Volunteers in the Spotlight:
February's Reel People
Remember the last time you where in the Big Tent at the Festival enjoying a tasty sandwich and perhaps a satisfying Dogfish Head beer? Do you remember what you did with the sandwich wrappings and bottle when you were finished? Well Perrin Smith does…vividly. And carting those empty — and sometimes not so empty — bottles in her car from the tent to the recycle dump was one of her least favorite volunteer jobs. But Perrin spearheaded the idea of recycling at the Festival and is the “can-do” kind of person to see the job completed — no matter how icky the details. Fortunately, last year, the Film Society was able to contract with a local recycler to pick up the bottles from a dumpster on site, eliminating the need for Perrin to tote the smelly mess in her car.
Perrin Smith is always a “can-do” person. She has volunteered with the Film Society since 2004, and served on the Board of Directors for the past six years where she was Board Secretary, then Vice President as well as Chairperson of the Outreach Committee. This year, Perrin is serving as the Chairperson of the committee that puts together the annual What Makes Us Tick film event. “I was interested in expanding our community outreach and collaboration with other community groups,” says Perrin, “and in helping the Film Society grow to a year-round organization. So, my volunteer efforts center around that.”
Wendi Dennis, Outreach Coordinator for the Film Society says, “Perrin is a great a asset to the group. Her profession as a mental health worker and her love of film help smooth out the film selection process for the What Makes Us Tick series.”
If you follow the Film Society, you know Perrin’s efforts, together with other Outreach Committee members and the Film Society staff, have paid off. Every month of the year you will find several film events presented by the Society. Just visit the Calendar page on this website and see for yourself.
Perrin has been involved in most every operational aspect of the Film Society. And while her claim to fame may be Outreach and recycling, she has also been integral in the areas of year-round fundraising, membership, and theater management at the Festival. “I've really enjoyed the friendships I've made with other volunteers, board members, and staff. It has been very satisfying to see all the various programs we now have going on during the year.”
When Perrin is not spearheading new programs and activities at the Film Society, she works as a child and family therapist in a private mental health practice in Lewes. And she loves spending time with her family outdoors.
Perhaps the love of the outdoors is what spurred Perrin to become passionate about recycling at the Festival. All of us on the Film Society staff and Board thank Perrin profusely for her tireless efforts to keep the Festival environmentally-friendly.
Perhaps we can honor Perrin by naming a recycle bin after her.
Or maybe not!
If you are lucky enough to volunteer with Charlotte Dennis at the Film Society, you will end your shift not only wanting to spend more time with her, but also with a great respect for the dedication and tireless work ethic she exhibits. Charlotte is a fun, high-energy, excellent communicator with a “let’s do it! spirit….which isn’t surprising since she retired last year after 29 years as an Educational Assistant for elementary school children in Berlin, Maryland. Imagine the communication skills, and energy needed to engage a pack of 4 to 10 year-olds daily for that length of time.
Charlotte has been volunteering with the Film Society since 2005 throughout the year and at the Festival. She has volunteered in all positions in the Festival Big Tent except the Beverage Booth, she says, “I wouldn’t know what to mix!” Throughout the years she has volunteered to sell pre-Festival tickets, take and sell tickets at other events, look up films on the Internet, help keep the film library updated, reorganize the membership files, pre-screen children’s films for certain events, “anything that’s needed”. she said. “I have loved watching movies since I was 5 years old and went to the Everett Theater in Middletown, Delaware every Saturday with my parents. I want to see the Film Society continue to be successful. ”
A Film Society staff member says “Charlotte jumps in and helps with anything. Her energy is truly contagious and her help greatly appreciated.”
When asked how many hours she typical volunteers at the Film Society, she replied “whenever they need me.” Charlotte is being modest. She typically volunteers more than 120 hours a year with nearly 70 of those hours being at the Festival.
When asked what volunteer work she enjoys most Charlotte said “I like to see one or two films at the Festival and then speak with other Festival-goers about the films while working at the Merchandise or Information booths in the Big Tent. I just really, thoroughly enjoy speaking with other attendees. I spoke with kids for so long; it’s nice to speak with adults!”
When not volunteering for the Film Society Charlotte likes to take day trips and go antiquing. She also enjoys raising flowers, African Violets in particular. “I love the Eastern Shore. I have been here most of my life and can’t picture being anyplace else. Anytime you need me, send up a flag, but don’t email me, I don’t have email.”
So if you would like to speak with this engaging, lively volunteer, you best sign up to volunteer for something, because you won’t get her on email, and she rarely sits at home.