Volunteer of the Week: Sharon Harnden, of Dowagiac

Sharon Harnden, of Dowagiac, is the treasurer and past president of the Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters, which hosts a number of events every year to benefit local choir students

How did you get involved with the Fine Arts Boosters?

I started in 2009 my second husband died, and we had one of the choir members sing at the funeral. We wanted to pay for her time, and I was told we couldn’t. So, I decided we had to give back in some way, so, eventually, we started the boosters. I stepped down about four years ago, but after [Harnden’s late daughter Carol Novak who was also involved with the Fine Arts Boosters] passed, I decided to step up and help out. Carol was very passionate, and so am I.

What types of things do the Fine Arts Boosters do?

Sharon Harnden

The major fundraiser is the Rubber Ducky Race we hold every July during Summer in the City. The funds we earn go toward scholarships for an outgoing senior. We also give two middle school and two senior high students scholarships to go to Blue Lake [Fine Arts Camp] or they go out here to the college.

What is it like volunteering with the Fine Arts Boosters?

Well, it keeps me busy. We are busy all year round, between the Christmas, Thanksgiving and summer events we do. Anything we can do, we do it.

What do you like about volunteering with the Fine Arts Boosters?

I love working with kids. You can see there are a bunch of good kids out there. They really do care. My daughter was the “choir mom,” and now I’m kind of the “choir grandma.”

How would you encourage others to volunteer with the Fine Arts Boosters?

Come and see what we do. I would say that if you join the Fine Arts Boosters, you get to stick around and see what the kids do after school. You will become more involved in their school life. If we can get the parents to come around, that would be neat. I haven’t had kids in school since 88, and I’m involved.

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