Being a part of WGVU’s volunteer team has been a hugely rewarding experience. I grew up watching PBS (I remember the first time I saw SESAME STREET in 1970 - I was amazed!). My parents watched PBS at home all the time - in fact, I was allowed to stay up late to watch the PBS series WAR AND PEACE and UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS. PBS programming has always been part of my life and I valued it for its depth, complexity, and beauty. As a young adult, I transitioned into NPR and have always appreciated it for the same reasons - its depth of coverage, its cutting edge information, and the variety of programming from “Splendid Table” to “Car Talk.”
So when people ask me if it’s hard to volunteer on air during pledge drives, asking viewers (like myself!) to support PBS, I say “not at all!” I use the product (TV and radio), and in fact, love and value the product. Which means it doesn’t feel like work to ask for support, rather it feels like giving people an important opportunity to do something that they will be grateful for. Everyone likes to be asked, and everyone likes to be part of a winning team. With NPR and PBS you get both - the opportunity to be part of a community that works together to make the product possible, and a provocative, moving, entertaining product.
Since I run the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, I also love the connection between my job and this volunteer opportunity. Both WGVU and the Saugatuck Center for the Arts are working to build a more vibrant West Michigan community via an energetic, active arts and cultural scene. The author Richard Florida says, “Vibrant ‘livable’ communities with bustling arts & cultural scenes will be the winners in the 21st century’s ‘new economy’.” I believe Florida is right about this, so doing what I can to help build our West Michigan economy and community is important to me and will, I hope, make a small difference in the long run. Thanks to WGVU’s outstanding professional staff for making my volunteer experiences so much fun, and thanks to you for supporting important public television and radio programming.