We’re excited to introduce you to our July Volunteer of the Month, Nicholas Martinez. Nicholas joined our publishing cohort as a copyeditor & proofreader in 2021, and started supporting our new Dungeons & Dragons & Writers program this year! He supports our students on their adventures while they encounter mythical creatures & relay the exciting things that took place on their journey. Learn more about Nicholas by reading below:
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC, and why did you decide to volunteer?
Nicholas: I first learned of 826 after seeing a wonderful feature about their Los Angeles branch on the popular Twitch series Critical Role. Voice actor and Game Master Matthew Mercer visited there and was playing Dungeons and Dragons with the kids (a game I started playing around the same time). While that piqued my interest, the video package highlighted how 826 helps young students develop their writing and communication skills in a productive means. That really drew me in, being that I come from a Journalism and Education background. I firmly believe in the notion of giving a voice to the voiceless, and, at times, children struggle with properly communicating their feelings. Creative writing is a great outlet that helps young ones find positive ways of reaching out to those around them for guidance and support, or to making lasting emotional connections with family and friends. I reached out to 826NYC and, as they say, the rest is history.
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Nicholas: I enjoy reading and editing the children’s work that comes across my desk. The ideas and turns of phrase found within their writings are unique and very vivid; they draw me into the storytelling and describe situations in ways I don’t often expect to read. I learn a lot from these great kids, which fills me with gratitude and hope for the future.
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Nicholas: Currently, I teach English and Journalism at the City University of New York’s Borough of Manhattan Community College campus. When I am not editing collegiate papers or 826NYC student submissions, I am often pursuing my own writing projects, playing video games or tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, or enjoying a good television series or movie by myself or with loved ones. I also enjoy playing the guitar and I am planning to take piano lessons soon!
826NYC: What advice would you give to a new volunteer?
Nicholas: If anyone is considering volunteering, DO IT! You will not regret it. You get to work with some amazing people at 826, help the brightest and kindest kids you’ll ever meet and, most of all, you get a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction knowing you are sowing seeds of greatness into the future writers and leaders of tomorrow. Once you are here, listen to the great advice you’ll get from the staff. Learn from their experiences and from those of your fellow volunteers. This interchange of encouragement serves as a massive boon for not only you, but also for those whom you will help going forward.
826NYC: What is your superpower?
Nicholas:Well, I can tell you I wish I had the superpowers of Superman! (Without that nasty aversion to Kryptonite, of course.) However, in reality, I have a quickness like The Flash when it comes to editing and a strength of character matching the Man of Steel when it comes to supporting others in need. l also have a Herculean level of kindness, which my family often says is in short supply these days.
Want to connect with our students? Sign up for a volunteer orientation today!