Day 1 – A Passionate Character School Volunteer
Meet Alice Gallmeyer, a long-time Fountain Streeter who volunteers as a Fountain Club instructor in Character School! Alice also volunteers as a member of the Choir and has been coming to Fountain Street since she was a teenager! She has been kind enough to share her story with us through this interview.
How long have you been volunteering at FSC?
While a high school student, I spent many of my Sunday mornings volunteering with Character School on the 3rd floor. I enjoyed this quite a bit and connected well with the kids. I moved away from Michigan during college and several years post-college, and when I came back for a few months "between things" in 2010, I met some of my Character School kids again as high school students. I volunteered with Fountain Club for a few months and have played that role since my return to Grand Rapids in 2011.
What got you started?
I don't remember what prompted me to get involved as a teen, but in 2010 Patti Johnson, (another Fountain Club Leader), invited me to come and meet the group and participate in a "lock-in."
What do you love about working in the Character School?
I particularly enjoy "dull" moments in between group activities when I get the chance to interact with the youth individually or in small groups. I didn't love high school and it's great to provide support to those in the midst of it. It isn't just about service for me, though; these teens are amazing and I love spending time with them.
What is one of your most distinct memories of FSC?
My batik angel art project from Character School appeared on an Order of Service during Advent circa 1995. Apparently Duncan Littlefair held it up during his sermon and proclaimed, "This is the face of love!" I wasn't there, but my father's impression of that moment has really stuck.
Tell us about a current project you are working on!
Fountain Club is preparing for a service and adventure trip to Northern Arizona. Teens do the bulk of the planning, so I'm mostly excited to go along and provide support! I've helped to plan one leg of the trip in which we'll volunteer at a National Monument near Flagstaff.
What are your future goals?
This year I'd like to ride my bicycle lots and learn a bit of Portuguese.
What have you learned from your many years as an FSC volunteer?
I've learned how to be real about what I can do as a volunteer, and to commit to that wholeheartedly, but to avoid over-committing. The adult leaders in Fountain Club have a good system of taking turns with time commitments, which works really well.
What advice would you offer for current or future volunteers?
Why do you consider yourself a Fountain Streeter?
I enjoy engaging with, and learning from diverse perspectives. FSC is a good community in which to seek out such perspectives. The Christmas cookies are pretty good, too!