Meet Our Volunteer Committee!

News —— August 1, 2017

Meet 826NYC’s Volunteer Committee!

The 826NYC Volunteer Committee (VolComm) is a group of dedicated volunteers who provide integral support to 826NYC staff and the volunteer community at large. VolComm was formed in the Spring of 2015 and has since planned regular volunteer appreciation parties and acted as guides, sounding boards, troubleshooters, and colleagues in the pursuit of providing 826 students with A+ tutors and mentors.

How to Get Involved

The 826NYC Volunteer Committee is looking for new members! Joining VolComm is a great way to flex your planning, organizing, and communication muscles while building relationships with fellow volunteers and representing 826NYC both within and outside of the organization. If you are passionate about 826NYC’s work, and want to support fellow volunteers take a few minutes to complete the VolComm Member Application. You can also take a look at the full Volunteer Committee Member Description and learn more about our current committee members below.

If you have any questions about the Volunteer Committee or the application process, please email and!

Who We Are

Bob Makela is entering his second year as an after-school volunteer at our basement location in the Williamsburg Library. “The three hours I spend every Thursday afternoon getting students excited about writing and helping them with their homework is extremely gratifying—and entertaining,” says Bob, a Southern California native who moved to Brooklyn three years ago. “The students have me laughing every single time I show up. And it feels good to help out and connect with the community I’m relatively new to.” Bob is a freelance writer, book publisher (Bobtimystic Books) and filmmaker, who’s directing and producing Green Thumbs, a web series he created, this fall. He’s also a big fan of biking (he once bicycled across America), exploring NYC, traveling, film/TV, podcasts, comedy, storytelling, sports, Barstool Poetry, photography and listening. He’s happy to help new and old volunteers with feedback, questions and reminders of what’s so great about volunteering. He can be reached at

Alli Lee has walked through the Secret Door into 826NYC’s Park Slope Secret Library for nearly three years. A long-time contributor to the New York City education community, Alli joined the ranks of Superhero volunteers to help bring joy and delight back into learning. Alli brings over nine years of experience working in and out of schools in New York City to support students and families in achieving educational equity. Most recently, Alli managed the NYC Hub for 4.0 Schools, a community of educators who are invested in changing the future of school through the development of schools and learning spaces. Volunteers are encouraged to reach out to Alli with any questions, concerns, feedback, or general musings about 826NYC via email at

Kyra Sturgill has been volunteering with 826NYC as an after-school tutor in Park Slope and Williamsburg since September 2016. Prior to that she was involved with 826NYC in a couple of other capacities, first as an intern, then as full-time employee for one year through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She couldn’t imagine parting ways with the students and volunteers that make up the vibrant and welcoming community she’s come to love, so she’s been staying active as a volunteer since. She is still working the education world, currently for an education technology nonprofit that develops personalized learning models. She encourages any prospective or current volunteers to reach out to her with any wonderings at

Valerie Courtney has been volunteering with After-School Tutoring in Park Slope, Workshops, and designing 826NYC publications for almost three (!) years. She’s a Creative Adventurist, Art Director at a gift & stationery publisher, found playing card collector, aspiring street artist, and forever-kid-at-heart. She is also our only ever two-time Volunteer of the Month recipient!

Susan Pelzer is in her second year volunteering with us at our After-School Tutoring program in Park Slope. You can find here there on Thursday afternoons, and she’s a great resource for volunteers with any questions about working with our students!

Nora Pelizarri is long-time volunteer who’s involved in a lot of different programs at 826NYC. You can find her running our novel-writers workshop, or working behind the scenes to help us edit our students’ writing to get it ready for publication.