Our solid base of 30+ volunteers is made up of skilled professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Together, they generously contribute more than 3,000 hours to program and administrative activities each year, including set design and construction, grant writing, fundraising, IT support, web design, cleaning, and stage management, just to name a few.
Many of our volunteers also become advocates who recruit others to get involved with DMAB. As a small thank you to these amazing volunteers, as well as our staff, donors, and members, we hold regular appreciation events that give us all an opportunity to interact outside of the day-to-day organizational environment and exchange ideas.
I first got involved with Don’t Miss a Beat out of a passion for their mission and the vision of the Owens family: inspiring youth to reach their dreams. My volunteer work has focused mainly on after school homework help and tutoring. What I’ve learned is that the kids here are as smart as any other kids; they just need someone to spend a little extra time with them and give them that extra nudge to apply themselves. These are amazing kids and the Owens Family has created such a wonderful, warm and empowering environment for them. It was incredible to see them work so hard to put their summer finale together and learn that hard work really does pay off. I’ll never forget one student in particular who worked on writing her own song for weeks and then performed it at the finale. My personal mission here is to show kids that they can bring their dreams to fruition, regardless of their socioeconomic background or family life. In the future, I’d love to see DMAB supplement what the kids experience here with trips to see plays or other performances – in Jacksonville and beyond.
After seeing the summer camp musical event in the summer of 2010, I knew I had to get involved with DMAB. It touched my heart to see all of the children hugging and crying after the event was over. They said that they didn’t want the camp to end. They were so proud and enthusiastic about being part of the event, and you could tell they worked really hard to make it a success. My work here has involved everything from attending board meetings to teaching computer classes or handing out ice cream. Being here has taught me how many people are out there who truly care about the well being of others. It gives me so much personal satisfaction to be able to apply my professional skills to help people fulfill their goals and enrich their lives – and the children’s smiling faces are a huge reward. You can see their confidence grow as they become equipped with the tools they need to succeed. Seeing children improve in school and adults find jobs as a result of professional education is so gratifying. I’d love to see DMAB move into a larger facility so we could offer even more programs to more children and adults.
I first got involved with DMAB when I learned that it would allow me to combine two of my loves: the arts and working with kids. Although I initially applied and worked as a summer camp counselor, I was privileged to be invited to work with the kids for an appearance on News 4 and again for the first DMAB Holiday Musicale. I have also worked with the after-school and adult education programs. One of the most important things I learned during my time at DMAB was the power of perseverance and the importance of patience. It can take some time for a child to feel that they can open up to you and be themselves, but getting to know each student’s personality allowed me to tweak my lesson plans to be relatable and interesting to them. It’s also allowed me to understand how and why they are feeling the way they do on a given day, which improved their productivity and participation in activities. There is so much to love about working with DMAB, from the warm, welcoming staff to seeing the pride on the faces of the students. My heart is full of love when I think about the kids. I miss them every day and I cannot wait to see them flourish into amazing young adults. I will never forget working with one of my students, Helen, to prepare for her audition to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, especially the day she called to tell me she was accepted. I know she has an extremely bright future. It’s just amazing to discover these untapped talents in the kids and help to draw them out. DMAB is already doing such great things and I think with more space to grow, they could accomplish just about anything.
I was looking for an organization where I could put my teaching experience to work, and I found DMAB. Now, I tutor DMAB students in reading and math. Volunteering here has been such a positive experience. Both the staff and the students are so accepting and helpful. I’ve especially enjoyed watching the older students grow into helping the younger ones. My mission for all the students I work with is to instill the love of reading. I would also like to see the kids take advantage of the opportunity in the Duval County School Magnet Programs. The children involved in DMAB are not lacking whatsoever in ability. They just need some mentoring to discover the opportunities and pathways that will lead them to the roads they want to take. The biggest success I’ve witnessed is that the kids have really begun to see reading as fun. Through technology, we’ve gotten them excited about books. To avoid being left behind, the children have to continue in their exposure to technology. I would love to see the center acquire some Apple products. In my experience, iPods and iPads can keep children engaged in learning far longer than worksheets.