Describe the mission, programs, and services of your organization:
Pacific Science Center is an independent, not-for-profit educational institution that inspires lifelong interest in science, math, and technology by engaging diverse communities through interactive and innovative exhibits and programs.
How does your organization engage volunteers?
The Science Center engages volunteers in every department, both behind the scenes and front of house. We have hundreds of volunteers of all ages who help with office, science interpretation, animal care, horticulture, exhibits, events, summer camps, etc. We have lots of great interns too!
How did you come into the field of volunteer engagement?
I’ve been in volunteer management since 1990. My first job working with volunteers was in the Bellevue Art Museum. Before that I was an English language teacher and office administrator!
What are some of the successes and challenges you have had engaging volunteers?
I feel some of my successes come from working with staff to make their dreams for their department come true by providing volunteers who have skills they lack or who can provide the time to complete projects they can’t get to. I love seeing the impact on the mission. Some of the challenges are overcoming objections by staff who have had bad experiences with volunteers or not hearing about problems with volunteers until complaints are made public at a staff meeting. Sigh.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change and why?
If I could change one thing in the world, it would be for everyone to have a place to call home and to feel safe in their home and neighborhood and to have enough to eat.
What is the most interesting item in your closet?
The most interesting thing in my closet is some kimono fabric that I was given when I lived in Japan. I always intended to do something with it, but haven’t yet!