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Spirit of Acadiana: Where Would We Be Without Our Volunteers?

Spirit of Acadiana - Volunteerism 4-5-2021.jpg
Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 19:47:54-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — Today's basic Spirit of Acadiana idea? Help Healing House bring in volunteers for Tuesday night's training session.

The problem is we just found out the training session is full: no volunteers needed for Tuesday night.

On the other hand, come June, there will be another training session, so there will be possibilities. But every organization thrives, needs, wants volunteers. Got that?

"A volunteer is someone who gives of his time or talent to help others,” says Kim Thackston, Development Director at Healing House.Healing House, with only three full-time employees, holds grief therapy sessions for nearly 300 kids.

And it hosts fundraisers such as Martinis and Family Adventure Day. There's no way it could survive without a strong base of volunteers.

“They are so needed,” explains Thackston. “We always need new volunteers. People move on or volunteers change, kids graduate from college, so they’re not able to be here or classes change, so we are always training new volunteers. We would be nothing without those people to be honest.”

Another strong volunteer-driven event? the Chitimacha Louisiana Golf tournament.

In a non-COVID year, this organization with a paid staff of two, including director Danny Jones needs the board to pitch in plus nearly 1000 volunteers.

“We all have a value of our time,” begins Jones, “but if you live in a community like Lafayette or the Acadiana area, that puts a value on the community aspect or working together, volunteering or donating your time is invaluable, so the definition of a volunteer? The lifeblood of an event.”

And there's Festival International.

“A volunteer is someone who takes time out of their day to help an organization or a person with something they need,” says Candace Gulotta-Haggart, Festival’s Development Director.

Normally, well over 2,100 volunteers are spread over 2700 jobs, all to help 300,000 people enjoy the musical extravaganza.

This year, Festival will be virtual-- but still volunteers are needed... even to make that happen, adds Gulotta-Haggart.

“We still have things that need to be done, so we still have volunteers like our board and we do have some others that come in and our interns that help us as well. So, we are able to do the job that we do every year because of these people.”

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