By Dylan Roche
Many parents stick with a volunteer effort as a way of staying involved with their kids’ activities. For Babet Regalado, however, volunteering with the Severna Park High School band has been something she has stuck with even when one of her own four children aren’t involved. That’s because she has found herself a surrogate mom to each of the students who are involved. As she put it, “The band was so much more than my own personal kids – they are all my kids.”
For as long as she can remember, Regalado has volunteered in some capacity. In college, she was a member of Circle K International, a collegiate-level program of Kiwanis. When she and her husband started a family, a friend invited her to volunteer with Boy Scouts, thus beginning a years-long stint with scouting.
Her biggest volunteer endeavor came along in 2006, when her oldest son was a freshman at SPHS and joined the band. For the first year, Regalado shadowed a fellow volunteer and learned how to manage uniforms, which the SPHS band owns and alters based on the students involved each year.
“I don’t have a sewing machine – I sew by hand,” she said. “I would have what I call old-fashioned sewing parties at my house on Saturday mornings. You bring your sewing stuff and we sit around and sew and iron and put buttons on.”
When the band was able to afford a new set of uniforms a couple of years ago, and retire the set of uniforms it had used for about 20 years, Regalado helped pick out the new pieces. “My job was to make sure they were functional for at least five to 10 years,” she said. “They were not cheap. They were $65,000 worth of uniforms. You don’t just replace those every day or every year.” One major benefit of the new uniforms, she noted, is that they can be altered with hem tape rather than sewing.
After 12 years with the band, Regalado expects she will step down soon, but she doesn’t know yet how she’ll redirect her time. What she does know is that when she looks back on her many years with the band, she’ll always count her favorite memory as being that of watching the growth of the many students, who all call her Mama Regs. “Watching them come in as freshmen and seeing how confident they were by the time they’re seniors – to me, that’s the best part,” she said. “I know that maybe, in some way, I had a little impact.”
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