Volunteer work is often associated with giving back to the community. Envision adult Arts Program volunteer Sharon Keagy has the opposite view.
“The students give me much more than I give them,” the Wichita native said. “I hesitate to even refer to them as students, because I consider them friends. I get so much joy and pleasure from being with them and seeing them blossom as they find success.”
The Arts Program is one of the many areas at Envision that utilizes volunteers to assist participants who are blind or visually impaired. Sharon makes sure her friends have all the supplies and support they need to exercise their creative skills in a variety of mediums, including ceramics, sculpture, woodworking, pottery, textiles, mixed media, drawing and more. Sharon, who volunteers once a week on Thursdays, has never considered herself an artist. She’s glad she didn’t let that stop her from getting involved and encourages others to step outside their comfort zones when pursuing volunteer opportunities.
“It’s wonderful to step away from yourself and be others-oriented instead of self-oriented,” she said. “My time at Envision gives me something to look forward to.”
Sharon heard about Envision three years ago when her daughter-in-law Sarah Stewart was applying for her current position as the art education teacher. A retired elementary school principal in the Perry-Lecompton school district in Perry, Kansas and elementary school teacher in Haysville, her first instinct was to do some research. Once she discovered the scale and scope of Envision’s programs, all she could think to herself was “wow!”
She now spreads Envision’s message of hope and acceptance to most everyone she comes in contact with, and that includes the students she mentors with reading at the Woodland Health & Wellness Magnet Elementary School in Wichita. The children especially love to hear the stories behind the pieces of jewelry Sharon wears that were made by Envision artists.
If you are interested in becoming an Envision volunteer, visit the Envision website envisionus.com/how-you-can-help/volunteer-opportunities