Walton Arts Center announces the second year of the Youth Volunteer Corps, which expands student knowledge of careers in the arts. Through a competitive application process, nine local students have been selected to participate in the Youth Volunteer Corps program: Marriah Geels, Natalie Lucas, Chynna Todd, and Branden Watson from Har-Ber High, Sarah Shepherd from Farmington High, David Whisel from Central Jr. High, Madison Whisel from Hellstern Middle School, and April Zenteno from Prairie Grove High.

The semester-long program is an educational and volunteer opportunity for high school students, ages 13 to 18, who have a strong interest in the arts and arts presenting. The idea for Youth Volunteer Corps stemmed from a youth summit at the Jones Center in 2012, during which regional organizations came together to identify ways to engage young people and provide opportunities for high school students in the community. “This program opens all the doors of Walton Arts Center, whether backstage or box office,” says Katie Williams, Walton Arts Center’s learning manager and the program’s facilitator. “We strive to give Corps members an insider view of everything that goes into a vibrant arts organization.”

Youth Volunteer Corps participants volunteer at up to 10 public Walton Arts Center shows and explore different arts-business areas such as the box office, communications and production. They are matched with a Walton Arts Center mentor who specializes in the arts field that interests that Corps member. Members assist in presenting shows and are honored at a culminating reception with their families at Walton Arts Center. 

“I cannot stress enough how much more knowledge I became aware of because of this program. My appreciation and love for the arts sparked and sky-rocketed! Again, I am so appreciative of this experience and how it created a new perspective. It is truly amazing.” —2013 Youth Volunteer Corps Student

Youth Volunteer Corps is an inclusive program and application materials are provided in both English and Spanish. Applications for 2015 Youth Volunteer Corps members will be available on the Walton Arts Center website in Fall 2014.