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Lauren O'Sullivan

"NexGenFriends" is the perfect name to describe the group! When tossing around possible names at an outreach meeting, 'NexGenFriends' just popped into my head! We were discussing the motivations of any individual, regardless of age, to volunteer at the Kennedy Center. Everyone agreed that a love of the arts, and a belief that giving back as a volunteer feeds the soul, was a commonality among all Friends, and that passing the love for the arts and volunteering to the next generation is an important part of our motivation as well. No matter what age, all Friends are united in our dedication to serving the Kennedy Center and the community at large."

About NexGenFriends

NexGenFriends are individuals 35 and under who volunteer at the Kennedy Center, either on a weekly basis or as members of the Festival/Event volunteer program. They actively support the NexGenFriends mission of advocating volunteer support in the arts and promoting Kennedy Center performances. NexGenFriends take pride in volunteering alongside individuals from all age groups — one of the defining traits that makes being part of this group such a rewarding experience.

Why be a NexGenFriend

  • "The Kennedy Center offers me a home away from home with an extended family of volunteers who love sharing their passion for the arts. And speaking as a NexGenFriend, I feel that young professionals will find a fantastic opportunity to make new connections, get involved with a great organization, and open the arts to the next generation."

    Ryan Gallagher, NexGenFriends Founding Member and Sunday Morning Tour Guide

Fabulous *Benefits too!

*Qualification for these benefits are based on volunteer hours contributed and are evaluated quarterly.

  • Special $3 parking voucher for the Kennedy Center Garage for any volunteer related activities;
  • Annual invitation to NexGenTheater Party;
  • *NexGenFriend t-shirt;
  • Invitations to Quarterly Happy Hour Gatherings at the Millennium Stage
  • Quarterly 25% discount in the Gift Shops;
  • *Periodic free ticket offers;
  • *Special invitation to two Explore the Arts events annually including performances and educational lectures.

Why NexGenFriends?

The idea behind NexGenFriends came about at a Friends' Outreach Committee meeting in 2012. Committee members–volunteers ranging in age from late 20s to early 80s—all agreed that it was time to organize the under-35 Friends as a more visible and viable group within the larger volunteer corps. Everyone felt there should be a naming contest among the Friends age 35 and under as an important step in claiming ownership for the group.

Outreach Committee member Lauren O'Sullivan won the contest. Coming up with the accompanying slogan was easy: "Friends 35 and under carrying the torch of volunteering forward." This of course is a reference to President Kennedy's inaugural address of January 20, 1961 in which he stated: "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans."

Upcoming NexGenFriends Activities

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014: NexGenFriends will support the National Symphony Orchestra Women’s Committee Petting Zoo, Halloween Spooktacular!
  • Monday, November 17, 2014: NexGen Happy Hour at the Millennium Stage: Comedy at the Kennedy Center: Chris Gethard and Courtney Fearrington. Invitations will be sent in mid-October
  • March 2-24, 2015: Iberian Suite: global arts remix which will highlight the cultures of Portugal and Spain and the impact they have had around the world, as well as the vast influence this region has embraced from other cultures. Volunteer applications will be available in January, 2015. See Festival/Event volunteering.
  • "Whereas most children dream of one day performing on the stage of the Opera House, I had always dreamed of one day showing those people where the Opera House was located. Being a NexGenFriend gives one the opportunity to volunteer alongside people of all ages and nationalities who have amazing stories to tell about everything that happens behind the scenes."

    Shannon O'Sullivan, NexGenFriends Founding Member