Tag Archives: spotlight

June Volunteer Spotlight: Charlene Ansley

Charlene, right

What motivates you to volunteer?
That’s an interesting question.  I guess I’ve never thought about motivation, it’s just something that I do.  In retrospect though, it’s almost always a joyful experience and it gets me out of my own head.
Why ACR?
ACR is the perfect combination for my love of the arts, my compulsive recycling, and my concern for Gaia and her creatures.
How long have you volunteered with ACR?
The first time I volunteered for ACR was a free-stuff-for-educators event that was held in Harley’s back yard (one of the original founders) where supplies were laid out on the grass.  I’m not sure when that was but ACR’s come a long way since then!
Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?
Both, I think, but there’s another aspect of ACR that I really appreciate and that is that it’s such a well-managed organization.
Where else have/do you volunteer?
When I lived in Midland and my kids were younger, I volunteered for Meals on Wheels, my church, and the League of Women Voters.  I ended up getting a job in the Texas office of the League when I first moved to Austin.  Then there was a block of several years when I had so many part-time jobs that I didn’t have time to volunteer, but now I’m able to again and mostly volunteer for my neighborhood association and ACR with an occasional green space cleaning gig.
What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR? 
There are several layers there.  First, the people. The folks associated with ACR, staff, volunteers, and customers are such fun, interesting, good peeps.  I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Then there’s the stuff!  The thrill of finding that amazing treasure in a box of donations or a vintage something or other that brings back memories is intoxicating.  And really, where else could I find the kind of tasks that are a zen meditation for me, like untangling a huge wad of yarn, organizing seashells, sorting marbles, taping scads of bits of ribbon, stamping merchandise tags, and more?
Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?
When the shop first opened there was a barrel full of red plastic 2 lb. coffee containers in the bucket section.  I thought they would never move, but while I was working one evening a kindergarten teacher discovered them and was so excited to have her class make crowns out of them that she bought them all.  Every one. That taught me to avoid rejecting something when sorting that seems too crazy because there’s usually someone who will love it and it will find its home.  I treasure overhearing people make those kinds of discoveries when I’m on the floor.
Thank you, Charlene for all your contributions to ACR! Charlene has been volunteering with us since before we even had a physical center and we can’t imagine ACR without her!


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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2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041