Anna McKay was a volunteer at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature before stepping into a full-time role as education director in 2022.
She understands the value and hard work that the museum’s group of 12 amazing ladies who volunteer bring to the table.
“Our volunteers are vital to our school tour programming!” McKay said. “Because of the time, energy, and love they give to the program and students, we are able to do tours back-to-back and serve more students. The volunteers play a crucial role in building an environment where students get to have a fun, engaging, and inspiring field trip!”
It’s no secret that when it comes to education, it takes a village. It takes people with a genuine passion for children and learning. The museum has found a group of volunteers who reflect these passions perfectly. At the heart of the NCCIL’s mission is the School Tour Program, and the heart behind that program are 12 amazing ladies: The NCCIL volunteers.
During the 2022-2023 school year, NCCIL volunteers clocked in over 150 hours. During a school tour, volunteers wear many hats. Often times, these ladies are the first face a child sees as they are greeted at the door for the first time. Volunteers set up, clean up, assist with art projects, keep records of tour attendance, guide students through gallery tours and challenges, and ensure that transitions for the students and teachers are seamless between groups. NCCIL volunteers often return to assist the team with CALF and special events as well.
McKay holds a training breakfast for volunteers once a semester to not only engage them in the upcoming project and explain procedures, but to express appreciation.
“They are more than volunteers,” she said. “They are a part of the NCCIL family.”
A quarter of the volunteers are new this year. Several have been with the NCCIL in some capacity for over a decade. McKay recruited Linda Vedro last summer. When asked about the most meaningful aspect of volunteering was, Vedro said, “The children! Their excitement and joy as they are learning something new and fun! They have fun expressing their creative minds with their unique artistic vision and thoughts on paper! WOW! Only at the NCCIL!”
Long-time school tour volunteer Judy Hancock reflects on her time with the NCCIL and why she volunteers.
“I have volunteered at the NCCIL since the fall of 2007 after I had retired from teaching — 16 years! I volunteer at the NCCIL because I had enjoyed taking students to see the exhibits when I taught and knew that was where I wanted to spend some of my retirement hours. I enjoy seeing the art from children’s picture books, and I enjoy having interactions with students. Wonder and joy brighten their faces when they enter the gallery. Helping foster in children a love for books and the art in them is why I volunteer at the NCCIL.”
Anyone interested in joining this amazing group of volunteers and experiencing the magic for yourself, can fill out an application online at www.nccil.org/volunteer
Contributed by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature