamber music room, and dance studio. There was an unusual discovery contained in several heavy black garbage bags found in the theater storage space. The bags were opened with some fear and trepidation and speculation. The contents were revealed to be a male body dummy left over from a theater production many years ago. He quickly joined the tower of discarded items collecting in CHAW’s garbage area.
Our AU volunteers were a refreshing force of good will, strength and cheer. The CHAW staff marveled at what they accomplished in a few hours and that they SANG throughout their time with us. Their spirits lifted us and carried us into the new CHAW year. We cannot thank them enough.
Then, they sent us a thank-you card signed by all of them. That was followed by a letter from Meg Rego, Program Coordinator, Community-Based Learning, who enclosed an FSE t-shirt and a flag that our volunteers had created to represent CHAW in the closing ceremony for the FSE program. Yes, we were being thanked for welcoming the FSE volunteers into CHAW when our gratitude overflowed for what they had accomplished.
We would minimally describe the two-days as a win-win situation. CHAWsome in every respect.
Bruce McKaig, Chair of CHAW’s Photography Department, put together a photographic tribute to the AU volunteers. Click and enjoy. Yes, they did all this in two days.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Jill Strachan, Executive Director Capitol Hill Arts Workshop