Community Media: A Volunteer’s Perspective

Community Media: A Volunteer's Perspective

KSVY and SonomaTV are fueled by our volunteers. Our non-profit mission is to put media tools in our locals' hands and produce great audio and video in real-time out in our community. Community Media: A Volunteer's Perspective is a chance to let them tell you about their experience and give a personal story behind our claim that community Radio and TV are a vital part of a healthy region.

Laurie PantellThis blog was written by Laurie Pantell. She is a recent transplant to Sonoma from the San Francisco/Oakland area. She is fortunate enough to have found meaningful work as a Marriage and Family Therapist and sees clients virtually through her private practice. Fueled by boundless curiosity about the human condition, Laurie has done her best to traverse the vagaries of her own inner landscape as well as that of her many clients. Being in Sonoma has opened up new vistas for Laurie, and her latest ambition is to be an aspiring creative. Words and Photos are hers. 



When I learned that my first gig as a volunteer with KSVY would be to operate a camera at the 2024 Trashion Fashion Runway Show, I was delighted. I arrived at the Veterans Memorial Hall a few hours before showtime, had a brief training on the camera, and was officially launched as a station volunteer.

As soon as the lights went down and I pressed the record button, my belly tightened and I stopped breathing deeply. Part of this reflex was being a rookie videographer and not sure I would do a good job with the task at hand, but another part was my unintended but automatic resistance to being fully present and taking in the experience.



From my vantage point, Trashion Fashion at its core is about creativity and self-expression as well as transforming the discarded into something vibrant that moves us and brings us together. The meaning of this event struck a deep cord for me that caused me, at first, to resist the charge it was stirring up and hold myself back from arriving completely for what would ensue.

As the fashion show unfolded, the parade of outfits that appeared on the runway provided a true visual feast. Some of the attire was stunning, eliciting “oohs” and “ahs” from the audience and legitimately worthy of a place on a Paris catwalk. Other entries were quirky and playful and equally inspiring. A number of the models donned their own creations, while other entries were a collaboration between the model and a local Sonoma designer. As I watched each participant emerge through the camera monitor, it was clear that all the models, young and old, were proud to be on display and were visibly strutting their stuff.

While each model made their way down the runway, the MC kept us informed with details of the reused materials we were seeing or the process the artist used to create the outfit. One notable dress was made almost entirely of peacock feathers gathered by employees on the grounds of a California State Hospital. Another gown had a dramatic technicolor train constructed by the designer from her mother’s extensive scarf collection. A whimsical designer thought to invert an old-fashioned feather duster which became the base for a dramatic hat topping his ensemble.

At one point, John Batiste’s song “Freedom” played as the accompaniment to one of the entries, and I couldn’t help but start to move with the music. My belly softened and in that moment I understood that being a volunteer at this event was offering me a type of freedom. As I saw the beauty that came out of reviving the defunct, I knew that a previously discarded part of me was being liberated and transformed at the same time.

I was drawn to volunteer at KSVY from a gut sense that it could be a communication playground where I would be free to find my creative spark, long ago disowned, and learn to give it a voice. My initial assignment bore that out. I can now see a path forward to explore this part of myself and learn to generate offerings from there that I hope will be worthy of sharing.

Being a part of KSVY makes me, like the models on the runway, eager to strut my stuff.