1. How did you first get involved with 826NYC and why did you decide to volunteer?
I first learned about 826NYC by chance through a volunteer I met at a party in 2014. At that time I had been looking for volunteer opportunities, and working with students on their writing at a secret library behind a Superhero store sounded like the perfect fit. After attending a volunteer orientation, I was eager to learn more about the organization and I found out there were still open internships. A week later I was the Volunteer Outreach and Support Intern, and four months later I became the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Associate. Ever since my term as Volunteer Associate ended this past summer, I’ve been tutoring in Park Slope and Williamsburg, because after getting to know many of those students over the past 15 months, I can’t imagine not seeing them every week.
2. What’s your favorite part of volunteering at 826NYC?
Just being a part of the 826NYC community of students, volunteers and staff. Working with the after-school tutoring students in both Park Slope and Williamsburg has been incredible, even if it is sometimes challenging. Getting to know these students and see their confidence grow over the course of a year is a privilege and has added so much value to my weeks. Just being reminded of the powers of the imagination through an eight year old writing about spaghetti coming to life is so important as we become more and more jaded as adults. Also whenever I come to volunteer at 826NYC, I get to see the great friends I’ve made among the volunteers and staff.
3. What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Currently I am working on finding a new full-time job, but I’m also making sure to spend more time doing the things I feel I haven’t had the time for when working a 9-5, like photography, writing, volunteering and studying for the GRE.
4. What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Don’t be afraid to dive in! Working with students can seem intimidating or challenging at first, but the relationships you build with the students make it all worthwhile. Know that there are going to be difficult days, but overcoming the challenges is an important part of the experience. Finally, get to know your fellow volunteers and the staff (even the non-programs staff)! Be sure to attend volunteer appreciation events and trainings when you can. Having those connections make coming to 826NYC all the more enjoyable.
5. What are your superpowers?
Invisibility. I also make killer banana bread and chocolate chip cookies.