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Since one of our very own is a nominee in the Helpline Center’s Spirit of Volunteerism Awards coming up May 10,  what better time than to feature her in our Volunteer Spotlight for the month? We are so glad to have you in the JAM family, and grateful for all that you do for us, Shanda! It is passionate, creative, community-focused art advocates like you that make us who we are.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?:

I am a Minnesota girl, born and raised. I have lived in Mesquite, Nevada, a small desert town, and in Las Vegas, a not-so-small desert town (that is where booth my kids were born). I have a son and a daughter, and when we’re not busy with hockey, or my daughter’s sports, we love to go to the Washington Pavilion, Museum of Visual Materials and all the great parks. I love to bake and make healthy comfort food.

How long have you been a volunteer at JAM? 

I have been a volunteer at JAM for 10 months now.

What do you do at JAM?

I do a few different things at JAM. First, I am the Volunteer Coordinator, and do a training class every other Sunday at 11:00 am and every other Monday At 11:00 am and 6 pm (those times will change in the future). Second, I volunteer in the store one day a week putting away donations, talking about JAM to customers that stop in for the first time, and help people with their shopping. It’s great because my kids can come with me, and it gives them a chance to gain some good work skills and a work ethic, as well as make cool things. When I was able to, I would be at JAM almost everyday. It was great. Third, I love going to events around town during the summer and working our booth, talking about JAM and doing crafts.

How did you hear about JAM, and what made you get involved?

I heard about JAM by stopping in one day after driving by it for almost a year, and thinking it was another pricey art store I could not afford. Boy, was I wrong. I was amazed by all the different supplies you can get, and I could afford everything in the store. When I started shopping there it was during a rough time in my life, and it became my happy place. I started slowly thinking of doing art again. At that time I was just crafting for my kids’ birthday parties. I started volunteering because I was in there so often, and knew Jess needed help. I wanted to be involved with such a cool place, and have been helping at least once a week ever since.

What is your favorite part about volunteering at JAM?

I love when people come into JAM for the first time and are excited about the store; they think its such a cool idea. I also love hearing the cool projects and ideas people have, and what they are making with our stuff. And I love doing JAM booth events, and sharing JAM with everyone.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at JAM?

Stop thinking and start doing! We offer a training class once a week at different times, and it’s between 30 minutes to an hour. We are always in need of volunteers. We have so many different tasks that need to be done that anyone can find something they will enjoy sharing their time doing. You can be in the store and run it, you could put donations away, clean up the backroom, sort through boxes. You can lead birthday parties/craft parties, lead/help art camps for kids, and that is naming just a few things to do. We ask for 8 hours a month, but if all could do is an hour a month that would be great, too. It is such a great place to be, and you will meet awesome people.

What is your art background?

Besides high school art classes, I am a self-taught artist and learning every day. I read a lot of art books of all kinds about everything. I do mixed media, and really love working with chalk. I also make rugs and pillows using old clothing. I am just getting out there in the art community.

Any projects that you are currently working on?

I am going to start selling my rugs and other crafts, as well as my art pieces. So, I have been working on perfecting my craft and art skills.


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