Today is International Volunteer Day, and we want to celebrate by highlighting one of our amazing volunteers, Teresa Raschilla! Teresa started volunteering with P.S. ARTS this year and we are so grateful for all her help with classes at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. We asked Teresa to tell us a bit more about herself and her volunteer experiences at P.S. ARTS.
Tell us about yourself!
After two decades of working in motion pictures and graphic design, I decided in 2017 to return to school to earn a degree. I will be graduating from Santa Monica College in Spring 2020 with an associate’s degree in studio arts, and I will continue to work toward a BFA and graduate degrees in art education and art therapy. In addition to drawing, painting, and sculpting, I also sing,* volunteer, and advocate for causes such as social justice, the environment, LGBT+ rights, mental health, and, of course, education.
*shameless plug: I am in the Santa Monica College Chamber Choir and we have a concert coming up on December 13 & 14 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
What made you want to volunteer with P.S. ARTS?
I love volunteering! Among other things, I’ve helped at my son’s school and mentored writers through Young Storytellers, but P.S. ARTS offers an opportunity to be in an art classroom, which has been so rewarding! Not only do I get to learn from our incredible teaching artists, but I also get to meet these amazing kids as they refine their craft and discover skills they never knew they had.
Not only do I get to learn from our incredible teaching artists, but I also get to meet these amazing kids as they refine their craft and discover skills they never knew they had.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with P.S. ARTS or what has been your favorite experience?
One of my favorite moments was when a student gave up on making pop-ups and started doodling. I asked how his pop-up was going and he shrugged and said he didn’t understand it. I asked if we could try it together, and he said okay but didn’t seem optimistic. When we got to the last step and tested it, he lit up and shouted, “It worked!!!” and started cutting out another one right away, eager to experiment. It was magical to see that moment and to know that without that extra little bit of encouragement he would have thought this skill was beyond him, but he now has this understanding of an engineering concept that goes beyond the project we were working on. As a teacher managing a class of 30, it can be difficult to take that time with each individual student, so I am savoring these hard-won epiphanies as a volunteer.
Thank you Teresa Raschilla for all your help! To learn more about volunteer opportunities with P.S. ARTS click here.