Each month on the BLOG, we feature an interview with one of our incredible volunteers. We have dedicated volunteers who have been with us for more than 20 years and some who have given of their time for less than two months. All are deeply appreciated and deserve a moment in the spotlight!
We missed the spotlight for April and May, so this month’s Volunteer Spotlight features two of our amazing volunteers: Ron and Annie Malak.
Volunteer Director, Lacey McNamara, asked Ron and Annie a few questions about volunteering at SLO REP.
LM: Tell us a bit about yourselves! What do you do when you’re not volunteering?
RM/AM: We enjoy golfing together and visiting family (all are out of town). We tent camp occasionally and sleep on our high-rise queen mattress for comfort. Sometimes we take our bikes. We like to play board games with friends and family. We tackle home improvement projects and have the best results when Annie reads the directions first and Ron handles the tools. Mostly, we like adventures, trying new things when traveling, and sharing our fun stories.
LM: What volunteer jobs have you had here at the Theatre?
RM/AM: Neither of us have a theatre background. In fact, when we attended the volunteer orientation, Ron was the only man amongst 12 women and we were the only volunteers without a theater background. But we are friendly, so front door duties, hospitality, selling raffle tickets, concession table, Ron likes bartending, Annie worked the ticket booth twice, and we sold corks for the fundraiser Wall of Wine twice.
LM: How long have you been volunteering here?
RM/AM: We began in 2005 when we both moved to the area and started new jobs. We wanted to meet new people, and we did!
LM: What got you started in volunteering?
RM/AM: The first Saturday we walked around downtown we came across the SLO Little Theatre and walked in. No one was in the lobby, but they had volunteer brochures. We had done several volunteer jobs in Sacramento, and we loved live productions, so this seemed like a good fit.
LM: What is your favorite part about volunteering?
RM/AM: Getting to know actors, volunteers (especially Franklin Mognett) and staff; helping a great entertainment venue be successful; visiting with people that we have met in the area when they attend performances; and seeing so many great performances.
LM: Do you volunteer at any other non-profit organizations?
RM/AM: Ron has been a part of the Sheriff Auxiliary Volunteer Program since he retired in 2012, and was the Coast Coordinator for four years. After a stringent training period, he drives a patrol car around his section of the county weekly. After Annie retired in 2017, she began dancing with the Central Coast Follies, who raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research and for the SLO Food Bank. This year she became the Outreach Coordinator for the Follies Committee. Also, Ron volunteered for a speaking part with the Follies this year! We both hope to see you October 4, 5 or 6 at the Spanos Theatre!
LM: Do you have any words of wisdom or a bit of advice for someone thinking about volunteering at SLO REP or tips for someone who is coming in to volunteer for the first time?
RM/AM: Try different things and find your niche where you are comfortable. There are so many opportunities and jobs that need to be filled around the area. And volunteering is good for your mental health!
Our volunteers are what keep SLO REP running smoothly. From painting sets to setting up the coffee bar, stuffing envelopes to organizing costumes, pouring wine and mixing martinis, the incredible volunteers who give their time to this theatre mean the world to us and to our patrons.
For more information about joining our volunteer crew, backstage or in the lobby, please visit our volunteer page, where you can find out more and sign up!