BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a signature children’s literacy program designed to provide an opportunity for performers, gifted in the art of storytelling, to help develop a love of reading in children and give back to their local communities.
I have volunteered for over ten years as a BookPALS reader. Each week I read aloud to two classes at my local elementary school. The kids and I will discuss the books afterwards, talk about new words or questions it brought up, and often times I will encourage creative thinking by asking them to come up with an alternative ending or to imagine what happens after the last page ends.
If you are a SAG-AFTRA actor looking for a way to volunteer, I highly recommend you consider becoming a reader. It is an incredible way to give back in a tangible and meaningful way while also honing your skills. In fact, after years of reading aloud I actually parlayed my experience into becoming a professional audiobook narrator! For more information and to find out how you can get started, log on to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation website.
In addition to BookPALS, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation also serves a worldwide audience through its children’s literacy website Storyline Online.
I have had the immense pleasure of performing in glamorous pools all over California with the Aqualillies, a stunning and creative water ballet company I have been a member of for the past five years. We create magic in the water for celebrations and events of all kinds and I am continually impressed and inspired by the powerful, healthy, and dynamic women I have become a family with.
One of the highlights of being a 'Lilly, is the ability to give back to organizations and charities fighting for causes I believe in such as the environment, cancer research, and children with disabilities. It has been an honor to swim and dance and help to raise money and awareness for such organizations as Heal the Bay, Swim With Heart, Blue Marbles, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Go Campaign. Check out the cute commercial below I helped create to encourage people to buy 'Green Gifts' during the holidays through NRDC.org.
Getting involved on a community level is an effective way to let your stand up for your beliefs and let your voice be heard, thereby making a difference in the world you live in.
With the volatile political climate we find ourselves in as a nation, I have felt helpless and scared at times by the fear tactics our media and current administration use to try and control the masses for ulterior motives. I have found peace by stepping back, turning off the mainstream news, and showing up, organizing and volunteering with action groups in my own neighborhood.
You can find specific action groups here and get involved with the issue that's most important to you:
Activism works. I encourage you to get involved in something that matters to YOU! xo
Young Storytellers engages creativity through the art of storytelling. Using the timeless techniques of mentoring, collaboration, and performance, they provide public school students with an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life on stage and film. The mission is to inspire young people to discover the power of their own voice.
I have found mentoring young students to help them tell their stories to be one of the most rewarding volunteer positions I have held, and I absolutely love acting in the "Big Show" when their plays are up on stage. I was lucky enough as a child to have a creative, encouraging, spirited mentor and it means a lot to me to be able to pass on that incredible gift to children.