We know what you’re thinking; that must be a typo in this month’s volunteer spotlight headline. It’s no mistake, Les Luchter, no to be confused with Superman’s nemesis, is May’s Volunteer of the month! We look forward to welcoming our volunteers back to in-person programming in September, where their superpowers and expertise will keep our young authors imagining a bright future for us all! Please keep reading to learn more about Les’s journey with 826NYC, sage advice to new volunteers, his slate of anti-superpowers.
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC, and why did you decide to volunteer?
Les: With some extra time on my hands, I was looking for a new volunteer opportunity. I had previously volunteered with the Taproot Foundation, where I used my skills in writing, editing, and public relations to help nonprofits with communications projects, and with the International Center, where I helped immigrants master English conversation skills. I felt that 826NYC would allow me to both apply my career skills and engage one-on-one with a worthwhile community – this time, youngsters just forging their own life paths. Furthermore, the Secret Library was right near me in Brooklyn!
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Les: My favorite part has been that one-on-one interaction with kids, where you can really watch them grow through the weeks and months. That’s sort of been missing in this year’s virtual encounters, so I can’t wait to get back to the Secret Library come September!
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Les: I’m co-founder and editorial director of The Savvy Screener, a news site providing daily articles about hidden gems and other offerings in the world of streaming and over-the-air television. I still do corporate public relations, too, mostly in the media and ad tech worlds. Away from work, I’m itching to get back to exploring events in the city, now that COVID is hopefully dying down, traveling again to my favorite destination New Orleans and other locales, going out to the movies again, and taking lots of photos.
826NYC: What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Les: 826NYC offers lots of different ways to get involved, so don’t worry if your first choice doesn’t work out, either on your comfort level or schedule-wise. I started out doing field trips because my mid-days were then pretty free, and then switched to after-school writing when that worked in better with new responsibilities earlier in the day. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes – everyone’s very non-judgmental, including the kids!
826NYC: What are your superpowers?
Les: That’s easy! People sometimes confuse me with Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch-enemy. So my super identity is “Not Lex Luthor.” As an anti-supervillain, my superpowers are thus anti-greediness, anti-superego, and anti-sociopath.