Eisemann volunteer gives back through Patriot Paws

(Richardson) While the Charles W. Eisemann Center serves as a performing arts and corporate event venue in Richardson, Texas, it is also home to a necessary and well-established volunteer program.

“The people who volunteer at the Eisemann are incredible – retirees with significant careers; people with jobs who want to serve; students with a desire to contribute – there are no better volunteers anywhere,” said Philip Nelson, administrative manager at the Eisemann Center. “These gifted people are the face of the Eisemann Center, and our business is sustained by the positive and professional interactions our volunteers have with the public.”

The Eisemann Encore Volunteer Program participants devote their time to creating a hospitable environment for the Eisemann Center’s guests, taking tickets, directing patrons, and assuring that the audience has the best experience possible. The Eisemann Center could not thrive without these hard-working and selfless volunteers, some of who engage in other local service projects as well.

Volunteer Linda Hood

One special volunteer, Linda Hood, participates in a Rockwall-based dog-training program for disabled veterans, called Patriot Paws. This program teaches young puppies to become helpful service dogs, beginning with their training at the Gatesville Correctional Facility.

After the 8-12 week old puppies are brought to the facility, they will spend constant time with an assigned prisoner.

Learning obedience, the dogs are trained to respond to 35 different commands. At 12-14
months, depending on their progress, the dogs are dispersed into foster homes, where they learn socialization.

Linda Hood volunteers her time to helping these dogs become acclimated to society. She began volunteering with the Patriot Paws program in December, 2010. After a thorough interviewing process, a background check, and a home visit, Linda was able to receive her first Patriot Paws dog. Throughout the progression, Linda keeps her new companion with her at all times, exposing the dog to every day environments and situations.

Contributing to this process, Linda brings her dogs along with her to volunteer at the Eisemann Center, where they receive a primary socializing experience. While Linda takes tickets and greets guests, the dog sits patiently at her side. The dogs are to maintain a serious and focused disposition throughout this time, however they do receive a friendly pat from guests periodically.

After the dogs complete their socialization process, Patriot Paws connects them with veterans who have applied through government institutions. After the screening process is complete, a veteran is ready to receive their dog. Over a four day period, veterans are presented with five or six dogs.

Linda describes this amazing process, saying that “the dog picks the veteran.”

Through instinct and disposition, the dogs will bond with a veteran, and if not, they return into the foster program. Because of Patriot Paws, disabled veterans can receive a helpful companion, and this process would not be possible without volunteers like Linda Hood.

She has fostered four dogs throughout her involvement with Patriot Paws, all the while benefiting and serving the Eisemann Center community.
The Eisemann Center depends on their faithful team of volunteers to help in presenting their many events. The Eisemann Encore Volunteer Program is built of people who display an enthusiasm for performing arts, a willingness to serve patrons with respect and hospitality, and a high regard for congeniality as well as professionalism. Volunteers are needed for ushering; student performances; matinee or evening performances; Marketing and Development activities; administrative office duties and special events. Volunteer opportunities are in conjunction with performances that occur mostly at night and on weekends, however administrative opportunities take place during normal weekly business hours. Orientation and
training sessions are required and are held at the Eisemann Center each month as needed.

To become part of the team, contact Lyn Stewart at 972-744-4615 or online at
New applicants are always welcome.

The Eisemann Center is a City of Richardson facility located in the Galatyn Park Urban Center at 2351 Performance Drive in Richardson. The Eisemann Center is easily accessible from Highway 75 North taking the Galatyn Parkway/Renner Road exit going north and the Galatyn Parkway/Campbell Road exit going south or from the DART light
rail station at Galatyn Park.

Story and photos contributed by Amanda Hodge, a senior Communications major at Baylor University and summer Marketing & Development department intern at the Eisemann Center.

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