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DIA Volunteers
DIA Volunteers

Volunteer Award Winner:
Mary Alice White

Art To The Schools - 2003

Fourteen years ago Mary Alice White saw an ad in the paper for Education volunteers at the DIA. Nervous and excited, she arrived for her interview with Linda Margolin, Associate Educator/Public Programs and was thrilled to be accepted into the program where she thoroughly enjoyed the rigorous training year with its classes in art history and the special techniques training. The program gave depth to her already strong interest in the visual arts, for she had spent many hours in the museum as a child, and working in the cultural center area gave her the opportunity to visit more often. She joined the Art to the Schools (ATS) Committee after retiring from a nursing career where she worked as Assistant to the Administrator of Women’s Hospital in the Detroit Medical Center.

Mary Alice is a “doer” who prefers to be part of the group rather than take charge. She has served as ATS treasurer, writing chairman, arranged meeting enrichments, served on the nominating committee and bylaw revision committee. Her personal motto could best be described as “A person who listens, learns.” This skill has given her a deep understanding of people and issues.

In addition to volunteering at the DIA, Mary Alice has many other interests. She works in an adult literacy program as a tutor, volunteers at a nursing home where she assists serving communion to invalid patients, and is a founding member of a humanities class for seniors in Macomb County where she rarely misses a meeting. The group studies, reads and discusses a wide variety of topics where she has introduced many challenging and interesting programs to the group by utilizing speakers from the DIA, the community and Wayne State University.

Mary Alice grew up in Detroit and attended parochial school on the east side. She attended Mercy College for nursing training and later studied at WSU. She did graduate work at the University of Chicago in Labor Relations, honing those skills that led to administrative positions throughout her career. Growing up in a family as the only girl (she had six brothers) gave her an immense sense of self-assurance and a can-do approach to every task.

When asked about her volunteering as an ATS docent, Mary Alice replied, “I derive great pleasure in being able to see and hear so much, but particularly being and communicating with the children.”