Author Archives: Rebecca Stuch

Meet Our Newest Board Members

Amelia Despre

Amelia grew up in France and moved to Palo Alto, California in 2002, as she was working as an IT project manager for Hewlett Packard. Work then took her to Austin in 2009.

Since she’s been in the United States, Amelia has been volunteering regularly for various nonprofits, with responsibilities ranging from volunteer lead to serving as the treasurer on two Board of Directors. She has always tried to reduce her carbon footprint by taking small steps like composting, growing her own food and upcycling materials, which is what drew her to the mission of Austin Creative Reuse.  She started volunteering for ACR in the summer 2015, as they were about to open Austin’s first reuse center and needed help sorting thru donations and organizing the store. Amelia joined the ACR Board of Directors as the chair for the Systems and Procedures committee.

Amelia graduated from the nonprofit leadership and management program at the Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College in 2016.

Nancy Lyon

Nancy spent the first part of her life in the DC area, but had finally had enough of the politics, cold, and traffic, so she moved to Austin. For most of the 20 years or so that she has lived here, she has been doing molecular biology research at UT Austin. She recently started working at Austin Community College’s new campus in the old abandoned Highland Mall (her office is in the old shoe dept of JC Penney’s) and is helping to build Austin’s first leaseable wet lab space.

Nancy comes from a family of creatives. All professional scientists, but with hobbies such as cooking, glass fusing and lampwork, costume design, and jewelry making. As an underpaid scientist, she took naturally to finding ways of keeping busy and to making things, without spending money. Once you have that mindset and that skill set, it’s hard to do things any other way. The fact that re-using materials is also good practice for the planet makes her heart kind of soar.

On any given day, you could find her amongst the makings of puppets, jewelry, a metalsmithing project or even a delicious dinner.  In addition to spending her days buying $50K laboratory instruments to outfit the space, she scours freecycle and craigslist for valuable opportunistic treasures for the lab. Maybe, someday, there will be a bio-hacker space carved out at Highland.


Sharon Yarbrough

Sharon has over 20 years experience working in Austin education and conservation nonprofits and is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Her greatest motivation for living sustainably is wanting to instill environmental stewardship in her daughter and our next generations.
“I wanted to become part of Austin Creative Reuse because it is the perfect blending of my passions: art, education and conservation. I knew it was the right place for me the minute I walked in the door.”

Sharon earned a degree in technical writing from Illinois State University and was a high school English teacher before translating her skills into grant writing. Grant writing led to fundraising; including events and donor engagement. Sharon is the Development Coordinator for Southwest Key Programs, the 2nd largest nonprofit in Austin.

While her favorite activity is crafting or hiking with her daughter, Sharon volunteers as the Kiddie Crew Leader for the Austin Parks Foundation, a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels and reading mentor with East Austin College Prep.

Everyday Superhumans: From Trash into Treasure: The Austin Creative Reuse Way

Austin Creative Reuse Founder, Board President, Rebecca Stuch was featured on the Everyday Superhuman podcast. Give it a listen and find out more about this amazing woman and our mission of bringing conservation and reuse to our community.

Searching for our first Executive Director

We are excited to announce the search for Austin Creative Reuse’s first Executive Director.  The community response to the Creative Reuse Center has been amazing and the organization is in a financial position to take it’s next step forward.  This role will be instrumentally in sustaining the growth and direction of the organization.

Read more about the role below and submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to

Position Details

Title:  Executive Director

  • Work week: Full Time, weekdays and some weekends
  • Wage range:  $50,000 – $60,000 (Commensurate with experience)
  • Reports to: Board of Directors
  • Oversees an annual budget of approximately $100,000
  • Provide overall leadership to 6 part time staff as well as numerous volunteers, strategic partners, and other community supporters.

What We Offer

  • Challenging opportunity to lead a small non-profit that is set up for exponential growth and impact on the community. 
  • Fun, creative and collaborative environment with a diverse staff, volunteer and customer population.
  • Flexible work options, generous vacation, and family-friendly workplace policies. 

What You’ll Bring

We look for amazing people with diverse backgrounds and a genuine passion for conservation, reuse, and creativity.  We expect the Executive Director to be:

  • Passionate about the Austin Creative Reuse Mission: A demonstrated passion for environmental issues, along with education, art, and the nexus between reuse, creativity and community. Maintains a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the fields of arts and environmental education, arts programming and behavioral economics.
  • A Great Communicator:  Outstanding oral and written communication skills, as well as media savvy.  Proven ability to inspire and engage with a broad range of stakeholders and influencers, including staff, volunteers, board members, community leaders, donors, partners, clients, media, and the community.
  • Collaborative: Exceptional ability to inspire and build a collaborative, innovative organizational culture where teamwork is the norm and areas of expertise are respected and leveraged. Ensure a positive work environment that attracts and retains a diverse staff of top quality people.
  • An Advocate: Ability to inspire and educate the community about creative reuse of materials that traditionally have been discarded as waste, about stewardship practices that preserve and protect the environment and about the economic and social benefits of reuse that are obtained by the community.


  • Education: Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s Degree and field experience preferred.
  • Non-Profit  Experience: Five+ years of non-profit. Experience working with or on a Board of Directors; understanding of Governance.
  • Leadership & Management: Five+ years of senior leadership experience, with proven skills in organizational development and leadership, financial and operational management, strategic thinking, setting and achieving goals, mentoring and developing staff.    
  • Fundraising:. Strong ability to communicate the Austin Creative Reuse vision and obtain buy-in with donors, foundations, businesses, and other funding agencies.  
  • Financial Management: Demonstrated experience with budget creation and management, as well as with controlling and protecting all assets of the organization.
  • Retail Knowledge: Some Retail Experience desired.

What You’ll Do

The Austin Creative Reuse Executive Director is friendly, personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Austin Creative Reuse and our mission.

In Strategic Planning and Center Operations, the Executive Director will:

  1. Assure that the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  2. Oversee the daily operations of the Creative Reuse Center
  3. Promote active and broad participation by volunteers in all areas of the organization’s work.
  4. Work with Board Secretary and/or other volunteers to maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  5. Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field.

In communications and programming, the Executive Director will:

  1. See that the board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  2. Promote the activities of the organization, its programs and goals.
  3. Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with community groups and organizations.
  4. Represent the programs and point of view of the organization to agencies, organizations, and the general public.
  5. Work with various committees and staff to implement programs and services that align with the mission and organizational objectives.

In relations with staff, the Executive Director will:

  1. Be responsible for the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.
  2. Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are held, and that sound human resource practices are in place.
  3. See that an effective management team, with appropriate provision for succession, is in place.
  4. Encourage staff and volunteer development and education, and assist program staff in relating their specialized work to the total program of the organization.
  5. Maintain a climate which attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people.

In budget and finance, the Executive Director will:

  1. Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices.
  2. Work with the staff, Finance Committee, and the board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
  3. Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.
  4. Jointly, with the president and secretary of the board of directors, conduct official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.

The above is intended to describe the general content of the requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements.

Who We Are

Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.

  • We collect, distribute, and sell reusable materials donated from industry and individuals.
  • We educate the community about how to reduce, reuse, and create in responsible and fun ways. We make instructional kits, have a library of design and art ideas, and share these online and in-store.
  • We unite the community by hosting a range of events, activities, and classes that bring people together to build awareness around conscious consumption, sustainability, and art
  • We promote awareness of like-minded organizations to reduce overlap and increase awareness of city resources.

To be considered as an applicant:

Please submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to

We review applications on a rolling basis. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

At Austin Creative Reuse, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and challenges us to think differently every day. Austin Creative Reuse  provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status or disability.


ACR Board Fall Planning Session Highlights

Twice a year the Austin Creative Reuse board spends a few days reviewing the activities and outcomes of the organization and creates plans for the next 6 months.  These plans allow the board to focus the actions of the board and other volunteers as well as to ensure that we make progress but don’t over commit our resources. Austin Creative Reuse  is a mix of part-time staff and volunteers and while there are many exciting opportunities, we want to make sure we take on only what we have the capacity to do.

The organization is guided by three strategic goals:

  1. Operate with transparency,  evidence-based practices, and collaborative processes to be an efficient and effective non-profit organization that balances the needs of all stakeholders. Stakeholders: Customers, Volunteers, Employees, Material Donors, Financial Donors, Community, Environment
  2. Be a self-sustaining and scalable non-profit organization
  3. Be a resource for the Austin and Reuse communities that provides programs that utilize or support the creative use of repurposed and discarded materials.

Below are updates on key areas of the organization:

Finances and Accounting

Financial health continues to be good. Sales continue to meet our budget expectations and we are looking forward to seeing the sales during the holiday season. We hired additional part time staff which allowed us to open more hours.


The Resource Development Council developed several fundraising goals for the remainder of our fiscal year. We will launch our Year-End Giving Campaign with Giving Tuesday, the first Tuesday in December. Some of the possible activities for the campaign are a volunteer event, raffle, gift wrapping events, as well as an online appeal. Another goal for the council is to work with board members to host a monthly First Saturday table event outside the center. The event would focus on board member outreach to raise awareness of our mission and center. The third goal is to participate in I Live Here, I Give Here’s Amplify Austin in March 2017.

In September, ACR was awarded a City of Austin Cultural Arts Core Funding Grant to hold artist workshops with a focus on reuse, Each workshop will feature a local artist sharing their art form and participants creating a hands-on project using reclaimed materials. The workshops are free and open to the public.We’re planning for a series of 8 workshops from Nov.- May, and resuming in Sept. to be tentatively located at a pop-up space at the Linc. We have formed a workshop committee to create a plan for implementation of the program. The committee will be searching for artists to teach the workshops as well as volunteers to help with the workshops. The grants is a biennial grant, so the program will be funded through Sept.2018.

Sustainability Committee

Improve our Waste Stream Management
We are pretty proud of our current waste stream management. We have clear processes for dealing with “unsellable” materials which are donated. We recycle all the single stream materials, fabric/clothing and housewares are donated to local thrift stores, plastic film to the grocery store, paints/batteries to hazardous waste, compostables to a compost pile, writing instruments to Terracycle. One stand out is metal which cannot go to single stream. We will implement an additional stream for unsellable metals to a local metal recycler.

Educator Committee

In the next six months, our committee will work on Improving communication and outreach to the educator community by launching an educator-specific newsletter and reaching out to specific audiences that may benefit most from ACR resources, like coordinators of schools’ maker spaces. We aim to raise awareness among educators of existing and planned ACR resources, like obtaining materials from the Center, participating in artist workshops, and visiting website and social media sites for inspiration and sharing. We will also be available to answer specific educator questions and pursue a few collaborations with individuals as time allows.

Center Operations Committee

Increase our Business Hours to Better Serve our Community
We opened our Creative Reuse Center in August of 2015, with business hours limited to Thursday’s and Saturday’s from 10-2. With an all volunteer staff and a mountain of donations to weigh, sort, bag, merchandise and organize, it was what we could manage. Now, a year later, our business hours have risen from 8 to 24 per week, and we are looking to increase that to 30 very soon. We will extend our hours on Saturday to 4pm and begin opening on Friday.

System for Schools, Churches, Enviro Groups, Scouts to Tour and/or Volunteer at the Center
We often have requests from groups to tour or volunteer at the center. We’ve tried to accommodate as many groups as possible but as demand increases, we need to formalize the process. We will work to set up an online request from groups looking to tour/volunteer as well as regularly scheduled times that we can offer tours.

Reach out Goal – Start a Business Donors/Relationship Committee
Some of our best donors are businesses who contact us about the materials they would like to keep out of the landfill. Currently, most businesses are making first contact with us. The committee look for ways to engage businesses for donations.

Board Nominating Committee








board-photo-karenWe are excited to announce our New Board Secretary Karen Miller.

Inspired by Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children at an early age, Karen began diverting interesting and useful items from the landfill, thrifting, gardening, and refashioning at an early age. She has translated that interest into a career as a professional engineer with a focus on waste management, spill prevention, risk assessment, and reduction of stormwater pollutant discharges from industrial facilities.

Karen began creative pursuits through scrapbooking her two children’s exploits. Through scrapbooking, she learned different techniques related to color theory, the use of different media, photography, and layout. Since then, she has truly enjoyed creatively repurposing items into art pieces, yard art, and a funky henhouse. She continues repurposing by developing creative Girl Scout projects for her troops and SWAPs kits for other troop leaders. Karen views her regular stints sorting materials in the Center’s by-the-bucket section as her weekly The Artist’s Way artist’s date field trip as a means to further engender creativity.

We are excited to grow our board and we are communicating with several interested people to fill other open Board positions.


Sharing information and growing community is vital to the success of the organization. We are continuing our efforts on social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Meetup) and Google pages and Yelp.

We have active Facebook and Instagram accounts. Currently, we are posting three to four times per week on both accounts. To increase our presence, would like to post every day on both sites. I’d also like to build up our YouTube Channel and do a monthly blog post.

Working with volunteers from Leap to Success, we are in process of upgrading our website. We have a new theme for the site and are adding more options for content to inspire and educate about reuse. We will continue to make small improvements and maintain content on the existing site.

We are now operating with an Austin Creative Reuse Google G Suite account. This has allowed us to enhance the management of all our documents and will allow us to have gmail accounts for staff and volunteers. We’ll be adding new accounts to help us manage our volunteer opportunities as well as supporting our committees.

Events and Workshops

As we go into our second year in the center, we will start to add demonstrations and simple workshops to our events calendar. We have applied for a grant to run monthly workshops and are awaiting the response to announce further details.

While developing Austin Creative Reuse over the past few years, we participated at many events to build awareness of the organization. For the next six months, we are again limiting our participation at events in order to concentrate our time and effort on the operations of the volunteer center. We are still in need of volunteers that can assist consistently at the center.

Austin Creative Reuse’s First Free Workshops


In the hustle and bustle of the capital of Texas, there lies a little spot where you can really get your creativity on.  Austin’s very own non-profit organization that collects, sells, and distributes donated reusable materials. Austin Creative Reuse believes in allowing everyone to get a chance to be creative.

Austin Creative Reuse received a grant to run a series of eight workshops.  The workshops are focused on creating art using reclaimed materials.  These hands-on events will consist of meeting a featured local artist, learning about his or her art form, and creating an individual or group project.

The first workshop “The Art of Reuse:  Upcycled Upholstery Tote Bags with Laura Mussell” will be held on November 17, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at The Linc — #1301 6406 N. IH 35 Austin, TX 78752.

This workshop is now full, thank you !

To be notified of future workshops, please sign up for our newsletter.

For more questions or concerns please reach out to

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.


Meet Our New Board Secretary, Karen Miller

Karen joined our board in October. You may recognize her face as she has been volunteering at the center for several months now.  Please join us in welcoming her to the Austin Creative Reuse Board of Directors.

Inspired by Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children at an early age, Karen began diverting interesting and useful items from the landfill, thrifting, gardening, and refashioning at an early age. She has translated that interest into a career as a professional engineer with a focus on waste management, spill board-photo-karenprevention, risk assessment, and reduction of stormwater pollutant discharges from industrial facilities.

Karen began creative pursuits through scrapbooking her two children’s exploits. Through scrapbooking, she learned different techniques related to color theory, the use of different media, photography, and layout. Since then, she has truly enjoyed creatively repurposing items into art pieces, yard art, and a funky henhouse. She continues repurposing by developing creative Girl Scout projects for her troops and SWAPs kits for other troop leaders. Karen views her regular stints sorting materials in the Center’s by-the-bucket section as her weekly The Artist’s Way artist’s date field trip as a means to further engender creativity.

Mothering Earth’s segment on Austin Creative Reuse

Mothering Earth host Dr. Salwa Khan interviews Rebecca about Austin Creative Reuse.

To listen to the show go to the segment on Dr. Salwa Kahn’s website Garden Toad Toad Talk.   Listen now

Mothering Earth Radio Show

Dr. Salwa Khan is an environmentalist, media producer and educator. She hosts and produces Mothering Earth, a half-hour program that focuses on issues related to living sustainably and gently on our Mother Earth. Salwa is a dedicated organic gardener, who loves digging in the soil and watching nature in all its glory. In her past life, she was a video editor at the PBS NewsHour and CNN. Salwa also teaches in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University.

Welcome New Austin Creative Staff!

Please join us in welcoming our next set of employees.  Barb Paris has joined us as an AM Shift Lead and Casey Douglas, Michael Balot and Susan Bussard have joined us as Clerks.  Their enthusiasm for Austin Creative Reuse’s mission, knowledge about crafting/art, patience and positive disposition reflect the values of Austin Creative Reuse.

Barb Paris

Barb Paris

” Hi ! I am a mother a teacher and an artist. I taught art  k-12 in public schools for 10 years and currently have my own after school program in Round Rock. I am the co-founder of Marmalade skies , an art studio in Austin TX, and helped to start the children’s museums in New Braunfels and San Antonio.  I was born in NYC raised in NEW Jersey and moved to Austin  20 years ago. My artwork is eclectic and is mostly large scale multi media  paintings.  Many of my large paintings are done on old used doors.”




Casey Douglas

Casey Douglas is a student, environmentalist, and freelance model in Austin, TX. She was a member of Girl Scouts for twelve years and made her fair share of arts and crafts projects growing up. She was constantly surprised by how the troop leader, her mom, would come up with creative projects by reusing and repurposing all kinds of materials. Teaching for AmeriCorps this past Spring reminded her how much she missed serving the community, and she is very excited to be working with another non-profit in town that focuses on creativity and sustainability. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, creating succulent gardens, and dancing.


Michael Balot

Michael Balot

” Hello! My name is Michael Balot, and I’m ecstatic to join the ACR team. I moved to Austin two years ago after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I get my kicks in my free time via disc jockeying, boxing, baking, environmental advocacy, and treasure diving.”


Susan Bussard

Susan Bussard


Colors are the
building blocks I use
to express myself.

Even their names
bring thoughts,
ideas and
surprising combinations
to mind.

They inspire me.

I enjoy a variety of
materials, textures
and processes:

Weaving paper
spinning angora
Koolaid dyeing
knitting…with anything
Cowboy boot making

If I can create beautiful things
and at the same time help make the Earth
a thriving place for future generations,
I am happy.

Why does Austin Creative Reuse have brand new markers? and what is Neuland?


Guest post by Emily Jane Steinberg (


Just over a year ago, in August 2015, Austin Creative Reuse received a windfall addition to its inventory – an extensive collection of Neuland markers and supplies. Since then, the rainbow array has garnered delight, curiosity and surprise. Just what are these specialty markers for, where did they come from, and why do they cost more than many of the other donated supplies that find their way to the aisles of ACR? These are excellent questions – read on to find the answers.


In fact, it’s thanks to their inventor and producer, Guido Neuland himself, that ARC ended up with these markers at all. They are the overstock from a conference of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. While the Neuland booth was selling these markers and supplies at top dollar to professional graphic recorders from around the world, Guido donated the remaining stock (all in mint condition) to ACR – making Austin one of the only places outside of Germany to have its own one-stop shop for Neuland products.

As one of the handful of local graphic recorders attending the IFVP conference last year, I was thrilled when I found this out, and I’ve lost count of the number of trips I’ve made to ACR to add to my collection.

emily_graphic_facilitationNeulands are one of only two marker varieties in the world specifically designed for graphic recording – which, if you don’t know, is drawing on huge sheets of paper, hung vertically on walls, during interactive events. Graphic recorders and graphic facilitators do this to enhance meetings, workshops, presentations, classes and more. We make conversations visible, capturing the threads, themes and emerging stories of the discussions, in words and pictures, in REAL TIME.


graphic-facilitationThat said, the markers work just as well when you don’t have an audience watching you draw! Other folks who rely on these markers include teachers, coaches, advisors, visualizers, managers, and students. In other words, you!

The fact that Neulands are designed for professionals means they are built to last, no matter whose hands they end up in. As Neuland says, they are much more than just a thick pen. Each Neuland marker is designed for a variety of line widths and shapes (with bullet, chisel, and brush tips available). They are all refillable, and when you finally wear out your nib, it is replaceable (ink and nibs available from In the spirit of ARC, these markers aren’t meant to ever be used up or thrown away – so draw on!

Gearing up for the fall, ARC has updated its inventory and display, and still has a supply of brand new, top notch Neuland markers left in stock. So on your next trip to ACR, why not add some more color to your rainbow?

Welcome to our 2016 Fall Intern

Please welcome our Fall Intern, Pooja Panda! We are excited to have her working with on Marketing and Public Relations projects for this year.

pooja1Pooja Panda is currently a Senior finishing her degree in Public Relations from the Stan Richards School with a Business Foundations certificate focused on MIS from the McCombs School of Business. She enjoys to use her creative and analytical skills to come up with solutions for a project. She enjoys painting, writing, hiking, and hanging out with her family and friends. She also loves to cook and come up with unique recipes.