Why Do You Volunteer?

Why Do You Volunteer?

We know that people choose to donate their time for many reasons – perhaps an organization aligns with their values, they want to cuddle cute kittens, or they get to see a tangible result from their work. We asked three of our Core Volunteers what keeps them coming back to Austin Creative Reuse, and here’s what they had to say:


Vernon Berger

Vernon is an ACR staple, he has been volunteering since before we even had a physical center! A true reuse artist and dumpster diver extraordinaire, Vernon is always willing to go out of his way to rescue materials from the landfill. Over the years, he has driven to every corner of Austin and the surrounding area to pickup from design firms, festival breakdowns, home-bound individuals, Craigslist ads, and more! You name it, it’s probably been in the back of his truck and dropped off at the center. These days, not only does he do donation pickups, he volunteers weekly to post items in our online store. We can’t imagine ACR without Vernon, it just wouldn’t be the same!

I really enjoy everyone at ACR. It’s my crowd of warmth. It’s like the conversation that I hear when I am volunteering, to hear what people are discovering or could create with something they just found. GREAT SOUNDS. Thanks for warmth.


Sandi Smith

Sandi is a relative newcomer to the ACR volunteer family, but she dove right in and it seems like she’s been with us for years! A fiber arts specialist, she has been instrumental in helping us make sense of all the looms, weaving machines and vintage bits and bobs that come through the center. She’s also a champ when it comes to quilting fabric – sorting boxes upon boxes of mixed sizes so they are ready for folding. Sandi is incredibly versatile and takes new challenges head on. She’s been such a welcome addition to our volunteer community! 

I started volunteering with ACR early in 2021, right after I retired.  I had been wanting to volunteer for a while, because I believe in their mission, but I didn’t have the bandwidth to work and volunteer.  But – now!  Wheee!  I am having so much fun being at ACR.  I love the feel of the place.  These are my peeps.  They are friendly and competent and passionate about what they do.  There are many different opportunities to help.  Sorting and folding fabric is the best way to feed my OCD … taking a messy pile and turning it into organized piles!    Volunteering at ACR has been a big factor in me being happy in the beginning of my retirement.  They have given some purpose to my days that might have felt empty.  I look forward to a long career of volunteering with ACR.


Katherine Kraus

Katherine came to ACR as a fresh transplant to Austin! Her moving boxes were barely unpacked when she signed up to be a Core Volunteer. She quickly became a familiar face around the center, taking on organizing projects and leading other volunteers with the ease of a veteran. We knew she had that special something and her incredible knowledge of textiles made the decision to bring her on as a staff member a no brainer. She’s the first paid person to work in our fabric department! [Disclaimer: we asked Katherine about her volunteer experience before we decided to hire her!]

I started volunteering at Austin Creative Reuse after looking for a local fabric store and stumbling upon their website. Their values were calling my name. Conservation through creativity, education, and community- it was everything I cared about in one place! I started with take home projects, I happily measured fabric and priced beads while binging shows. As soon as they were available, I started picking up in-center shifts. I loved it so much that I started coming in two days every week and I never get tired of my recurring shifts. Every person that I have met during my time at ACR has been kind and welcoming. I don’t know that I have ever been shown as much appreciation before as I have when I am working here. Volunteering here has allowed me to meet so many like-minded, amazing individuals and it has been very enlightening. I have been able to learn a lot while in the center, from information on different art mediums to different organizations with great causes. 

I love being a part of an inspiring, creative community and I love that I am donating my time to something that I believe in. I feel that I am finally using my sewing knowledge for a good cause. Every time that I volunteer, I am helping to divert waste from a landfill and supporting an effort to educate the community. As artists and creatives, we have a responsibility to pay attention to the impact our mediums have on the environment. We need to reflect on how we can help with conservation through both the physical aspect of our work (materials etc…) and the messages that we can spread with our work. Austin Creative Reuse is a great place to help with those principals. I am so thankful for my time volunteering in the center and can’t wait to keep helping, growing, and learning!



Comments Are Closed!!!
2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041