NBTF volunteers express fulfillment

Photo by Nikki Baldwin

NBTF volunteers express fulfillment
August 10
04:00 2017

By Nikki Baldwin

For The Chronicle

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), which ran from July 31-Aug. 5, offered visitors exciting plays, celebrity sightings, concerts, workshops, poetry, movie screenings and more.

The festival, organized by Executive Producer Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, used the North Carolina Black Repertory Company staff, committee members and hundreds of volunteers to bring the festivities to life.

Volunteers were vital in helping theatregoers navigate through all the festivities, from providing information and transportation to concessions.

There were volunteers assisting visitors in areas ranging from the information desk, usher services, box office and host services, to name a few, to help provide visitors an enjoyable time.

Five-time volunteer James Riley Jr. believes volunteering is a great experience.

“I truly enjoy volunteering because I love being around wonderful people, as well as the flow and energy the festival brings. I believe others should volunteer because it’s a great way to give back to the community and to see the African experience.”

Riley expressed the benefit and aspect he enjoys most about volunteering. “My favorite aspect of working the festival is working in the concession department with Dr. David Peay, Annie Pearl and Harweda Coe. I also enjoy being able to work with Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin to continue the legacy of Larry Leon Hamlin and watching it flourish for many years.”

Fellow concession and gala volunteer Wanda K. Brown explained her reason for volunteering stemmed from being a theater guild member and committing to work the festivities. Brown believes others should volunteer for the next festival, because everyone should want to be a part of this festival hosted in the Winston-Salem area.

Brown explained the benefit of volunteering, “I get to feel good about giving back to the community, as well as meeting all the new people. I will absolutely volunteer for the next festival.”

Volunteers were passionate about providing their service because they believed in giving back to the community. Information desk volunteer Kenya Penn said, “I am volunteering because I wanted to give back to my community. I volunteered when I was a teenager and felt the need to get back involved.”

Penn believes the satisfaction she received from assisting others and the ability to meet new people is leaving her excited to volunteer for the next festival.

Penn thinks others should volunteer for the next festival. “I would encourage others to volunteer because it’s a great experience and exposure.”

Kiffinee Smith-Baskins was elated to bring the vision of Larry Leon Hamlin to fruition and expressed her love for theater as her reason for volunteering. Smith-Baskins believe the benefits from participating as a volunteer are numerous.

“I love volunteering because I am able to attend plays, get to mingle and have the opportunity to help others. I would encourage others to volunteer for the next festival especially if you love theater. This is a great opportunity to mingle and meet other like-minded individuals.”

Smith-Baskins volunteered in the information desk department and plan to volunteer for the next festival; she has already provided information with her tentative availability.

The festival may have ended but volunteers are already planning as well as prepping to assist for the 2019 festival.

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