Photo: Children from John Anderson Cultural Center stand by their artwork on display in the LOVE Park Welcome Center
Brittaney Foreman, Volunteer
John Anderson Cultural Center
While volunteering one’s time is often considered a noble deed, it is rare to hear about the extensive, positive impact that volunteering can have on a community. However Brittaney Foreman, a volunteer at John Anderson Cultural Center in Wynnefield, learned just how vital volunteers are in helping people “find their paths” and encourages more people to get involved.
Brittaney, a Wynnefield native, works with her father, a Ward Leader and block captain who has always been highly involved with his community. Brittaney asked to volunteer at John Anderson last November as a way to further give back to the community. “It is so valuable to have a place like this here,” she explains. In addition, Brittaney loves kids and admits that her 2-year-old daughter inspired her to work more with children.
“When I started at my center, I didn’t know what to expect,” explains Alberta Gibson, Recreation Leader at John Anderson. “After a while, I got to know the community and all of the groups here at the center. There was one young lady who stood out from the rest. She helped organize and hang numerous art shows within the city, offered help with the art club and whatever the center needed. She was a ray of sunshine and very positive. The children all loved her and looked for Miss Brittaney Foreman every Monday and Thursday at the art club.”
The Nutcracker contest (a contest run by the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Visual Art Program and judged by the Pennsylvania Ballet company) was one of the first projects Brittaney worked on with Alberta and her students, and the memory of this project sticks with her to this day. “You take nothing, like toilet paper rolls, make it into a doll, and you see how excited the kids get. I would have never thought to do that on my own, but I love it,” says Brittaney, who eagerly looks forward to this year’s Nutcracker contest.
In addition to the Nutcracker, Brittaney helped Alberta install student artwork at the LOVE Park Welcome Center. When Alberta received a call for artwork from the Welcome Center staff, she took the initiative to include work from other artists at John Anderson as well as her art club students to be hung along with her personal artwork. As a result, John Anderson is the only recreation center that has had artwork hung in the Welcome Center. When Brittaney was asked about her motivation to help with this project, she said, “I just wanted the students’ work to be seen. “I just wanted to show the kids what their art could be, and who it could reach.”
“Brittaney is an inspiration to me and to others,” Alberta explains. “She always brings a smile and a helping hand! Never underestimate a great volunteer; they are an important part of what makes our center work!”
Brittaney reflects on how her work at John Anderson opened her eyes to the vital need for volunteering and how it helps people grow. November 2014 will be the one-year mark for Brittaney’s volunteer service at the center, and she aspires to work for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in the future. “I want to work for Parks and Rec, not just one center, because they do so much for the community. I hope more people volunteer too.”