We’re excited to introduce you to our December Volunteer of the Month, Jasper Nathaniel!
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC and why did you decide to volunteer?
Jasper: I was trying to remedy severe career burnout through refocusing on my own creative habits while also finding ways to give back to my community. And then the two came together when a friend sent me info about 826NYC, and the rest is history.
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Jasper: When I’m working one-on-one with a student and I see something ‘click.’ Their eyes light up, pencil hits pad, and a story comes pouring out. It’s like magic. Nothing could have prepared me for how deeply imaginative these kids can be. It’s really inspiring.
Also, these kids are just really funny. Each time I come in they’ve developed a new innovation in poking fun at me.
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Jasper: I spent this past summer driving around the country with my dog, immersing myself in different cultural universes, trekking into the wild, and searching for any type of adventure I could find.
This came in the midst of a big career transition — from one building startups, to one centered around writing and creativity. These days I write fiction and nonfiction, coach writing, and host an event series called Creativity Nights to help busy people make time for their own creative habits.
826NYC: What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Jasper: Get to know every student individually, find a unique way to connect with and nurture creativity within each of them. There’s nothing like the first time one of them begins to feel comfortable with you. That’s when the fun really starts.
826NYC: What are your superpowers?
Jasper: I’ve put so much thought and energy into discovering and pursuing my passions, that I’d like to think I’ve become pretty good and helping others do the same. Life is really hard, you have to find ways to make it fulfilling, and I take a lot of pride in facilitating that in others.