September Volunteer Spotlight: Diane Graese

Diane Graese moved to Springfield from Las Vegas a little over a year ago. In a very short time, she has built a reputation as a passionate and dedicated volunteer in our community.  “I came to Jacksonville because it was a big city; I came to Springfield because a website called Neighborhood Search told me I would find all that I was looking for. I knew no one, but on my first visit here there were people who welcomed me into their homes and I felt such a good vibe,” Diane explained.  “I ignored the naysayers and listened to the stories of how the neighborhood was changing and the visions for the future.”

For Diane, volunteering with SPAR was a natural first step in learning about Springfield and meeting the residents. She has volunteered at the Tour of Homes, Second Sundays, PorchFest, Porch Brew Crew, and various cleanups.  

“Volunteering here is easy. You don’t need an invitation. You just need to ask how to help or create your own event,” Diane said. “I never used Facebook before moving here; but it can be the key to being connected in Springfield. That or hanging at a local bar!”

Diane volunteers with Sanctuary on 8th, GroundWorks Jax, The Well, Springfield Improvement Association and Archives, Historic Springfield Holiday Society, meal trains and more. Mostly via Facebook event and group pages, she has become a regular at neighborhood bike rides, the garden club, Springfield Skillet, weekly trivia, bar events, Hyperion walking/running group, the Jacksonville Historical Society and more.

Because of her background in art history, Diane is very interested in the history of Springfield and its gorgeous architecture. “I am working on the SIAA archives committee to research houses and bring the stories in the archives back to life for a new generation,” she explained.  Diane is also a member of the Sesquicentennial committee being spearheaded by SPAR, which is a committee dedicated to planning a celebration of Springfield’s 150th birthday in 2019.

Diane’s goal and vision for Historic Springfield is to engage its residents, ensuring they are connected and involved. “So many people here have passions but don’t know how to move into action. The more I can get people excited to participate in Springfield, the more I do my part to help build community. My goal…. 100% participation in making Springfield the best place on earth to live.”

Thank you, Diane, for all you have done and continue to do!