Helen Swint’s present is rooted firmly in the past. As president of the Historic Preservation League, this East Dallas resident is dedicated to preserving Dallas’ past and preparing for its future.

The league was founded in 1974 and is based in the Wilson Historic District east of Downtown. The league’s mission is “to promote community pride by preserving and rehabilitating areas with historical and architectural significance,” Swint says.

She became involved with the league after moving into the Munger Place Historic District in East Dallas seven years ago.

Since then, she has answered telephones, made presentations, helped with gardening, written newsletters and served on every league committee imaginable.

In her second year as president, her primary task is serving as liaison between the league’s board and the community. Fellow volunteers say Swint takes the job seriously, spending 60-80 hours weekly on league business.

“We could never pay her for the hours she puts in,” says Harry Nicholls, a league volunteer since 1980. Swint has reorganized and reactivated the league during the past two years, he says.

“Helen has an ability to bring a wide variety of people into the league,” says Sue Dorsey, a league volunteer who has worked with Swint since 1987. Volunteering with Swint is a “concentrated effort, but you always enjoy what you’re doing,” Dorsey says.

Swint and other league volunteers also concentrate on the future – league involvement in East Dallas includes neighborhood committees, and business and residential development. The league also offers information concerning zoning and City code compliance.

“Anyone who wants to be part of learning about and retaining our history” should contact the league, Swint says. Volunteers can plan fundraisers, serve on advisory committees, help maintain four historic cemeteries and make presentations – either short-term or long-term opportunities are available.

“I enjoy working with people and seeing people get what they set out to accomplish,” Swint says.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Volunteer Center (826-6767) is a United Way agency serving as a clearinghouse to recruit and refer volunteers for more than 750 Dallas agencies. Thousands of positions are available; call the center if you are interested in volunteering. Among the examples:

PUT A SMILE ON THE FACE of a disabled person by reading to them, helping with grocery shopping, tutoring, making telephone calls or just visiting. Reach of Dallas, an agency promoting independence for the disabled, has a variety of volunteer opportunities available in East Dallas. Choose the time and day you would like to volunteer.

CARPENTERS AND PAINTERS are needed to assist with the production of “Fallen Angels” at the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake. You can help the Actors’ Theatre of Dallas, May 26-29, as they prepare for the show.

AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Activity supervisors are needed at the East Dallas YMCA. Plan and supervise physical-fitness activities, arts and crafts, games and tutoring for middle school students. Volunteers are needed Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:45-5:30 p.m.

BE AMONG THE FIRST volunteers trained at Dallas Child Guidance Clinic. For the first time in its history, the 70-year-old agency will be training volunteers to help families impacted by abuse, HIV/AIDS, and drug-addiction. Evening training sessions are scheduled May 20-21 and May 27-28.


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