Summer is almost over, but that hasn’t slowed our volunteers down! August’s Volunteer of the Month, Olivia Ensley, reflects on her first year volunteering with our young authors in her profile below. Plus, find out more about her incredible superpower! Keep scrolling for awesome advice, how to connect with Olivia, and ways to get involved with 826NYC in the 2021-22 school year!
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC, and why did you decide to volunteer?
Olivia: I first discovered 826NYC when I was looking for AmeriCorps positions out of grad school. I ended up choosing a position at the NYC DOE developing a youth leadership institute, but the seed had been planted. During my time in New York, I’ve volunteered sporadically here and there, always wanting to be more involved in my community, but never finding the time. It wasn’t until COVID hit that I realized volunteering was not only something that was nice to do but was a mission we HAD to do. I couldn’t imagine a better, more fulfilling place to be.
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Olivia: The people! The staff, volunteers, and kids are all lovely, creative people. I’m so happy every time I get to write with them and support kids’ writing endeavors. They come up with some very unique ideas!
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Olivia: I work at a social impact consulting firm, write fantasy romance novels, follow my cat around the house until he gets bored of me, and spend way too much time talking to people about what my cat did when I followed him around the house.
826NYC: What advice would you give to a new volunteer?
Olivia: Try everything! Put yourself out there. Volunteer for everything even if it’s not something you’d normally do or a topic you know much about. The staff won’t let you flounder and you might be surprised by what you end up loving.
And invest your time. It can be really difficult to find time to volunteer these days. There are so many competing demands. But volunteering can be so life-giving not just for the kids but for you! For me, it has been completely worth the extra effort!
826NYC: What are your superpowers?
Olivia: Predicting the future. So far I’ve predicted two birth announcements, one engagement, one car accident, and two career changes.
And stealth. I have to purposefully make my steps louder so I don’t startle people.
Connect with Olivia on LinkedIn and Instagram! Visit our website for more information on upcoming volunteer orientations, news on 826NYC’s plans to return to in-person programming, and welcoming our volunteers back to the Secret Library!