January will be Alyse’s two year anniversary at 826NYC. In that time, she’s taught a workshop full of aspiring sleuths how to solve mysteries through storytelling, comforted many a student when x’s started showing up in their math problems, and eaten lots of free treats (including an amazing and highly caffeinated piece of coffee cake at the Williamsburg chapbook party). These days you can find her tutoring at the Williamsburg and Park Slope centers, where she has been lovingly referred to as “Person who is nice to work with,” and “Brain-Girl,” not necessarily because the students think she’s a genius, but because, in what may have been a lapse of judgement, she showed them a video of a sheep brain dissection.
How did you first get involved with 826NYC and why did you decide to volunteer?
I was really interested in creative writing and education nonprofits, and was looking to work with one during my last semester of college. A friend of mine was an intern at 826NYC, and she absolutely loved it. She told me what 826 was all about, and it sounded amazing to me. I applied for a programs internship, and was lucky enough to get the position. On my first day of work, when I pulled open the trick shelf in the Superhero Store and saw the secret library, I was in awe. And of course, once I started working with the kids, I was totally smitten. When my internship came to an end, even though I was moving on to graduate school, I didn’t want to leave. So I continued on as a volunteer, and have been here ever since!
What’s your favorite part of volunteering at 826NYC?
I love when I’m working with a student on something they’ve been having trouble with in school, and it suddenly just clicks for them. I think it’s this beautiful moment for the student and the tutor—the student realizes their hard work is worthwhile, and how smart they really are, and we’re reminded why we do what we do here.
What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
I am a fiction MFA student, so I do a lot of writing and reading. If you see my name on a book someday, buy a thousand copies please!!
What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Be a tutor at 826’s Williamsburg Library satellite!! The kids are hysterical and adorable, and we’re all too often running low on tutors for them.
What are your superpowers.
I can hover a few inches off the ground if I really put my mind to it.