Oakland Cemetery relies on the incredible energy, dedication, and generosity of over two hundred volunteers. Working in the gardens, giving tours, staffing the Visitor Center, or giving countless hours at special and private events, Oakland volunteers never fail to amaze with their passion and commitment. We’ve asked some of Oakland’s volunteers to share their stories of how they became involved as Oakland volunteers and their experiences here.
Meet Jihan Hurse
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a highly-functional introvert. I consider myself to be an early adopter, and I am a huge content connoisseur – I read multiple newspapers, several blogs, and various news websites online daily. I try to read four to six books a month on a broad range of genres. I am fashion-forward, and shoes are my favorite weakness. I love thrift shopping.
I volunteer for Make-A-Wish GA. I am a tour guide at Historic Oakland Cemetery and the CDC Museum. Professionally, I have worked at a federal public health agency for the last 15 years. Before that, I modeled professionally for 10 years. However, I aspire to publish a novel, become a TV writer, start a non-profit for single mothers, start a publishing and production company…just to name a few.
How did you get involved in volunteering at Oakland?
I attended one of the Black History Month tours of the African American Grounds. I recognized many familiar names and wanted to learn the stories behind the names. As an introvert, I wanted to challenge myself, and I thought that volunteering as a tour guide would provide a unique opportunity to strengthen my public speaking skills and be more social.
Volunteering allows me to share the rich diversity of the city.
I volunteer as a weekend tour guide and also work as one of the guides in the African American Grounds. Atlanta is a diverse city in many aspects: racially, culturally, economically. Oakland demonstrates these characteristics of the city through the various stories and backgrounds of its residents. Volunteering allows me to share the rich diversity of the city.
What do you like most about volunteering at Oakland?
I take the definition of the word “guide” literally, and I like to think I guide visitors on a journey; transporting them in time to when our residents were alive. I also love the camaraderie amongst the volunteers and shared passion for history. I least like the hill near the Confederate section in the middle of July or August!
What is your favorite Oakland experience/moment?
I don’t have a specific memorable moment at Oakland. There are so many it’s hard to choose just one. I will say I favor those magical moments when an Atlanta native is on a tour and they recognize a name such as “Inman” or “Austell” and they connect the dots that these aren’t just names of areas, cities, streets, et cetera – they were actually people. You can actually see the thought connect and their eyes light up. It reminds me of my first visit and the day I fell in love with Oakland.
If you would like to be considered for future volunteer opportunities or want to know more about what our volunteers do, please contact Richard Harker, Director of Special Events and Volunteers: firstname.lastname@example.org.