Monday, March 1, 2010

Sun Sounds Seeks Beer Fest Volunteers

By David Staudacher and Mira Radovich, Rio Salado College

On Saturday and Sunday more than 200 craft beers will flowing at at Tempe Town Beach during the Great Arizona Beer Festival, which benefits Sun Sounds of Arizona. A big part of the festival’s success comes from volunteers. While Saturday’s positions are filled, festival organizers are still seeking people to fill two shifts on the second day.

“We are still in need of volunteers for Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. and from 2 to 8 p.m.,” said Andrea Pasquale, Manager of Programming and Volunteers for Sun Sounds of Arizona. “As long as someone is 21 or older they can volunteer.”

While thousand of beers will be poured throughout the day, volunteers are needed to fill a variety of roles said Pasquale.

“We are seeking volunteers to help with everything,” she said. “We need people to work the front gate, place wrist-bands on people entering the festival, man the designated-driver tent, help in with the volunteer tent, set-up, and tear down. Of course we need people to pour beer, too.”

While the festival will draw thousands of people, the beer drinkers are not the only people who will benefits from the festival.

“Sun Sounds of Arizona receives all the proceeds from the festival,” said Pasquale. “Also, anyone who volunteers for six hours will receive free admission to one of our other festivals in Flagstaff or Tucson.”

Sun Sounds is a radio reading and information access service for people who can’t use printed material. It is primarily directed toward people who are blind, have age or disease related vision loss, or have difficulty holding printed material.

“The inability to use print can cause people to become isolated from family and friends,” said Heidi Capriotti, marketing coordinator of Sun Sounds. “We give them an opportunity to stay connected with their communities. It’s a 24-hour window to the world.”

In Arizona, 49,000 listeners tune in daily to hear newspapers, books, magazines and other pertinent information read aloud, allowing them to stay informed of current events.

Five-hundred statewide volunteers read everything from local and national newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, USA Today and Wall Street Journal, entertainment magazines, health newsletters, obituaries, and the latest best-sellers.
“One of our most popular programs is weekly reading of the grocery ads on Wednesdays,” said Capriotti.

The Sun Sounds service is available in many formats: radio, telephone, online, and in some areas, cable TV.

Radio programs are broadcast on the sub-carrier of FM stations, meaning the signal can’t be heard on standard radios. Instead, subscribers are loaned a pre-tuned radio receiver at no charge.

Eligible listeners can also hear the broadcast and archived programs on Sun Dial II, a telephone access system that even allows users to surf the Web without a computer.
“One advantage of the telephone service is that listeners can pause their listening and return later to where they left off,” Capriotti said. Sun Dial II recognizes callers by phone number, and also allows them to bookmark favorites — all by voice command.

If someone can’t make it to the festival, there are a myriad of opportunities to volunteer at the radio station.

“We have many volunteer opportunities at Sun Sounds,” said Pasquale. “We are especially looking for people to make phone calls to listeners, and help in our office.”

To volunteer at the beer festival or at Sun Sounds of Arizona, please contact Andrea Pasquale at, or by going online and filling out a volunteer form at

Sun Sounds of Arizona is a part of Rio Salado College’s Division of Public Service, along with NPR affiliates KJZZ 91.5 FM and KBAQ 89.5 FM, and Maricopa Colleges Television. To learn more about Rio Salado, visit