As a syndicate for philanthropic entrepreneurs, movers, shakers & changemakers, Volatile continues “Venti Questions” to highlight those in the community that are making waves & getting work done. Dawn Frances Simon, Artist & CoOwner of Swing Graphics, LLC, graciously accepted our invitation to share her version of philanthropy.
1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
To me, philanthropy is humility and selflessness.
2. What inspired you to make a difference?
In fourth grade, I played my clarinet at a nursing home during the holidays. I was so nervous so I had to start by facing my back to the audience. As I played the first song, Jingle Bell Rock, everyone began to clap along. I turned around to see people singing and dancing in their chairs. They were swaying and clapping and they were so joyful, some of them were even weeping. They were so grateful. I was overwhelmed with emotion and it became difficult to play. I started to realize that what they were getting out of it was so much more important than my own fears and insecurities. I couldn’t believe how something simple, that I could offer, could bring so much to so many. I have tried to always remember that.
3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Yes – I feel that each thing makes the world a little bit better.
4. What is the source of your passion?
The source of my passion is my kids (Ariah, 12 & Paulie, 13). I want to raise them up to be good people. I try to always remind them…”Be your best self.”
5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
I always hope to be a part of creative events that bring people together in different ways and for different reasons.
6. How long have you been doing this?
In 2009 I hosted the first “coffeehouse” to showcase local music and art, in Surf City. It was my own version of something that I attended as a teenager. It had given me a place where I felt that I belonged and it was a place where I could be around others artists & poets. It had a huge impact on my creativity and I wanted to sort of “bring it back” as an adult.
7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
I think there is. My partner, Pete Sullivan, and I were able to plan 4 of them in 2016 at East in Surf City. Each one had more people than the last and it has turned into “Live Music in the Streets.”
8. What are your goals and values?
I have many goals, and the big ones are secrets, haha. So I can’t say. But what I can say, is that I value happiness. I feel passionate about ones need to find out what they are meant to do, and to do it. Even if there are sacrifices, and there will be, definitely. But the alternative is actually unsound.
9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
I think they are aligned. I have always tried to keep at least one foot in on “my hopes and dreams.” But I am involved in many great things, more now than ever.
10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
My end goal is to always do what I love and love what I do. I plan to keep working my business, Swing Graphics, and watch it grow. I hope to pass this idea onto my kids and beyond. I hope it is an example to those around me that are unsure and discontent.
11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
Well, in general, we can all contribute by supporting each other. We can seek out small businesses and support them whenever we can. We can buy handmade gifts, hire a local musician for entertainment, or call the carpenter who lives next door to help with that household repair. The options go on and on.
12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
We (Swing Graphics) are currently involved in a collaboration with East in Surf City, called SHAVE THE DATE. It is a pop up barber shop on Black Friday, made possible by Ryan’s Barbershop and friends. 100% of the proceeds benefit David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, and will go directly to local males that are battling cancer. I am also proud to be on the Creative Team of the beloved Makers Festival with The Makeshift Union: Erin Buterick, Jeannine Errico and Dani Corso. And with two other very creative ladies, Brie Fagan of The Wandering Gypsea and Jessie Temple of Bunkerfish.
13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
They intersect because I am doing what I am meant to be doing with other amazingly talented and like minded people.
14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I believe it is unique because I found my niche. As an artist with a degree in sculpture, it is not easy to find work in an area like this. As a single parent, my schedule and life demands are pretty particular. I had to get really creative and find my own path. So it is unique in the way of almost being a career that is customized for me.
15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
My advice is just that, to get involved. Opportunities will come when you are in the right place at the right time. When you are doing things with others that have similar ideas, an entire other world can open up.
16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
Creating new opportunities to volunteer is a great way to encourage volunteerism. That way, the volunteer develops a personal connection and interest in the situation and cause.
17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
I think we can lead by example. Getting involved and having lots of fun while doing it will set a great example to our youth. Our actions are far louder than our words.
18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
“When a bird is alive, it eats ants, when a bird is dead, ants eat the bird…Time is more powerful than you. So be good and do good.” -Buddha
20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
I just answered the last question with it!