This week’s volunteer Spotlight’s are Bree Lacasse and Chris Moore. Yes, indeed it is our first dynamic duo!
The couple have been volunteering with the Park since it’s beginning. Bree’s journey began in 2014 when she served as the Volunteer Campaign Manager for the Portland Public Parks Initiative. Through her devotion to the maintenance and celebration of Portland’s public spaces, Bree helped to “Save the park!” Following the creation of the Friends of Congress Square Park, Bree was the fearless leader of all things fundraising. In 2015 she created the Audience Engagement Committee which is responsible for creating the programming that is in the park still today. She helped to run the first ever Congress Square Park Talent Open Call. Every year we hold this same Open Call to decide on which performers we will have fill the space throughout our bustling six-month season! Throughout the years, Chris has volunteered tirelessly alongside her. He worked on the original Campaign to save the Park and played a role in all of the fundraising that happened early on for the park.
Bree served as the organization’s first Executive Director. During that time she applied for the “Heart of Community” grant, which Congress Square Park received. This grant provided 100,000 dollars that funded the additions of the furniture, lights, and sound equipment that are stationed in the park. Now, Bree remains an active part of the Board of Friends of Congress Square Park and Chris and she participate as volunteers with their family in many other ways.
They can both be found in the park on Park Set Up and Clean up Day’s In the beginning and ends of the season with their gloves on ready to prep the park for it’s event season. Each year, Chris puts together the colorful benches which park dwellers enjoy all year. They both support the ongoing sustainability of the park through their volunteerism as Park Stewards. They come in the morning and set up the furniture and contribute to the garden’s vitality on garden days throughout the season. Finally, their whole family has served as Event Ambassadors, who introduce the performers at events.
Some of their favorite events to attend are the Social dancing and live music events. So, before they headed to the dance floor, I asked Bree sitting in the park during the Five Year Supper Event, why would one spend so much time and energy on a piece of concrete in the middle of the city? Her answer was a testament to the true spirit of community that lives in the park.
“There are priceless moments here in which the most affluent people in Portland are dancing to the same music alongside someone experiencing homelessness. And they are friends. And they are enjoying each other’s company in a way they wouldn’t anywhere else. And that is what public space is all about!”
To Chris and Bree, being a part of the sustainability and life force of a piece of concrete in the middle of Portland is worth every moment of harmony they get to witness when they spend time in the Park. And, in the meantime it is fun!
I also asked, for traditions sake, what would be essential in their perfect day. For them it begins, with coffee and breakfast on the stoop of their house with their son, Ollie! Bree enjoys her walk to work through the heart of Portland and past the park each day. As a family, they love spending the day doing outdoor activities like skiing, swimming, hiking, or dancing in Congress Square Park and people watching during a dinner perhaps at a restaurant on Congress Street!
Chris and Bree have been some of Congress Square Park’s most devoted and enthusiastic supporters and we would certainly not be where we are without them. Thank you, Chris and Bree. WE APPRECIATE YOU! (Stay tuned for next weeks spotlight. A hint: we might be keeping it in the family!)
To meet Bree, Chris, and other awesome volunteers in the park, check out one of our upcoming events here: http://congresssquarepark.org/events/
And to learn more about volunteering with us check out: http://congresssquarepark.org/volunteer/ OR contact: <firstname.lastname@example.org>