Meet our June Volunteer of the Month: Rachel Spurrier

News —— 6/3/2016

1. How did you first get involved with 826NYC and why did you decide to volunteer?
Time’s really beginning to blur, so I had to look it up–July 2014!
I’d been living in NYC for over a year, and I really missed being in a community of people who love reading and writing. I’d been heavily involved with my college’s literary magazine, literary society, and English department, but since I was working at a tech start up, I didn’t get much interaction with fellow bibliophiles.
I also wanted to get more involved. Moving from Texas, I’d had a hard enough time adjusting and wanted to become part of the community. I started looking up volunteer opportunities online and stumbled across 826NYC.

2. What’s your favorite part of volunteering at 826NYC?
826NYC provides an incredible opportunity for students to develop and foster a love of writing. Publishing students’ work can have such a powerful impact on students: feeling pride and accomplishment, the thrill of seeing your name in print, getting to share your work with others.
When I worked at my college’s writing center, I worked with many students with writing phobias. They’d sit down with their paper and say, “Well, I’m bad at writing, so it’s not very good.” I think 826NYC actively combats students growing up to think that they’re bad writers and nothing they write could ever be any good. Taking pride in your work and believing in your ability to write is invaluable to young students.

3. What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
I work as a product manager at a tech company and spend a lot of time spelunking in databases. I’m also a graduate student in an online Science Writing program through Johns Hopkins University. Between work and school, I’m not left with a ton of free time, mostly spent eating, free writing, and urban exploring.

4. What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Allow your passion to guide you and get as involved as you can, as much as your schedule allows. With so many volunteering opportunities, you’ll find a way to contribute and make some friends in the process. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

5. What are your superpowers?
Reading while walking and while standing in a jostling subway car; eating ice cream in below-zero temperatures.