"Ask not what the Kennedy Center can do for you, ask what you can do for the Kennedy Center."
- Bill Turner, Saturday Tour Guide since 1988
Learn More About What the Friends Do
Today's Friends serve in five primary volunteer areas.
The Friends Administration Office receives volunteer assistance weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers are responsible for the reception desk, clerical needs, computer entry, and other special projects. Willingness to use a computer is required, and training is provided. Volunteers assist other departments on a weekly basis with administrative duties.
Multimedia Broadcasters assist staff with the daily Millennium Stage video broadcast. Job requirements include some experience with camera operation and video production. Candidates must respond well to instructions from Director and work enthusiastically with others. This volunteer opportunity provides hands-on experience with filming live events and web streaming. Training is provided.
Patron Data Specialists, as part of the Information Technology Department, staff this office weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Duties include maintaining patron records in the Kennedy Center master database (adding, updating, and merging database records; fulfilling customer information requests; and working on other projects as needed). Candidates must have a working knowledge of the Microsoft Windows operating system, including the Windows Desktop standards and protocols. Training in database operations is provided.
The *Washington National Opera (WNO) Costume Studio Assistant serve as custom clothiers and assist the Studio staff with the care, handling, repair of costumes, and measuring and dressing performers among other costume maintenance needs. Basic sewing skills preferred and training is provided. Hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The *Washington National Opera (WNO) Studio Receptionist serve as receptionist at the Studio and assists the Studio staff with computer related projects and other administration needs. Additional duties include clerical needs, computer entry, other special projects, and assisting the WNO costume studio tour guides either by giving tours of the Costume Studio or serving has "helpers" for these tours. Tours are given to Kennedy Center members quarterly. Willingness to use a computer is required, and training is provided. Hours are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
*The WNO Studio is located at 6925 Willow Street, NW, Washington, DC and is 2 1/2 blocks from the Takoma Metro station.
Web Research Assistants gather and organize information for the Kennedy Center, National Symphony Orchestra, and Washington National Opera Websites, when needed, as well as other special projects as assigned. Candidates must have excellent writing skills, possess good research abilities, and be comfortable using the Internet and Microsoft Word. Web Researchers volunteer on project by project basis throughout the year and are able to work from home.
Friends volunteers assist the DeVos Institute with various projects weekdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Computer skills required. Founded in 2001 by Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, the DeVos Institute leverages this expertise to train, support, and empower arts managers and their boards locally, nationally, and internationally. Since its inception, the Institute has advised hundreds of organizations throughout the United States, as well as individuals, organizations, governments, and foundations in nearly 70 countries on six continents. Offices are located at the Watergate. Volunteers can park at the Kennedy Center.
The Education Department reception desk is staffed by volunteers weekdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. where they also serve as liaisons for the department. Duties include administration assistance, computer-related projects, and special projects, which include access issues. Volunteers are provided with in-depth training about the various programs in the Education Department.
The Gift Shops are staffed by volunteers seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Shops volunteers provide excellent customer service, take inventory of merchandise, and operate a cash register. A retail background is preferred but not necessary. Computer skills are a must. Training is provided, and volunteers work with paid staff.
Concessions volunteers work with show-related merchandise and interact with patrons before performances and during intermissions in front of the theaters. Shifts and times will vary with weekly programming: Weekdays: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Weekends: 12 to 4 p.m., or 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Knowledge of the arts, a desire to work with the public, and the ability to handle money are preferred. Training is provided, and volunteers work with staff.
Tour Guides staff the Tour Desk Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tour Guides provide free public tours, congressional tours, scheduled group tours, access tours for people with disabilities, pre-scheduled foreign language tours, and VIP tours. The Kennedy Center Tour Program provides visitors with an opportunity to explore theaters, lounges, and Presidential boxes, as well as see the many gifts from around the world. Tour guides must be comfortable addressing and guiding groups of all ages and physically navigating key Kennedy Center areas. Training is provided.
The Visitors Center is staffed daily from 10:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Duties include disseminating visitor information, reserving Kennedy Center tours, assisting with patron accessibility services, updating the events board, and answering general questions. Volunteers also provide visitors with information on services such as free events, tours, performances, and the specially priced ticket program (for senior citizens, students, military personnel, and persons with disabilities). Visitors Center volunteers must be comfortable working with computers.
Additional Volunteer Areas
In addition to the five primary volunteer areas, Friends volunteers also write for the volunteer newsletter, FriendScript, and staff the donor lounges.
FriendScript (Not a regular shift. Friends can write for FriendScript in addition to their regular shift.)
FriendScript, the newsletter of the Friends volunteer program and an official publication of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is written and edited by volunteers and is distributed monthly to volunteers and administration staff and keeps the Center informed on volunteer activities.
Lounges (Not a regular shift. Volunteers who serve three months on a regular shift may apply for lounge duty as a secondary shift.)
Lounge volunteers serve Kennedy Center members in the three member lounges during performances. Duties of lounge volunteers include meeting and greeting current donors, answering questions, providing performance information, serving refreshments before performances and during intermissions, and encouraging interested patrons to become Kennedy Center members. In addition to working a regular shift, a lounge volunteer should be available to staff a lounge at least twice a month at the request of the scheduler and possibly three times a month when all lounges are open for eight performances a week. Volunteers who serve three months on a regular shift may apply for lounge duty.