Guest Post: Meet The V.I.P. Committee

Laura Carter_spare parts guest blogger
Laura Carter, Communications Director Providence Catholic School

If you were to ask me why the spare parts inaugural fundraiser–V.I.P. (Very Important Party)–is the ‘must attend’ party of the year, I would have to say it has a great deal to do with the event committee. Each committee member is working with great enthusiasm to create an event which will be fun, educational and inspiring! This diverse group has a common passion that drives them to contribute time, energy and funds, to support Ms. Cantu and spare parts. So, without further ado, may I introduce some of our V.I.P. committee:

Carla Berryman: Fourth grade teacher at St. Paul Catholic School, wife and mother of two boys Gunner 19 and Logan 22.
“I got involved with spare parts out of a necessity to find cheap/free supplies for my classroom as well as school. My room has become the “wal-mart” of the school. Teachers seek me out first for supplies before going anywhere else. I believe that the spare parts motto of our Art Club: “All we have is All we need,” is something we should take very seriously. I have also been involved with spare parts long enough to see materials cycle back around. I find that really super cool!”

Giovanna Carrola: Artist/photographer, Art Educator at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, mom to two AwEsoMe! teenage daughters and married to Frank.
“I became involved with Mary Cantu and spare parts when I responded to a request for volunteers to help them move from one location to another (after the first teacher giveaway). I have been around since! I offered to help spare parts because it is an organization which I believe in. The mission to reduce/reuse/recycle is important to me, not only as an art teacher, but also as a parent and person on this earth! I am so proud of Mary Cantu and her efforts in this movement…she is on to something B I G!!”

V.I.P. committee members: Diane Dixon, Shirlene Harris, David Frank, Jennifer Herrera & Kelly Schaub
V.I.P. committee members: Diana Dixon, Shirlene Harris, David Frank, Jennifer Herrera & Kelly Schaub

Laura Carter: Day job-Communication Director Providence Catholic School. Otherwise engaged as nonprofit advocate and blogger. Married to Richard Irons, Pastry Professional, mother and grandmother.
“I became involved with spare parts because I see it as a combination of essential elements I believe very important to our community–education, art and environment. Mary is doing an amazing job with growing the program’s outreach. I enjoy the mix of people and ideas, and learning how to be a reuse crafter–a real stretch for me!”

Diana Dixon: Advertising Design student at the International Academy of Design & Technology (IADT).
“I was a student of Mary’s and found out about spare parts during my classes with her. This term, I chose a hands-on project with spare parts for my project management class. I fell in love with the organization, and am now volunteering for spare parts for more than just a grade in school. I love that spare parts has an annual giveaway where teachers get materials for free to use in their classrooms–materials that they would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket since so many school budgets for the arts have been cut.”

Samantha G. Guerra: Admin Assistant in Bexar Co. Probate Court 2, face painter, blessed to be “Mom” to two beautiful teenage girls and “Wife/Friend” for 25 years to a really great guy.
“My involvement with spare parts is very new and quite fortuitous. I believe a life without art, imagination, giving and caring is lacking. Mary’s vision and mission reflect these important life components and enriches all who are fortunate to participate with and benefit from spare parts.”

V.I.P. committee members: Pak Leung Lai, Lorena Alvarez, Dezarre Boone, Giovanna Carrola, Sarah Dunckel & Deborah Mireles
V.I.P. committee members: Pak Leung Lai, Lorena Alvarez, Dezarre Boone, Giovanna Carrola, Sarah Dunckel & Deborah Foster-Mireles

Deborah Foster-Mireles: Day job-Accounting Tech II at Baptist Child & Family Services.
“I became involved with spare parts in September of this year through my daughter (who is a student at IADT) which is assisting with spare parts projects. I find spare parts to be a great and exciting organization working toward improving our community and it’s environment by its reuse practices, teachings and sharing. Everyone works very well together sharing their thoughts and ideas. Way to go Team, Keep up the great work!”

David B. Frank: Social entrepreneur, media and marketing creative, arts education advocate, dedicated father and friend. Founder of ArtGives.Org and Say It With Photos, LLC.
“I was fortunate enough to have met Mary Cantu when spare parts was first born. Mary has the passion, vision, dedication and determination necessary to develop spare parts into a strong community resource. ArtGives.Org and our team of media and marketing partners will continue to provide support for spare parts because their programs are important to the well-being of the entire community.”

Jennifer Herrera: KLRN Community & Media Engagement Manager.
“I enjoy volunteering with nonprofit organizations such as Gemini Ink. Through the power of social media, I followed Mary Elizabeth and discovered spare parts. Mary’s passion and drive led me to become involved in the group, while also learning about being more resourceful with everyday materials.”

Lori Schnedler: Works in the finance department for the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency in downtown San Antonio.
“I also help to coordinate our hotels’ Green Teams and environmental programs. I was looking for a green project to do with the children of our associates at our annual holiday party, and after searching the internet, I found Mary and spare parts. I immediately felt connected to her purpose and mission and I quickly became a supporter. I am committed to helping in whatever way I can to further her efforts and grow her organization into the success I know it can be!”

V.I.P. committee members: Marty Taglauer,  Lori Schnedler, Jeanne Cantu, Laura Carter & Samantha Guerra
V.I.P. committee members: Marty Taglauer, Lori Schnedler, Jeanne Cantu, Laura Carter & Samantha Guerra

Jeanne Cantu: A retired educator who is a firm believer in reusing which leads to saving money and reducing landfill waste.
“Classroom teachers spend so much of their own money to provide resources for their students’ projects. Spare parts offers teachers a way to acquire materials for free. Jeanne is the daughter of who she believes is the original ‘reuser queen.’ My 96 year old mother has practically zero waste. Reusing is possible and necessary for us all.”

spare parts summer internship exit interview – The results are in!

Time flies when you’re organizing, emailing, publicizing, writing curriculum, dancing, laughing & taking pictures! Our last official gathering was last week at Los Cocos Fruteria y Taqueria but the pictures below were taken on the last day at Wonderland of the Americas earlier this month. We’re super proud of this team & look forward to staying in touch with  Chris, Dezi, Lisa & Pak! Here are their words from their summer with spare parts.

Monico O. Vitela (top left), Adrienne Teeley (top right), Brian Macias (bottom left) & Marc Korinchock (bottom right)
Dezarre Boone (top left), Pak Leung Lai (top right), Chris Castillo (bottom left) & Lisa Callender (bottom right)

1. spare parts’ internship is officially over, what are you planning to do with the extra time?

ChrisWhile the spare parts internship may be over in theory, the connections & actions that we have put out into the universe still have a momentum. spare parts can’t get rid of me that easily! I’ll still be around with my camera. 🙂 I’ll just be able to sleep nine or more hours a night again!

DeziI am planning to look into more universities & finishing my senior year at Providence Catholic School. I will also continue making eco-friendly crafts & regular crafts.

Lisa: I’m now working for Advise TX through Trinity University, a branch of the National College Advising Corps. This program trains recent graduates as college advisers & places them in lower-income high schools around San Antonio. We help students with anything & everything surrounding the college application process. I will be the college adviser at Harlandale High School.

Pak: I just graduated in college with an international business degree. Right now I’m in New York City for a while to explore the big town overflowing with different cultures, architecture & possibly network with people & businesses to look for jobs. 


2. What was the best part of your spare parts internship?

Chris: The best part of my spare parts internship was putting names to faces at the materials giveaway. Meeting teachers & hearing their stories about how important our volunteer efforts were in their classrooms gave some closure.

DeziThe best part was working with the kids during the spare  parts art camp!  I really loved working with kids because they have huge imaginations. We had a lovely bunch of kids that inspired me to become an art teacher.

Lisa: Working with the spare parts team. We had such a collaborative, supportive & fun group of crazies that made this experience so worthwhile.

Pak: The entire internship was the best part! The people who chose to donate stuff to spare parts chose to make a difference to create more artistic opportunities for kids in San Antonio! I also just love the idea of recycling & reusing materials for art making or something that doesn’t end up in the trash. Our earth can’t take any more waste. spare parts also stands for less consumption–it’s time for everyone to go green!


3. What was most challenging?

Chris: The most challenging aspect of my duties included keeping registration & questions maintained. Following up with hundreds of teachers’ email correspondence with organizational language & professionalism is fun!
DeziSaying goodbye to everyone!  It was a blessing working with such talented people.

Lisa: Receiving donations during the setup of the storefronts at the last week before July 26. I loved that people really wanted to donate to spare parts after they heard about the final giveaway day, but the last-minute organization was stressful!

Pak: Since spare parts doesn’t have a permanent space & is based in all volunteer time, every summer we have to start over from beginning & organize everything from accepting donations in a different location. Then we have to communicate everything to the teachers, individual donors, participating organizations, companies through social media and other avenues of publicity. The good thing is we had a strong community to help out, awesome teamwork within the interns & the founder Mary E. Cantu to lead. This summer was a complete success! 


4. What should spare parts should do next?

Chrisspare parts will be starting negotiations for a world peace treaty shortly. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates! Actually, spare parts should strive to be the recipient of a generous grant, start a capital campaign, or partnership to establish physical headquarters with a loading dock & storage, cultivate a diverse board of directors, hire financial/material donor expansion associates, find a pro-bono legal expert, create digital archives, downloadable content & resources, an audio/visual repository of stories at every level of reach, galleries-both physical & digital-to show the world what spare parts creative reuse looks like & hire an education team for workshops, demos, blog postings & special events. The sky is the limit! Now, let’s make it happen.

Dezi: TAKE OVER THE WORLD! I believe spare parts can truly change the way people look at reusable & recycled items.

Lisa: Take it global, baby! But seriously. More organizations like spare parts need to exist. Art education can thrive when kids realize they already have the tools & the materials to foster their creativity, right at home.

Pak: spare parts need a home! Hopefully spare parts will seek a sponsor that can provide a big permanent space for them so they can accept donations anytime of the year, hold workshops & events & of course have more giveaways to teachers! And I hope spare parts will get grants from the city to grow further in the near future & help more teachers.


5. Anything else you’d like to share?

Chris: Incorporate spare parts into your life. Your home, classroom or workplace is a creative space where meaningful change can happen. “Trash is the failure of imagination!” -Aaron Kramer

Dezispare parts helped me secure my decision of becoming an art teacher. This internship has really helped me gain real life experience I will definitely need in the future.

Lisa: Trash really is failure of the imagination! (Quote by Aaron Kramer)

Pak: My hometown Hong Kong is one of the most wasteful cities in the world. My goal is to bring this awesome spare parts idea back to my hometown & organize & start a spare parts over there to help with teachers & youth. The most important thing is to reduce waste by recycling & reusing materials into fantastic artwork.