The art of volunteering …
Alysia Scazafabo loves frolicking in The 570 so much, she claims she still has some coal stuck in her knee from playing around the mines as a little girl. The Scranton native is not only the Community Outreach Coordinator and Public Relations Analyst for Penn Foster, she’s involved in many local organizations looking to make change a reality in the Electric City. Of Penn Foster’s core values, she is in charge of implementing goal #6: Take care of the earth and give back to the community in which we live and work. Through her love of helping others, volunteering and the arts, Scazafabo is spearheading the Paint a Peach art contest. The event gives interested parties the opportunity to decorate a 4X4 Peach to be displayed at First Friday as well at the Allman Brother’s Peach Music Festival when it comes to town in August. She wants you to join her and get up and make a difference in your community. Meet Alysia Scazafabo…
What committees and organizations are you involved in?
The Lackawanna County Department of Arts and Culture, the Arts Culture and Education Council, the Anthracite Heritage Museum Board, First Friday, Scranton Tomorrow, Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Leadership Lackawanna, United Neighborhood Centers and some work for the Friendship House. The events I am working on are Paint a Peach, Art in the Park, Arts on Fire and The Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces.
Have you always been outgoing and involved?
I’ve always enjoyed event planning. I didn’t realize that I could until I started volunteering in the Arts and Culture Department. One thing led to another and another person and another activity involved with the arts. I never knew that I would be in charge of the things I’m in charge of (along with the other committee members) and would enjoy it so much.
When did the arts become something that sparked your interest?
I saw my kindergarten teacher and she said she still had a bird that I made for her. I have always been drawing, decorating, working with construction paper and glue and being a mess and ruining a lot of the plastic cups in my house with paint. I thought it was something everyone did. I didn’t realize I had a talent until people were standing around me when I was drawing.
Now you are combining event planning with the arts.
I get to volunteer for art. I get to work for art. I get to plan events for art. I plan events for work too and we are all working for the students to better their lives. You volunteer to help and I am very blessed that I get to do what I always loved to do for work. Ultimately, these are people’s lives we are changing; people who couldn’t go back to college and are now getting a chance to have a career. We have thousands of students and I get to talk to them. The stories you hear every day are amazing. People had to work and couldn’t go to school and now they are presidents of banks and successful because of our school. We are changing lives every day. They say when you work and do something you love, it isn’t work.
What words of wisdom can you give artists out there looking express themselves?
Volunteer; find something that you love and volunteer. Make yourself get involved, even if you have to do a couple things for free to get your name out there. Get involved and meet people. You’ll feel good. Get out there and do something. Find a place where you fit, where you’re passionate, where you want to be and be there!
Talk about the Paint a Peach contest.
The Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain approached the Arts and Culture Department and I volunteered. Organizations, artists and anyone interested can paint the provided 4X4 (wooden peach) for their own promotions. All we ask is that “Peach Music Festival 2013” and “Montage Mountain” are displayed somewhere on the peach. They’ll be displayed throughout the city on First Friday, with proceeds going to the Artwalk. The peaches will then be displayed at the festival.
Talk about the award-winning Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces?
It started as an idea on the couch two years ago. At one point, it was going to be a pig roast and it snowballed into the first bonfire with about 400 people (all through Facebook publicity). Last year, we brought in an amazing team of people and had over 1,000 people attend. We already started planning for next year. We hope to raise money to keep the Iron Furnaces standing.
What’s your ideal vision of The 570 by 2020?
I would like to see the area take advantage of the resources here; the architecture, the artists, the education we have available. Use what we have here. We have a lot of fun things going on. I think people should get involved. You want to see a change; help change it. You want something to be better; help. If you have an idea, tell somebody.
— tom graham
For more information about the Paint a Peach contest, email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Paint a Peach” in the subject line. Starting at the April 5 First Friday, peaches will be available for distribution. Awards will be given to the top three peaches. The cost is $25 to sponsor a peach with all proceeds benefitting First Friday Scranton. Peaches will be available until July 26.