"I don't have to be like everyone else to make a difference in the community."
Monica S. Floyd, 32, of Christiana, TN, works two jobs as a respite consultant and case manager. Yet she manages to find time to volunteer as a drama teacher in the visual and performing arts program that she founded for children and youth.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Monica: I am the Executive Director for Generation for Creation, a visual and performing arts program for children ages 7-17. Our mission is “Kids ...where kids have a special place to create.” I have been volunteering my time as the director since April 2001. I teach drama to children, and I have encouraged other art teachers to share their talents in art, dance, drama, and music. The children meet every other Saturday at the Rutherford County Center for the Arts. Generation for Creation produces a Children's Benefit Talent Show each year, where children are awarded for their talents. Community businesses and individuals donate prizes and funds to support the event.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Monica: Generation for Creation, Murfreesboro, TN.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Monica: In my opinion, the community actually benefits more than the children because they get the opportunity to be entertained and spiritually uplifted by the innocence of the children's talents and amazing courage. The children put on plays at the local theaters to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day; children’s plays; appreciation dinners for our sponsors; and the annual Children's Benefit Talent Show for kids ages 7-17.
What inspired you to get involved?
Monica: My mother's death. I was alone after many previous losses, and I needed to do something with the children since I am very maternal. I have no children of my own, but I share my mother’s gift in caring for children.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Monica: I built a relationship with the Rutherford County Center for the Arts to teach drama to children with special needs. I contracted with them to teach classes at the center, recruiting my own students.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Monica: The children encouraging me and asking me, "When are we going to do another play, Ms. Monica?"
What is/was the hardest part?
Monica: Making time to do what I love to do. I have a job and a half, and I try so hard to prioritize the essentials.
What was the biggest surprise?
Monica: When Lynnette Cole, Miss USA 2000, agreed to be the mistress of ceremonies for our 2005 Children's Benefit Talent Show.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Monica: I have learned that God is going to supply the needs of this program, whether I get scared or not. I know this program was a gift from God, and he blesses me every day to water this program. I have changed as a single woman, understanding that I don't have to be like everyone else to make a difference in the community.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Monica: I would advise them to volunteer with programs that they love and know they will support year after year. Volunteers and funding are the backbone of any organization, and it is a very serious and rewarding experience.
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