Tag Archives: community outreach

August Volunteer Spotlight: Vernon Berger

Longtime Austin Creative Reuse Volunteer Vernon Berger is an artist who specializes in Found Object Art. Found Object Artists use or modify objects that are not traditional art materials to create their pieces.

Vernon sees the potential in things and he knew someone could reuse them but it was the nexus of the center, bringing together the artists/crafters and the objects of their creations, that he inspired him to volunteer at Austin Creative Reuse.

“I got involved from the beginning by just looking for reuse materials. That is how I found ACR. I learned about their needs and I ran across people wanting to rid of things and ACR could use these things. It always amazes me what people have to get rid of. I love the hunt and if someone can reuse it, that is a great feeling.”

A conservationist at heart, Mr. Berger is a member of the Master Naturalist for Outreach in Conservation who was raised with the fixit/salvage/reuse mindset. His love of art, advertising and promotion nurtured him to be creative with his surroundings while at the same time; “We need to conserve our environment and make it more beautiful.”

The Austin Creative Reuse Center provides Vernon a source of inspiration for his art and fuels his creativity. The center is a great resource for affordable, related materials for his projects and he likes the creative environment where he is exposed to different materials.

He also volunteers at Austin Creative Reuse because he enjoys helping and inspiring visitors to the center in their creative pursuits. “I like to nurture the inspiration” he says. “It is interesting to get into the different minds of arts and crafts. The mind is a wonderful place to explore. Love it!”

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July Volunteer Spotlight – Jan Bland

Austin Creative Reuse Volunteer Jan Bland

What motivates you to volunteer?
I find volunteering very fulfilling.   I have volunteered for many non-profits in Austin for over 30 years.  I still volunteer for 4 other non-profits full time and 2 part time even while spending around 25 hours per week volunteering for ACR. 


Why Ausitn Creative Reuse?
I was looking for something I could feel passionate about.

How long have you volunteered with ACR?
About 2010 I noticed that ACR was requesting volunteers for an event.  I researched the organization and thought Wow this is a cause that I have been looking for.  I have always loved to turn trash into treasure (upcycling), keep as much as possible out of the landfill and repurpose things instead of buying new.  I began volunteering at the festivals and events ACR staffed around Austin and the twice a year teacher events.  From 2012 to 2015 another volunteer and I began holding once a month Upcycled Craft Nights where the public could come and learn how to repurpose things.  We used the donations we had in storage.  We taught many upcycled crafts over that 3 years.   I had found my passion.  I was passionate about getting a creative reuse center opened in Austin.  I visited other Creative Reuse Centers in other states and yearned to have one in Austin.   When the Board found the funding and the center was leased in 2015 I spent every day I could setting up the shelving, helping write policy and procedures and assist in finding merchandise to stock the shelves.  We opened Sept 18, 2015 and I have been volunteering at the center ever since.
 
 What do you feel is Austin Creative Reuse’s biggest impact on our community?
 We do a tremendous service for a segment of the population that wants and needs a bargain.  Our items are affordable, reusable and unique.  ACR receives a lot of vintage items.  People love to come in and find something they would never see. Several customers have said that they would unable to create their product to sell or carry out their plan if they had to pay full price for merchandise

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for Austin Creative Reuse?
I get inspired by artists and crafts people that come in and tell us what they are going to do with our materials.  I’m thrilled to hear stage managers, props finders, makers, etc. find just the thing that they need.  I love to hear the conversations in the bucket room, the squeals of delight, and the new creative ideas they have when they see an item.
 
Bottom line for Jan:  
This is the best store in town.  I love this place!

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