AEO Building a Better World Volunteer of the Month: Riley, Photo Studio Production Assistant

AEO associates share our commitment to doing better, being better and building a better world. We’re proud to spotlight our people who are making a real and lasting impact in their communities.

Riley is passionate about channeling her creativity and giving back to the community as a volunteer with her local high school’s musical program. Learn more about she’s forming bonds and helping students find their voice below.

Tell us about your volunteer service! How many years have you been a volunteer?
I volunteer (alongside my Mom!) as a costume designer with the musical program at Woodland Hills High School, located in a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. As a graduate of the program and the school, I hold this organization very close to my heart. I dedicate nearly every day of my winter and spring to the program conceptualizing, sewing, sourcing, and designing costumes, styling wigs, and even crafting puppets when needed.

I have volunteered with the musical every year since graduating and also started volunteering more with the junior high school, even sewing costumes in my dorm room at college!

Why is giving back important to you?
Volunteering with the school means everything to me. The musical program helped me discover my creative side in high school and began my journey into fashion design. I feel like I owe a lot to this program and all of its volunteers. I get to volunteer with my Mom and have created such an amazing bond with the parents and students in the program.

How do you think that being an active participant in your community helps to Build a Better World?
Volunteering in my community builds a better world by helping to give so many kids a voice. The musical creates a second family for students, a network of support, love, and care, whether it be a car ride to and from rehearsal, dinner after school, or even just a smile and a “how are you doing?” to brighten someone’s day. Creating costumes for a high school musical goes beyond sewing flashy clothes for a teenager!

What are some of the benefits you have found in volunteering?
I have become much more involved in my community and built so many relationships, which has been fulfilling. I love getting to see the kids grow into themselves and build their confidence through this program. I am so thankful for this opportunity because I can practice my creative skills that I don’t always get to use every day at work. I meet new people every day, and I learn so many lessons about life and leadership.

P.S. – If you’re local to Pittsburgh, come see the shows!