Center for the Arts volunteer honored by city SanTan Sun News

Center for the Arts volunteer honored by city

Center for the Arts volunteer honored by city
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BY KAYLA RUTLEDGE
Staff Writer

Four years ago Diane Parkins began volunteering for the Chandler Center for the Arts. Last month, she was recognized by the city council for completing over 500 hours of service.

After spending 36 years as an elementary and middle school teacher, working in special education classes, and as school superintendent in California, Parkins said she wasn’t ready to give up her passion for supporting children after retirement.

“Even as a superintendent I always wanted to be close with the kids because even up there that’s who you’re serving,” said Parkins.

Parkins’ daughter moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University. Soon after her grandson was born, so she moved to Chandler to be closer to her growing family.

Once arriving to the state, Parkins said she began looking for volunteer opportunities almost immediately — that’s when she came across the Chandler Center for the Arts.

“When I heard the center was used in partnership with [Chandler Unified School District] for classes I knew that’s where I needed to be,” she said.

The Center’s 126 volunteers can choose which events they work at a potluck every quarter. Parkins is sure to sign up for CUSD related events or dance studios’ ballet concerts where she gets to see kids “shine.”

During events, Parkins will take tickets, greet patrons and show guests to their seats.

In addition to her time spent volunteering, Parkins also serves on the Center’s steering committee.

Members on the committee must be elected by their peers, and each serve a two-year term. Committee members oversee communication between the volunteers and the full-time staff.

During her time in the position, Parkins has contributed to starting a newsletter which highlights seasonal and new volunteers, and the decision to take last names off of employee badges for staff safety.

“It has been beneficial to me to serve in this position because I get to be a communicator between our volunteers and the regular staff. It’s a great thing to be a part of,” said Parkins.

The volunteer said she donates her time about eight days per month.

When she is not at the center, she can probably be found on her way out of town catching a cruise ship with her husband.

Together the two have traveled the world, including places like Australia, Russia and Norway.

However, no matter how far Parkins travels, she said her heart is always here in Chandler.

“I think that it’s important to give back to your community when you can. I have some time now that I can donate because I’m retired. Even though I wasn’t raised here the community has given me and my family so much, so I feel the need to give it back somehow,” Parkins said.

She added that the center currently has a diverse team of retirees, high school students and everyone in between.

Information: chandlercenter.org/support-us/volunteer.

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