MIAMI – The family that volunteers together can grow closer together, if Angela and Dana Deggs are any indication.The mother-and-daughter team who have volunteered for two years with Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts were inspired by their close friend Doris, who before she passed away recently was a volunteer at the Jackie Gleason Center, the Miami Beach Convention Center “and virtually every Olympics,” Angela said.
“She would often invite both of us to watch musicals, the ballet, and whatever she thought was exciting and interesting,” Angela said.
“When Doris was no longer able to volunteer, we wanted to have the opportunity to provide her with access to all of the cultural events she loved. That is one of the reasons we chose to volunteer.”
Another reason, she said, is “I also thought this would be an opportunity to spend more time with my daughter. I wanted to set a positive example for Dana.”
She desribed Dana as “an amazing girl,” an honor roll student who also volunteers every week with another organization, Women of Tomorrow, who already has exceeded the required volunteer hours for Bright Futures and high school graduation, yet still makes the time to help out every week.
By dedicating their time to volunteer at the Arsht Center, they receive complimentary tickets to performances of their choice, Angela said. “We were able to see Lion King and Miami City Ballet in seats that would have normally been far out of our budget. Because of the hours we worked as volunteer usher/photographer/envelope stuffer/craft helper we earned 12 tickets.
“I am quite proud of Dana … instead of using the tickets for herself, she donated eight tickets (that’s 144 hours of her time) to her school’s silent auction. She also gave two as a gift to a friend that would most likely never have the means to purchase the orchestra circle level seats,” Angela said.
“I will spare you me singing ‘Did you ever know that you’re my hero.’ But honestly I feel so fortunate to have a daughter that really believes in being a good citizen.
The two “both love volunteering,” she said — making lifelong friends, having the opportunity to meet so many different people — “although we do have different preferences for shows.
“I could watch every musical that comes to town, Dana not so much. She watches the ballet mesmerized, while I am squirming in my seat like a 3-year old that wants to go out and play! But we both ‘sacrifice’ for the other’s enjoyment.
“Our biggest surprise was discovering that we both enjoy taking pictures of kids and families on the Arsht Center’s Family Day. Dana is a budding photographer. She won two Scholastic Silver Key Awards this year for two of her photos.”
Another surprise was learning, “We actually like the opera! I have met so many wonderful talented people. The cast of The Donkey Show was amazing. Their before performance rituals were heartwarming and amusing. I love feeling like a part of the show, as well as seeing the performers rehearse and perfect each performance.”
Besides volunteering, they both love to travel, go horseback riding, bowl, swim, take pictures and kayak. “Dana is a model, volunteer, amateur photographer, future industrial designer, artist and dog lover,” she said. “Me, I enjoy all the joys and headaches associated with being a mother to a teenager — like teaching her to drive.
Angela said she is “amazed at how quickly the years have gone by. I am conflicted. as I push her to be the best she can be, to get into her dream college hundreds of miles away from home. I want her to exceed her dreams, but at the same time, I would like to keep her tucked under my wing as my little girl.”