January Volunteer of the Month: Joe Iovino

News —— January 7, 2021

What is a better way to bring in the new year than highlighting an outstanding 826NYC volunteer! What started as a deceptive ploy to get Joe into the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. ended in him becoming the designer of some of our young author’s latest student publications! What a turn of events, right? Keep reading to find out how Joe joined the 826NYC fold and what keeps him coming back in the new year!

1. How did you first get involved with 826NYC, and why did you decide to volunteer?

One day in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I went down to my local Robot Supply & Repair Store for some routine bot repairs. When I found out it was actually a secret front for a creative writing labratory, I felt deceived. Sure, I was amazed by the smart, touching and inventive writing, and the welcoming community, but I had been fooled all the same. I researched further and discovered that 826Michigan was actially part of a vast network of deception, with false storefronts around the country. Terrible. I was so shocked that I went to investigate the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co myself. To get more intel, I attended a volunteer orientation in a secret lair at 826NYC. I have tried to leak the news of this secret organization to the press, but no papers have run the story, and they have all told me to stop calling them.

2. What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?

The stories! They will make you laugh, change your perspective, and open your heart. The community is great too, even online. The staff and volunteers are really thoughtful, helpful and thorough, and the story readings at the end of each project are super fun.

3. What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?

I do freelance graphic design, illustration, and front-end web development. I bike whenever I can. I sometimes help deliver food in Queens for Make the Road NY, and I help garden and decorate for the holidays in Jackson Square Park in Manhattan. I also waste a lot of time playing Animal Crossing these days.

4. What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Let the stories take the lead. As a design volunteer, I haven’t worked directly with any of the student authors, but I have worked with their stories. They have more than enough amazing imagery and ideas to guide the whole book direction.

5. What are your superpowers?

Observation! I always keep an eye out for plaques, birds, or strange things on the sidewalk.

Joe might have busted 826NYC’s superhero front but that didn’t stop him from becoming involved in the amazing work we do behind the secret door (or online). Find out how you can support over 3,500 young authors across New York City HERE!

Check out Joe’s awesome design work on The 826NYC Review Issue No. 11 and It’s Raining Gemstones Again. And stay connected with Joe on Instagram and LinkedIn.