On Saturday, April 9, MindsEye held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Day. A day set aside for recognizing the hard work of the men and women who help make what we do possible. Each year, the MindsEye staff selects a few volunteers whose dedication, support, and effort are particularly noteworthy.
This year’s MVP of the Year award winner was April Watts.
After spending more than 20 years as a corporate security investigator investigating everything from workplace violence to embezzlement, April found a new passion for performing voiceover in 2019. After retiring from her work in the corporate world in 2021, April now focuses her time on her voiceover career and her volunteer work here at MindsEye. In addition to lending her voice to various commercials, e-learning documentaries, and audio description tracks for shows like ABC’s “Blackish,” she also makes time to read the Lincoln and Pike County News on Sundays for MindsEye as well as describing for our Audio Description Program for both virtual and live events around the St. Louis area.
MindsEye’s own Laura Foughty got a chance to sit down with April at the event.
LAURA: I know you volunteer for us in so many different capacities.
APRIL: I read the news for Pike and Lincoln County that comes on Sundays, I think, at one o’clock. I also do audio description. I’ve done live shows at The Fox and Staples Center. I’ve also actually done some virtual things as well as some artwork. It’s just been a rewarding experience. I really do enjoy it. It’s such a blessing to be able to do it and have so much fun doing it.
LAURA: When did you start with MindsEye?
APRIL: November of 2019.
LAURA: Okay. So, we captured you right before—
APRIL: Right before COVID started. Yep!
LAURA: How did you hear about MindsEye?
APRIL: So, I do voiceovers and one of my things that I always believe in is if you’re gifted with something you have to give back using that. So, I started researching ways that I could give back and that’s how I found MindsEye.
LAURA: Tell us a little about your voiceover career.
APRIL: I have been doing voiceover since the beginning of 2019. I do a lot of commercials and e-learning documentaries, but I also do audio descriptions. I’ve actually narrated audio description for some TV shows that are on ABC. I did five episodes of the show “Blackish” and then there was also a TV show called “Women of the Movement” which was about Emmitt Till’s mother.
LAURA: So, you started voiceover work in 2019. What were you doing prior to that?
APRIL: An investigator. A corporate security investigator. And I was doing that up until December of 2021 when I retired.
LAURA: What was that like?
APRIL: Pretty interesting. I’ve investigated everything from sexual assault in the workplace, workplace violence, embezzlement – you name it I’ve investigated it.
LAURA: Is there some way that ties into your work as a voiceover artist or your work at MindsEye?
APRIL: It does because it helps me to look at the bigger picture. You know, when you’re an investigator, you have like this sixth sense of being able to pick up on things. As a voice actor, it helps me to look at a script and then create a whole backstory or character when I’m doing something in voiceover and even the same thing when reading for audio description or reading the news. It just helps you to kind of get into all of it. It’s like an alter ego. I’ll always be an investigator no matter what.
LAURA: I know what you mean. My background is in theatre and biology and it’s like you can use those disparate things like pulling aspects of yourself to whatever work you do. For my final question – and I ask everyone this – what is your favorite pizza topping?
APRIL: My favorite pizza toping is sausage. Yeah. Unless I do a veggie pizza. I also like pineapple. I know that’s not popular, but I do like pineapple and Canadian bacon.
LAURA: Quite a few pineapples today.
APRIL: I love pineapple and Canadian bacon. I know that’s a popular one. I do like it.
LAURA: Yeah. It seems to be popular with our volunteers! Thank you so much.
APRIL: Thank you.
MindsEye congratulates April on her well-deserved MVP of the Year Award! Please add your congratulations for April below!