January Volunteer of the Month: Peter Diller

News —— January 14, 2020

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

In 2015, I packed up my bags in Brooklyn and set out for Ohio to begin my college career. Campus life, although thrilling at first, soon grew somewhat stale. Everywhere I looked, everywhere I went, everyone was twenty. I missed the city’s vibrancy. I missed seeing and speaking with people who were not demographic carbon copies of myself. I returned to New York sophomore year with a newfound eagerness to get involved with its community. A few google searches later, I stumbled upon 826NYC and signed up for the next volunteer training session. That training took place in February 2017, and I’ve been tutoring here ever since.

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

The students’ stories are fascinating. Not just the stories they write down, either. The stories they tell while they unpack their backpacks, or while they avoid their math homework. I love hearing about the villains they face down in class, the allies they make at recess, and the heroic deeds they perform on their phones. Their chapbook submissions are indeed wonderful, but they also represent only the tip of story-telling iceberg.

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

The answer has varied! For my first two years of tutoring I was a student at New York University, where I majored in Religious Studies. I graduated last May, and have been kicking around local coffee shops ever since. Starting next month, however, I will begin working for the Brooklyn Defender Services’ Family Defense Practice. I’m excited to start my first real job but will be sad to stop my visits to the secret library.

4. What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Above all else, it is important to get the students writing. It matters much less about what. I view the daily prompts as useful starting points, not binding discussion topics.

5. What are your superpowers?

I’ve worn only black t-shirts every single day since 2016.