Volunteers gear up for the UPAF Ride for the Arts

The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) is ready to kick off their annual UPAF Ride for the Arts. This ride is considered one of the nation’s largest one-day recreational bike rides and has raised over $8 million dollars to support over 30 art organizations in the region.

First Stage is proud to receive funding from this organization every year and to have two very enthusiastic volunteers to help out.

Heather Crouse and Nicole Weeks are preparing to embark on their third year as Downtown Sentry Co-Captains for the UPAF Ride for the Arts.  They volunteer countless hours leading up to the Ride.  Heather is a proud Academy alum and proud parent of Megan Grizzle, a current Academy Student and Young Performer. Nicole is the proud parent of current Young Company Student Corwin and Academy alum Fiona, both also former Young Performers.
(From left to right) Nicole Weeks, First Stage Managing
Director Betsy Corry, and Heather Crouse. 

Why is First Stage important to you and why are you involved?
Nicole: Over the past 16 years, I have seen the impact that being involved with First Stage has on students. The relationships and attitudes at First Stage nurture the attributes that help young people develop into kind, respectful, confident and accepting adults. I’ve been blessed to have met so many wonderful teachers and students over the years who represent this in every way. I want to do all I can to be sure more people like that get sent out into the world!

Heather: It’s important to me as a parent to give back to an organization that is giving my daughter and her friends an incredible education.  I believe in First Stage because I truly see it provide a place for tomorrow’s future to be themselves without judgment from their peers.  I know what involvement in the arts can do for children and it’s important to me to actively support that mission.

Why are you involved as a volunteer with the Ride?
Nicole: It is an honor to represent First Stage and to be a part of the relationship with UPAF. I love interacting with people who treasure every aspect of the performing arts – it’s a wonderful common theme to have with more than 7,000 people gathered in one place! (Plus, Heather’s crazy antics make it even more fun!)

Heather: Because I’d be hard pressed to pedal out 5 miles on a bike!  Seriously though, I think supporting the arts as a whole in the greater Milwaukee community is important.  I love being able to represent First Stage, talk about our mission to people who are not familiar, and meet other people who love the arts as much as I do.

What will your waist-wear look like this year?
Sign up to ride or volunteer, and you shall see! 

Volunteers: Patrick Schley, Dan Schley, Heather Crouse,
 Megan Grizzle, Nicole Weeks

Register to join the First Stage team by April 30th at www.upafride.org and choose “I am an individual signing up as a member of a team,” then selecting Team “First Stage” from the menu, using the password Teamfs.

For volunteer opportunities, check out our volunteer page on our website or visit the UPAF volunteer page to sign up directly. Make sure to mention "First Stage" as a Member/Affiliate Group!

Thank you for supporting First Stage! See you June 1st

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