Patron Services Managers Mary Maxine Luber and Jenny DeFreece pose for a picture with Volunteer Ken Stewart during a drive-through volunteer appreciation event in 2021. (photo by Dalene Bradford)
No performance, concert or event would be possible without the generosity and dedication of Kauffman Center volunteers. They ensure each patron who comes through the Center’s doors has a memorable and special experience.
“Ever since first coming to the Kauffman Center on opening day when Julia Irene Kauffman welcomed each of us to this world-class venue, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Each time I come, my goal is to help make each patron have that same positive experience. I hope that my love and enthusiasm for the great programming here carries over to our patrons. From the children’s matinees to National Geographic Live to Yo-Yo Ma — there is something for everyone!” — Ann E.
Volunteers are a Crucial Part of the Experience
Kauffman Center volunteers are known for their iconic blue vests that patrons can easily spot while enjoying activities at the Center. In a typical season, volunteers welcome hundreds of thousands of patrons to more than 400 performances, concerts and events — including an incredible 51 in the month of December. These dedicated individuals fill over 16,000 shifts in a myriad of roles across the organization, including in administrative capacities.
Volunteers are available to assist patrons at every point in the building, from the entry doors and the Ticket Office to coat check, the gift shop and at the theater doors. They also assist with community outreach initiatives, work with the landscaping team to keep the exterior of the building as inspiring as the interior and host tours for visitors.
“I love my role and all the people I interact with every time I volunteer. It’s like coming home to friends and family. It’s been one of my best decisions, and I look forward to many more volunteer hours and attending functions.” — Barbara A.
Volunteers are Celebrated All Season Long
As a thank you for their remarkable service, volunteers are invited to appreciation events at the Kauffman Center, like exclusive backstage tours and milestone luncheons. They also gather outside of the building with staff and their fellow volunteers on quarterly outings. They’ve explored art collections at both Arrowhead Stadium and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, participated in private tours of the TWA Museum and The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures and enjoyed outdoor movie nights with the city skyline as a backdrop.
In total, they provide over 60,000 hours of service each year. Their contributions are celebrated annually at the Kauffman Center’s Volunteer Recognition Event, where they’re treated to creations from Executive Chef Laura Comer, performances from local artists and an awards ceremony attended by Kauffman Center staff and board members. In addition, the Kauffman Center staff hosts special Volunteer Appreciation Month celebrations, which have ranged from drive-through parades to trivia nights in Brandmeyer Great Hall.
“It’s a joy to have the opportunity to interact with the other remarkable volunteers, our patrons and the Kauffman Center staff while getting to view a wide variety of the best live performances in the city. Every time I’m at the Kauffman Center, it’s different, exciting and memorable. The training and support for the volunteers is second to none, and there are numerous opportunities to experience growth and satisfaction in time well spent.” — Phil M.
Become a Volunteer
Volunteers come from all different backgrounds and professions. While some have experience ushering, taking tickets in venues or working in customer service roles, most do not. What they do all have in common is that they are friendly, willing to learn and have a deep love of the arts and our Kansas City community.
Those interested in volunteering at the Kauffman Center can complete an application at kauffmancenter.org/volunteer to be considered for the next recruitment period. New recruits will be selected and trained through the Apprentice Program.
Participants in the Apprentice Program are asked to complete in-person training classes and online evaluations as well as volunteer for guided shifts before they are invited to become official volunteers. All volunteers attend an annual refresher training every season to learn up-to-date policies and procedures and to brush up on the Kauffman Center’s customer service philosophy. Additional trainings are offered throughout the year that include the ins and outs of ushering and specialty positions.
“I have been here for over seven years, and I still enjoy walking into this beautiful building every time I volunteer. I truly adore being with our patrons and seeing their happy faces after a performance.” — Joan D.