Volunteer Spotlight: Skylah Zayas

March 16, 2020 by Rachel Olson

Can you explain your volunteer work?

I am an assistant at the children’s clay lessons at The Umbrella, where I help my supervisor, Katharine, teach the kids hand-building and wheel-throwing. I also do whatever Katharine needs, giving an extra hand. This often involves cleaning up.

How did you get started?

My high school teacher, Mr. Flynn, offered me the ceramics assistant position in my junior year. He received an email from The Umbrella’s Volunteer Coordinator, Kathy Warren, telling him about an open position for one. I was selected from portfolio students, and agreed to the job because I love any chance to make art.

What keeps you coming back?

I absolutely love interacting with kids. I never intended to interact with kids, but I love seeing what their little minds make; they’re so creative. I saw someone make a pinch-pot ladybug; it was the cutest little thing. I love art being an “open season” and a break for children to explore whatever’s been in their heads after structured school subjects. I love learning and seeing art everywhere in the world; all human work amazes me.

What school do you attend? What is your favorite subject? What interests do you have?

I attend Maynard High School as a senior in the AP portfolio program. I attend two art classes every day, and I used to eat in them. My interests are anything artistic, and I love to learn new ways of making art. I am a jack of all trades, painting, sewing, quilting, and drawing in my free time. I started pottery a year ago thanks to my volunteer work. I spent a year and a half painting a still life, and I worked on another for two and a half years. Anatomy and art history are acquired tastes for me, as I am an active, hands-on person.

What is your life like? Family?

I live on the outskirts of Maynard, near Acton. The ceramics assistant position brought me to Concord, and I only volunteer at The Umbrella. I live with my mom, and sometimes my sister visits. My dad lives in Winchendon, and he greatly supports my art.

What do you plan to do after high school? College?

I will attend college next year and major in art education and minor in art history. I applied to Monserrat College in Beverly, which is my top choice, UMass Dartmouth, and MCLA, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. I want to be an art teacher to any grade, as I enjoy working with my peers, but also younger people.

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