Volunteer Tale: Finding a safe space in Folklorama

Folklorama is built on the strength and passion of its volunteers. Kimberley Dudek is proud to be one.

Kimberley Dudek’s warm smile and Gaelic welcome has greeted visitors to the Pavilion of Scotland for the past 20 years. As a well-known volunteer, public speaker, and activist, Kim has risen to become a leading voice in the Autism and Asperger’s community.

Kim’s Folklorama journey started back in the 1990s. Throughout the years, Kim has seamlessly transitioned from a first-time volunteer to the 2017 Adult Ambassador at the Pavilion of Scotland and is now a veteran volunteer.

“I feel that volunteering with Folklorama can really help to encourage people with invisible disabilities to get out and become more active,” states Dudek. “Being a volunteer in a safe and welcoming space and where people respect you for who you are in a complete sense gives people like me the courage to be more open about living with an invisible disability.”

Bart Omand, a Pavilion Coordinator from the Pavilion of Scotland, is inspired by volunteers like Kim.

“Kim is an awesome member of our team,” states Omand, “We look forward to seeing her each and every year.”

Kim is committed to breaking the stigma surrounding both mental health and invisible disabilities.

 “I would absolutely recommend volunteering with Folklorama to others”, states Dudek. “Besides looking good on a resume, it gets people out of the house. It helps build a stronger, more diverse community by allowing other people to meet those with invisible disabilities and perhaps shatter some preconceived notions they may have had.”

Thank you, Kim, for not only your incredible years of service but for continuously being a warm smile, kind heart, and a true embodiment of Folklorama.

If Kim has inspired you to get involved with Folklorama, contact Katie Green, Coordinator Member & Festival Services, at [email protected].