The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) continues to highlight longtime volunteers for National Volunteer Week. Ending on Saturday, April 13, National Volunteer Week honors individuals who have given their time and service to organizations. To learn more about National Volunteer Week, please visit their website:

Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts: How did you get started volunteering for BOPA?

James Adams: I’ve been volunteering at BOPA for about 14 years. Believe it or not, I saw the volunteer opening on the website. I knew about Artscape and I said, “Okay, let’s try this.”

BOPA: With so many volunteer opportunities available, why do you choose BOPA for your service?

JA: I look at volunteering for BOPA as a citywide opportunity. It’s not like some of the more specialized opportunities in Baltimore. You have access to the total city. BOPA actually gives you the opportunity to pick and choose your volunteer preferences. It also appeals to any and everything that people kind of have a taste for.

BOPA: What is it like to volunteer at a BOPA event?

JA: Sometimes, it can be a challenge. I truly believe in the city. The city is more than what we see on television. There is a burgeoning cultural undertone to the city that people just don’t know about. To me, that’s the thing that BOPA tries to project and one of the reasons why I volunteer.

BOPA: Do you have any memorable moments from volunteering at a BOPA event?

JA: The fun is always in setting up because you see the poeticism that’s happening at the event. Amongst all that activity, you always see a purpose. I’m so impressed with the staff. The guidance has always been clear. If I’ve been able to offer suggestions, it’s always been taken. The staff is always open to it.

BOPA: Why is volunteerism important to you?

JA: Volunteerism is who we are. Not everything always has to center around money. The best way to impact the community is through the church, civic organizations and other venues. The backbone for those groups are always the volunteers.

BOPA: What do you do when you are not volunteering?

JA: I do a lot of reading. Currently, I’m reading Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight that I picked up at the Baltimore Book Festival in 2018. I also read a lot of trade journals.

BOPA: What would you like for others to know about volunteering?

JA: Volunteering gives you that endorphin that makes you feel good. That you’re doing something positive. If you just roll up your sleeves and stay on task, that’s volunteering. It’s not where you volunteering, as long as you’re doing it.

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