Volunteer Spotlight: Lucinda Lowe

ALTON — For almost a year, Lucinda Lowe entertained the idea of volunteering at the Riverbender Community Center. Five years later, she hardly thinks twice.

“I enjoy being around the kids,” Lowe said. “We’re giving them a place to go. And it gives me something to do besides work. I can’t sit and do nothing.”

Lowe is a member of the Adult Advisory Board at the Center and currently serves as treasurer. She started volunteering when her daughter, Alton High School senior Emily Lowe, attended the organization’s After School Program.

“Emily attended the After School program and came to every Open Play and Middle School Dance,” Lowe said of her daughter. “For close to a year, I would drop her off at the events. At one point, I just really needed to go inside and see what the place looked like.”

At the time, the Center was recruiting adult volunteers by approaching parents as they dropped students off.

“I remember either John Hentrich or his dad was out front for several weeks in a row telling parents ‘we need volunteers’,” Lowe said. “Finally, one day I just decided I couldn’t do a whole lot because of my schedule, but I’d come in on a Friday night and hangout.”

Five years later, Lowe, who is an area manager for Taco Bell Corporation, rarely misses a RBCC event.

“From the very beginning I would get asked my opinion about things,” she said. “When they started using some of my ideas, it caused me to become personally invested.”

Lowe manages food ordering and helps out in the kitchen. On occasion, she also handles concession sales. But you might find Lowe manning any of several volunteer duties during an event.

“I’ve played all the parts,” Lowe said. “What I like doing best is roaming around during the events. You’re out there with the kids. I’ve played ping-pong; I’ve played air hockey; when I’m walking around I’m always picking up and cleaning and looking for things that need to get done.

“You get the gratification of seeing and spending time with the kids,” she said. “Some just want friends and a little bit of attention. Some need a little bit of discipline in their lives. You discover there are all kinds of different needs among the kids. I just don’t think people realize how important it is to give the kids something different to do; how important it is for the kids to have adults as mentors. Especially with social media today, kids are so caught up on their phones and tablets. They don’t socialize anymore. The Center gives the kids a safe place to go when they’re not at home.”

Lowe said it’s not uncommon now for her to volunteer at the Center 7 to 10 hours a week.

“My job takes priority,” she said. “And then there’s family. But I’m usually careful to work other things around my volunteering time at the Center.”