I have been a volunteer for over 25 years and it has been the most rewarding experience. The people at HAI are so wonderful and totally focussed on helping the disadvantaged.Even though they started out helping hospitalized children their mission over the years has expanded to include so much more.Recently they used ther buses to take volunteers to Rockways to help Sandy victims.
I am a new volunteer at the HAI Saturday Art Studio and I relish my time working with this group of dedicated artists who come here each week to connect through art making. I am continually blown away by the art that comes out of this nurturing and supportive environment and am so grateful to be part of this program. As a working artist I find this experience has enriched my own practice by experiencing so many new ways of thinking about art.
HAI is an excellent service organization filling the needs of so many NYC residents. I've personally had the opportunity to volunteer for a large number of their programs across all of their departments and have seen the significant impact that their services have on individual lives. Their after-school programs provide a much needed outlet for hundreds of students at schools throughout the five boroughs, giving them the opportunity not only to express themselves but to learn about new forms of expression by attending plays and performances in this culturally diverse city. Their arts workshops are probably my favorite program. They provide a Saturday Workshop with free materials to individuals with little to no training and who have often been marginalized because of mental illness. I value the time that I've spent serving with HAI, and the positive impact on communities throughout NY that I've personally witnessed as a volunteer with their services. I will undoubtedly continue to serve with them in the future.
I have been a volunteer art instructor at the HAI Saturday Art Studio for almost 3 years, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I often feel that the workshop participants have taught me far more than I have taught them. As an art director, graphic designer, illustrator, and teacher at Parsons the New School for Design, I have found my practice immeasurably expanded through volunteering at HAI. The enthusiasm and creativity of the participants has opened up my thinking about visual art more than I would ever have imagined. Most importantly, I feel like part of an extended family. It is an honor to be part of it.
Because I fell apart after the death of my mother in 1993, I went to a Continuing Day Treatment Program (CDT) to begin to put myself back together. Her death triggered my schizoaffective bipolar type disorder. I was severely, suicidally depressed, and unable to function. My affect was flat. All of my college buddies lived far away, so I basically had no friends. Because of the disorder I could not teach, my passion, and I had no income. I had nothing except for dreary time on my hands. But one day at CDT, we were told about HAI and of a performance that HAI had free tickets for. I think it was Ballet Hispanico. I went, and even though I could not enjoy it at that time, it did something for me. I went to an occasional event that HAI gave tickets to. In 1996, at an Intensive Psychiatric Treatment Program (IPRT), I was in an art group where I was invited to attend the HAI Art Studio--My life started again after that. I had a weekend activity. I made friends. I started doing art, I got cats for the first time in my life and I started painting cats. HAI and Cats put passion back in my life. I began exhibiting my work, and eventually began selling it as well. I now have a second career that I am passionate about, and I am an award-winning Outsider Artist of HAI where I had a solo art exhibit of 60 paintings, and have appeared in international magazines and other publications, all thanks to HAI. (I still attend HAI events.) Now I am on the Board of Directors of HAI, where I do my best to give back to HAI and to give HAI to others who would benefit from the services of HAI.
I have been a performer with HAI for over 20 years. They send us to populations that would never have the chance to hear the quality of music/drama that we can offer. And all of us work there for less than we normally work for, because we believe in their mission. They have struggled for years to serve the under-valued people of this city; the elderly, the homeless, the sick. They are a valuable and needed organization in the City of New York.
Five years ago a friend recommended HAI (Hospital Audiences) as a great venue for volunteering. Since I finally had some time to donate and to “give back”, I started volunteering at HAI. My goal was to provide my services to others by facilitating their attendance at cultural events and thus enhancing their lives.
Little did I know that, thru my years of volunteering at HAI, my life would also be enhanced and enriched!
There are no words to describe my joy at watching someone in wonderment as they experience, sometimes for the first time, a cultural experience which they never would have gotten to see if not for HAI.
I hope to continue to see first- hand the benefits experienced by the community which HAI serves for many years to come.
HAI is an organization that provides opportunities for individuals with Mental Ilness and MRDD patients and others, who canmot afford to go places like the Movies ,Broadway shows ,Basketball games, etc, without HAI most of these consumers could never afford a ticket to these activities . A lot of these individuals isolates themselves , as a Social Service Worker i do my best to make sure that these consumers utilize all services provided by HAI as part of their Treatment Plan , to Learn Socialization Skills , meet new people, learning how to interact and present themselves in public , HAI is the best orginization that provides valuable intertainment to my consumers and individuals with disabilities every where ,HAI continue to do the beautiful work that you are doing with God's Blessings.
HAI has a program for blind and visually impaired people. They describe live theater and when I volunteer for example at the Radio City Christmas show and the kids go up to the describer afterwards and hug them and tell them how much the enjoyed the show, I know I am doing a great thing. Way to go HAI
HAI provides a invaluable source of entertainment and cultural education for our city's under-served and handicapped communities. A diverse array of events are offered to the members of HAI and as volunteers, we have the pleasure of providing admission to these activities, while being able to engage in a very personal and intimate setting. I have had the pleasure of enjoying dance recitals, baseball games, and community dances with our community and have shared their moments of joy and excitement. The HAI program truly makes everyone's lives a little better.