Helping Hands - Michael Bush

Photo: R. R. Jones

Michael Bush

Shakespeare Santa Cruz

For the past seven summers Michael Bush has donated untold hours to the task of selling theater programs. The job isn't glamorous, but that's often the nature of volunteer work. "The point of volunteering, for me, is not what I'm doing," Bush says, "but that I'm supporting an endeavor I believe in."

In Bush's case, the endeavor is Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC), an internationally acclaimed theater company based at UCSC. Each season Bush can be seen traveling the lines of theater goers in his wheelchair, holding programs aloft, cheerily working the crowd with his humorous patter.

Bush's favorite part of the job is the schmoozing. "I love it. Everyone is there to have a good time, and it's nice to be in the midst of that energy."

An accessibility specialist for the Santa Cruz County Planning Department, Bush says several of his coworkers also volunteer for SSC. They are part of a cohort of more than 400 who ensure the day-to-day success of the summer festival by ushering, taking tickets, serving food and wine, selling souvenirs, and directing traffic.

In addition to his regular volunteer duties, last season Bush also consulted on the construction of wheelchair-accessible seating in the outdoor Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen.

Whatever the task, Bush finds volunteering satisfying. "My dad always said to me, 'Give a little back.' I love theater, and I'm glad to be in a position where I can take my dad's advice."

--Barbara McKenna

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