Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” This month we’re honoring a Team Leader who isn't one to waste her days. From orchestrating theatre workshops with kids to hosting karaoke with seniors - laughter is a must when this leader is running the show.
Meet Lauren Maul: Comedian by trade, volunteer by hobby, and someone who has skillfully managed to merge her worlds in beautiful harmony as a New York Cares Team Leader.
While Lauren has been volunteering since a young age, her New York Cares story began just two years ago. She started things off volunteering on Friday Field Trips with the residents of Cobble Hill Health Center, went on to spend her afternoons with young minds on Young Authors and joined Art Explorers (a project she would soon team lead) to give students a creative outlet. As you can probably already tell, a common theme quickly emerged among her projects. One of creativity!
But in addition to creativity, there’s another constant among Lauren’s projects and it’s the effect she has on those around her. Just take volunteer, Theresa's account of her experience working with Lauren:
I volunteered on Assist with the Production of "Charlotte's Web" with DreamStreet for two nights and left with a smile on my face both times! Lauren was great. She recognized that two of us were there Thurs and Sat and gave us different tasks the second night. Nice! She was friendly and kind and has a real passion for volunteering.
After hearing volunteers and Program Managers rave about Lauren, we couldn’t help but go to the source and ask for one of her favorite memories.
“One day in our Theater Explorers project a shy student was scared to perform... Until two of our volunteers encouraged him to be brave and express himself. By the end of class he had come up with an amazing comedy/dance scene about a break-dancing elderly janitor named "Billy". The scene was so great that the rest of the students started chanting "BILLY! BILLY!" as he danced wildly with a mop. It was quite possibly one of the most epic things I've ever witnessed.”
Need we say more? No, but we will.
When Lauren isn't out there running arts programs, she's actively reaching out to Program Managers about special one-off activities that she could do - like putting together "creativity kits" for students or writing about her volunteer experience for websites, like Splitsider and Brooklyn Magazine. Check out a short snippet of a piece written by Lauren encouraging her fellow comedians to take to nursing homes for their next on stage appearance.
Did you know that there are more nursing homes in the United States than there are comedy venues? (This is a fact that I did not have to look up to know is true. There are a lot of seniors out there.) It turns out that the people living in nursing homes are, well… people. Despite their age, they have a lot in common with the millennial audiences you’re accustomed to entertaining: both groups take drugs on a daily basis, watch a lot of TV, and love comfortable pants made of faux-denim. Keep reading Lauren’s article, Comedy’s Hottest New Venue Is a Nursing Home.
Thank you, Lauren, for not only living your volunteer life to the fullest with your wit but inspiring and empowering others to do the same.