Kathryn Rotondi (left), DWC Donations Associate Andy Motz, and Alyssa Brown
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and DWC is thrilled to honor the incredible individuals and groups who make our community stronger.
This year, we're excited to highlight two individual volunteers who donate their time and artistic skills to working with women in DWC's creative workshops: Alyssa Brown and Kathryn Rotondi!
Alyssa began volunteering in MADE by DWC's candle-making workshop nearly three years ago, when she met Kathryn. Realizing they had a lot in common, the two quickly became close friends, and they began volunteering together regularly. They were drawn to candle-making because they saw it as an opportunity for women to de-stress while developing a skill they're passionate about.
"Creativity and art can really help during difficult times," Alyssa says. "It's like therapy, a kind of release."
Alyssa and Kathryn volunteered in the candle-making workshop nearly every Saturday for two years before they launched their own workshop in June 2016. Every other Saturday, they organize an activity or creative workshop open to all DWC participants. In the past, they've planned holiday parties, painted with watercolors, dyed Easter eggs, and created floral arrangements. In all workshops, the emphasis is on feeling good rather than stressing skills and technique. After all, there's no wrong art!
"Creativity and art can really help during difficult times. It's like therapy, a kind of release."
For Alyssa and Kathryn, one of the most fun things about hosting these workshops is the bonds they've developed with the women who regularly participate. They also love seeing the many ways women benefit from artistic expression.
"This class is so much more than creating," says Kathryn. "It often becomes nostalgic, bringing these ladies back to a happy place, like a childhood memory. Or many times they like to pay it forward by passing on what they've made that day to a loved one. There's something so simple yet beautiful in that."
"Seeing the women happy is my favorite thing about volunteering," Alyssa says. "I love seeing them tap into their own personal creativity and build confidence and self-esteem. I think we all need that sometimes."
DWC thanks Alyssa and Kathryn for organizing creative workshops for our participants and residents. We appreciate you and all our DWC volunteers so much!
If you are interested in getting involved with the Downtown Women's Center individually or with a group of friends, check out our volunteer opportunities here!