October 3, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Michele Bello

For many RPO volunteers, maintaining the positive social experience that the RPO provides is priority number one. Going to the orchestra is a wonderful way to connect with old friends and new through a shared love of music, and there’s no shortage of RPO volunteers helping to keep that atmosphere alive.
Michele Bello

RPO volunteer and Give-A-Lift Program founder Michele Bello, however, wanted to take this idea one step further. With the Give-A-Lift program, Bello is helping to bring people to and from the RPO who would otherwise have trouble getting there on their own.

“Simply put, the Give-A-Lift program brings patrons to and from concerts,” said Bello. “It enables people who are no longer able to drive themselves to continue to attend concerts. Many patrons have sat in the same seats, surrounded by the same people, for decades. Being able to attend concerts allows them to continue an important social and cultural activity.”

The idea for Give-A-Lift was born in 2007 and the organization’s first ride was given in 2008. Former RPO Manager of Volunteers and Special Events Marilyn Merrigan founded Give-A-Lift with help from Lifespan, another Monroe County-centered organization that gives rides to people unable to drive themselves.

“The program has been so effective because of the drivers,” said Bello. “They are a wonderful and dedicated group of people whose services are greatly valued by both the RPO and the patrons. We couldn't do it without them.”

Although the RPO and Give-A-Lift are Bello’s two main passions, she’s also an amateur violinist who plays in various groups. Bello also enjoys passing the time by knitting and reading, but Give-A-Lift is what she spends the most of her time on.

Overall, it’s been a terrific experience.

“I have met such wonderful people and been involved in so many interesting activities,” said Bello. “Seeing the orchestra and the workings of the organization has been great fun.”

For more information about volunteering for the RPO, visit rpo.org.

Written by Alexander Jones, a graduate of RIT's journalism program and recent marketing and communications intern at the RPO.

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