At 8 a.m. on a non-school day, volunteering as a docent at a local art exhibit might not be the first place you’d expect to find a high school sophomore. But for Riverview High School student Cameron Greco, that’s right where he and his classmates feel at home.
The students are volunteering as docents for Embracing Our Differences, an annual outdoor art exhibit that celebrates diversity through dozens of selected art pieces. This year, 42 pieces were selected from 6,079 submissions from 52 countries and 42 states. Each pieces is a 12-foot-by-16-foot banner that relates to the theme of valued diversity.
Greco says the opportunity isn’t something he’s doing to meet volunteer-hour requirements — it’s something that interests him.
“It interested me because I’m an actor, and, in my industry, there are all sorts of people,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what background someone comes from, and that shouldn’t stop anyone from working with anyone or being friends with them. It’s a message I hope to help spread.”
As a docent, Greco leads children on field trips through the exhibit and discusses the art and overall theme with them.
“Some of the best art we get is actually from children,” says Executive Director Michael Shelton. “They don’t have the same filters and preconceived notions as adults, so some of the most profound and sophisticated pieces we get come from them.”
The organization hopes to reach young children with its message, which Greco says is his favorite aspect of volunteering.
“It’s like planting a seed in the ground,” he says. “When you teach children about diversity from a young age, and that it doesn’t matter what race or religion someone comes from, it will help eliminate those boundaries of discrimination as our younger generation grows up.”
To learn more, visit Gulf Coast Gives.
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