Introducing ISC’s Youngest Volunteer

Our work at ISC is supported by more than 500 dedicated volunteers. About 499 of them are adults who help out with TIR, volunteer at the Festival, or contribute their time and skills in other ways. Just one—Ellie Sawin, age 10—has the distinction of being ISC’s youngest-ever helper. As such, her volunteer duties come with an unusual degree of artistic freedom.

A fourth grader from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ellie was given a very special mission last October: to attend the National Storytelling Festival as an official member of the press. Though she was ultimately too shy to use her press pass to interview the performers, her coverage was top notch, as you can see from her artistic rendering of events that transpired in the Library Tent (see below).


In addition to her glowing review of Bil Lepp, Ellie raved about Tim Lowry’s performance of A Christmas Carol, (or, as she refers to it, “the one about the guy and a ghost”). Throughout the weekend, she collected lots of inspiration for her future career as an artist. In the meantime, since she’s still a kid, she highly recommends the Lollipop Shop on Main Street.

Wise beyond her years, Ellie left us with a valuable piece of advice for future Festival-goers: “Remember to bring warm clothes. It can be really cold in the mountains.” Thanks, Ellie! We’ll be sure to pack a sweater.

Interested in volunteering for ISC? We always need ticket takers, gift shop workers, and Festival volunteers—or any hidden talent you might have to offer! For more information, please contact us at (423) 753-2171 or You can also drop by the Center any time Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.