By Carolyn C Coulter
John Ephland, one of RAWK’S fabulous volunteers, has lived in Kalamazoo, MI for about 21 years but is originally from Chicago, IL. Ephland has been with RAWK since March 2018 and has shown nothing but excitement to be a part of RAWK’s programming. Ephland says, “The more I volunteer, the more I learn why I started volunteering in the first place.” Ephland says the reason he volunteers has to do with one question: what would you do if you didn't have to do anything? There is no necessity to do anything but live. His answer, of course, is exactly what he does here at RAWK, volunteer.
RAWK isn't the only volunteer work Ephland does as he is also a part of KNOW (Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War) and Voters Not Politicians. Ephland thinks these organizations creates a positive buzz amongst the community and is important work. Ephland’s duty as a volunteer has been to educate and stay in touch with the community.
This is why Ephland enjoys the RAWK community so much, because he is able to be involved in students’ lives for two to three hours a day, and because it keeps him connected with the younger generations. Ephland says the RAWK volunteers and workers are key to his experience at RAWK. He loves the post-workshop discussions they have, the flexibility to adjust programming in order to achieve better results, and giving one another constructive feedback. Which also is a key component in RAWK’s students workshops. Ephland expresses how “the program doesn't grade the students on their work. This is teaching RAWK students to give one another constructive feedback rather than the concept of what is right or wrong within their writing.” Ephland says this attitude pays off and contributes to why the students want to be here and don’t take much convincing to participate in the programs.
Besides his volunteer work Ephland also writes, his expertise is music. His latest works involve writing interviews and reviews on Jazz. If you’d like to support Ephland as much as he supports us, go and visit his works at allaboutboutjazz.com and search his name “John Ephland” in the websites search engine. We’d like to thank you, John Ephland, for always RAWK’n; we couldn’t do it without you!