Volunteer Spotlight: Mia Fornoza
It has been a busy summer for the Chicago Studio, from fairs and street fests, to solo shows, and the Annual Blow-Out Sale, but we didn’t do it alone. One outstanding volunteer was there through it all, Mia Fornoza.
Hailing from Geneva, Mia initially heard about The Arts of Life through her aunt. She was intrigued. When it came time to plan her summer placement for her studies at the Ecole de Culture Generale, she reached out to us. Beginning at the end of June, she trained alongside a diverse new crew of volunteers, including a Bonner Scholar from Earlham, an SAIC intern, and our ASM teens. Even from the start, her positivity, kindness, and infectious energy helped her stand out.
Though she was ready and willing to help out, no matter the project, most of Mia’s energy was spent with Dave on the Health Messages Program. They worked every week to review upcoming material, develop presentation strategies, and share the information with a group of 10 artists. Dave recalls working with her fondly: “She was the best health teacher for everyone in the class. It was a lot of fun and now, I’m going to miss her something awful!” Side-by-side, they could be seen leading sets of jumping jacks every Tuesday morning. Her smile and fun personality made the class enjoyable and exciting.
At the heart of everything she did, Mia understood that relationships are the key. When asked about her time here, she listed building new friendships as one of her favorite experiences. She spent the time getting to know each member of the studio and celebrated their unique presence. It really showed on her last day, as artists gathered around her for hugs and photos. We were all sad to see her go leave to resume her studies, but so thankful that we got to know her this summer. And Mia’s parting words to the studio:
“I have gained so much from this experience. I learned how important it is to be grateful for everyone; to be nice and keep smiling. Thank you Arts of Life for letting me intern this summer! I wish you could all fit in my suitcase.”