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Measure of Success

by Katie Grills, Community Relations VISTA

Loyalty is the measure of success for many relationships, and is not an easy trait to engender. Cultivating loyalty takes commitment, empathy, a dedication of precious time and the ability to instill trust into the relationship. In my brief time here at Theatre Action Project, I have seen the power of loyalty exemplified through one of our amazing new volunteers.

I have had lots of email interactions with amazing, eager people who simply cannot wait to volunteer for TAP since I began my position, but I have only worked with a few volunteers thus far. The one that stands out the most to me is Jessie Norriss.

I was anticipating Jessie’s arrival all Wednesday afternoon. I waited diligently at my desk for her as the clock ticked down closer to 3 pm, and as the time sneaked a little past the 3 o’clock hour I looked around the corner and found Jessie catching up with Nitra down the hall from my desk. I quickly learned that Jessie worked with Nitra as a part of the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble.  They shared that unmistakable camaraderie of old friends. I introduced myself to Jessie, stole her away from Nitra, and we got down to work. Jessie and I talked about how we grew up, where we were from, and other things that people share when getting to know one another.

What I could not stop thinking of, though, was the power of a former TAP student giving her precious free time back to an organization that clearly impacted her life. A vignette displaying the power of loyalty played at our headquarters’ kitchen table over friendship bracelet making, conversation, and a continuation of the 4 C’s that TAP teaches its students every day. She was continuing to be a creative artist, a courageous ally for what she believes in, a critical thinker about the needs of the community and a confident leader by stepping up to the plate and giving back .

When Jessie stepped into our office, she completed an uncommon circle of loyalty and commitment. I value and wish to cultivate the same type of experience in all of our volunteers, whether they were former students of the program, or are simply committed to sharing the joy of learning through the arts with young people who might not have the chance to do so otherwise.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the TAP family of volunteers, email me at, and we will get to work finding the perfect fit for you.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

2 responses »

  1. Thanks so much for your lovely words about Jessie! She really is a gift to us, and I’m sure you’re happy to have her in your family.

  2. I have known Jessie since she was born, as she is the eldest daughter of my first cousin…ALL that Katie has written is true, and more. Nice to read it affirming what family members already know. In addition to all those sterling traits, Jessie is a girl with whom you can have a lot of fun.. Have a lovely time at TAP…blessings, Jill


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