Meet our Volunteers: Sylvia Appel

More Reliable than the Mailman

When you ask Candice Day, Volunteer Manager at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, how she would describe longtime volunteer Sylvia Appel, she says, “Gracious, always smiling and dedicated.”

Sylvia Appel has been volunteering for a variety of organizations for over 30 years. However, for the last 15 years, she has volunteered at the Center, providing assistance wherever help is needed. She can often be found in the Business Partnerships & Community Rentals Department or in the Development Department, helping with filing, mailings, memberships or any other task that’s asked of her.  Her dedication was recently recognized by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County when they named her “Volunteer of the Month” for May 2013.

Sylvia lives in Santa Rosa and travels 10 miles each way by taking two city buses just to get to the Center by 8 a.m., three days a week. Along the way, she has made numerous friends not only on the bus rides, but also with the Center’s staff and other volunteers. “It’s like an extended family to me,” Sylvia said.

It’s easy to see why Sylvia is hailed as a dedicated volunteer. Audrey Rosado, a staff member with the Business Partnerships & Community Rentals Department said, “Sometimes she is only here for one hour and then gets back on the bus, and goes home. When other employees need help in other departments, she will stay longer if needed to help anyone at the Center. Sylvia is not just our volunteer, she is our family.”

One of the many reasons Sylvia enjoys volunteering at the Center is because she enjoys the enthusiasm of patrons when they come out of a show and it enriches the lives of so many people, especially children. “They’re so happy, especially those who have never been in a theater before or have never experienced anything like it. I know a lot of the parents, that’s how they started. They came to shows here and it had such an impact on their lives that they want their children to experience it too,” Sylvia said. In fact, Sylvia has experienced this joy first-hand. “That even happened with one of my grandsons, who I brought here for the first time as a teenager to see the Glenn Miller Orchestra. He has never been the same since. It left such an impact on him.”

Sylvia enjoys volunteering at the Center because it makes her feel good seeing other people happy. “I feel like I’ve contributed something and it’s a good feeling,” Sylvia said.

Sylvia is a true volunteer, who is dedicated to helping the Center. She fully understands the Center’s mission, to “Enrich. Educate. Entertain.” As Rosado said, “She goes above and beyond what she is here for. Sylvia enriches our staff with her creative ideas and go-get attitude, she educates us everyday with life lessons and entertains us with her fun and enthusiastic personality.