Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy and hard work to help an organization to meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. We would like to shine the spotlight on one of our most long-standing volunteers, Frank Atkinson.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a big computer geek. I’ve lived here in Columbus since the mid-80s.
How long have you volunteered with CAPA?
I started volunteering in ’81 at the Palace Theatre. [Almost 35 years!]
Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
I created a website which started as a way for me to keep track of my volunteer schedule [a website of all calendar events happening at CAPA theatres for the volunteers]. Then I realized others could use it too!
What made you want to start volunteering at CAPA?
I went to a show with my girlfriend at the time and saw some friends volunteering at the show. They told us how fun it was, so we decided to start volunteering too. I worked downtown for 18 years, so it was easy to volunteer after work.
What is your favorite memory from working with CAPA?
When the economy was bad, I started volunteering even more to get out and see people. All the volunteers and even the regular patrons had become like a second family, so it was nice to get out and do something with my time during the recession.
Do you have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
Les Mis is my favorite show, and I probably never would have seen it if I wasn’t a volunteer. I’ve seen so many shows. The ones that come here are wonderful. Cirque du Soleil was fun and different to see also. I get to enjoy a lot of things behind the scenes. Mickey Rooney came and talked to volunteers at one point, I gave directions to a couple Rockettes walking downtown, and I’ve become friends with the people who work backstage.
What do you see as some of the benefits of volunteering?
Meeting people and seeing the shows are definite benefits. During the recession, when I wasn’t working, coming in to volunteer and seeing my extended family kept my sanity. I can remember people coming in when they were kids, and now they are grown up and still coming to the shows. Some even bring their own kids now!
What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
If you enjoy people-watching, this is the place to be. Ushers from all backgrounds are here, and are some great people. You can move from job to job, and work throughout the different theatres downtown. It’s a great experience, especially if you are keen to get out and get involved!
Interview by Martina Cisneros