Yardie Interviews → Eli Tegu & Ryan O'Shea

August 10th, 2010 - Sparkie Interview with Ryan O'Shea & Eli Tegu, Yardie Volunteers

Eli Tegu and Ryan O’Shea started volunteering at the Steel Yard last summer to fulfil their commuity volunteering requirements at the Wheeler School.  They have since volunteered at many of our public events, and chances are if you’ve been to a Steel Yard event, you’ve met them at the welcome station or merchandise table.

Steel Yard: Describe your volunteer requirement at the Wheeler School.
Ryan O’Shea: The requirement is called the Community Action Program (CAP). As juniors and seniors we have to perform 12 hours a semester volunteering with a non-profit organization of our choice.  For our senior year we also have to write a report of our experiences and what we’ve learned. 
Eli Tegu: The report includes event flyers and photos that we’ve saved from our time here.

SY: What was your first volunteer project at the Steel Yard? 
ET: We were cleaning up for new plumbing in the studio basement.
RO: We did that and helped prepare for your open house event.  Then someone gave us a volunteer survey to fill out.  The gist of it was, “Do you like sweeping more? Or do you like emptying the trashcan at the end of the street more?”

SY: Really?  Who was this person?
ET: Some guy with a beard.  He worked with you guys.  I think his name was Dave …
RO: He wore glasses.  I almost didn’t come back ...

SY: I see ... I’ll get to the bottom of this.  Thanks for coming back.  What other types of volunteering do your friends do?
RO: Some kids work with Habitat for Humanity building houses and others with Save the Bay. 
ET: We worked in a soup kitchen our freshmen year.

SY: The whole school has to meet this community action requirement?
RO: The whole high school, yeah.  The middle school kids do their community service with the teachers during school hours.
ET: Each year the requirement increases by a few hours.   

SY: Are your friends jealous of how you spend your time?
ET: People seem pretty happy with their projects.  Most are able to find something that they are really interested in. 
RO: One of my friends teaches autistic kids to play soccer and loves it. 

SY: How did you first hear about the Steel Yard?
ET: I had taken a public tour and heard about the open studio program.  I became interested in volunteering here through Nick Miller.  You know him?

SY: Yeah, he used to volunteer painting signs for the studio and events.
ET: When we were sophomores we met with his senior advisor group to talk about community service and he told us about the Yard.
RO: Honestly – I hadn’t really heard of it before that. 

SY: Eli, you took a welding workshop recently.  What did you think?
ET: Geoff, the instructor, was really helpful.  In class I made a bike stand and a belt buckle out of an old car emblem. 

SY: What do you have planned for the rest of summer? 
RO: I’m going to New York to visit my family and more mountain biking with Eli. 
ET: (Nods in approval)

SY: So.  What's your favorite flavor?
ET: Meat.
RO: That’s a pretty good flavor.  But, I was thinking raspberry. 

SY: What has been the biggest surprise while volunteering at the Steel Yard?
RO: Our first event involved wearing dress shirts, so I thought everything was going to be more formal.  Since that things have been pretty casual. 
ET: The first time I was here it seemed like a cool place to be.  That’s still true. 

SY: You guys are about to be seniors.  Are you excited? Do you have any symptoms of senioritis? 
RO: Woohooo!
ET: I had junior-itis.
RO: I feel so lazy right now.  I should be doing Spanish summer work, writing college essays …

SY: Are you looking at schools yet?  What type of majors sound interesting?
ET:  I have been looking at the Rhode Island School of Design.   I want to go to school for ceramics and industrial design.  Industrial design because I want to build bikes.  I’ll be visiting Pratt and Parsons in a couple of weeks.  
RO: I visited Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Rhode Island and Northeastern.  I want to study electrical or mechanical engineering.

SY: After your volunteer requirement, do you plan on continuing to give back in some way?
RO: Definitely, if I stay around this area.  It’s a good experience.  Not sure what I’ll be doing if I go somewhere further away. 
ET: I think community service is good. 

SY:  We’ll be happy to have you both back.  Any final thoughts?
ET: The Steel Yard is a cool place.  Working at the events is a lot of fun.
RO:  It’s a great opportunity for community service because I’d be coming to these events anyways. 

Thank you both for all of the help over the past year!