Meet USN parent Dara Freiberg who will co-chair Artclectic 2020 and has helped the school through a variety of volunteer roles.
By Shalene France Gray, USNA Volunteer Coordinator
I’m Shalene France Gray, Volunteer Coordinator for the 2019-2020 USNA Executive Board. My goal this school year is to introduce you to some of the incredible folks who devote their time to USNA as volunteers, shed light on the many volunteer opportunities available to you, and, ultimately, encourage you to join us.
It’s almost time for the Sperling Gymnasium to get its annual facelift. Thanks to numerous devoted volunteers, Sperling takes the form of a stunning art gallery each year in preparation for Artclectic. For those of you new to USN, Artclectic is one of the largest fundraisers hosted by USN each year, raising funds for the Endowment for Innovative Teaching to support curricular innovation and classroom excellence. Artclectic events take place over three days (Thursday, October 24 through Saturday, October 26) and offer a diverse assortment of juried exhibitors.
Saturday, October 26 is POPclectic, the artisan market held in conjunction with Artclectic each year. The market has become a community favorite and continues to grow annually. All items found in this super-fun pop-up market are at or below $250. A few years ago, I had the honor of co-chairing POPclectic with the lovely Kim Sandler Rhodes. When she and I were step-up chairs the previous year, we met Dara Freiberg (who was co-chairing the event with another uber-volunteer, Amy Manoukian).
Dara has held numerous titles under the USNA umbrella: Room Parent and MS Advisory Parent, Lower School Room Parent Coordinator, POPclectic step-up chair and chair, two-time Parent Social Host. She also has worked in various volunteering slots over the years. Dara is one of three step-up chairs who will take the reins for next year’s Artclectic, so what better time for Dara to be in the spotlight?
When discussing some highlights of some of the roles she’s had with USNA, she said, “I’ve enjoyed my role as a Room Parent because I feel like it brings me closer to the teacher and all that is going on in the classroom; it also gives me the opportunity to connect with classroom parents and spend more time in the classroom with my kids.”
“Artclectic was one of the very first events I attended at USN even before I had children enrolled in school. As an art lover, it is still one of my favorite events. I love how the children receive art education during their school day, parents come together at the Patron Party, and POPclectic offers a little something for everyone at a comfortable price point, all while serving as an important fundraiser for USN. It is a pleasure to work on this event with a team of very dedicated and creative volunteers and staff.”
“I wish more people realized that there are so many opportunities to help and be involved and that not all are a big time commitment; you can sign up for an hour shift here and there — that kind of help is always needed and important as well.”
Would she do it again?
“Of course," Dana said. "USN has given so much to my kids and to me, and I want to give back. Plus, it’s fun. I’ve gotten to know some wonderful people that I would likely not have crossed paths with otherwise.”
Dara and her husband Craig have two sons at USN: Asher '27 and Rory '31. Outside of USN, Dara serves as the Membership and Development Director for the Gordon Jewish Community Center. She is also a certified cycling instructor who teaches classes at the GJCC in addition to her day job. Dara and her husband enjoy watching their boys play soccer on various fields around town as well as traveling and trying every new restaurant in Nashville.
To learn more about available volunteering opportunities, you can read their descriptions and can complete the volunteer sign-up form simply by clicking here
The next monthly USNA meeting is (open to all) will be at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, October 23 in the Gordon Multipurpose Room. We do hope you’ll join us.