We’re excited to introduce you to our November Volunteer of the Month, Olivija Liepa. Olivija joined us as a volunteer this summer, supporting students during our Summer Workshops! Now, she’s leading our 4-5th graders in a riveting discussion of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” during Write After School. Learn about her time with 826Boston and her superpowers by reading her profile below!
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC, and why did you decide to volunteer?
Olivija: Prior to volunteering at 826NYC I was involved with the 826 chapter in Boston (aka the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute) for about a year. I really enjoyed the whimsy and creativity with which 826 approached learning, and did not want to end my involvement with the organization just because I was relocating. I joined 826NYC this past summer, and have been enjoying it immensely ever since!
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Olivija: Of course, I love how creative and inspired the students are—it encourages me to be more of an outside-the-box thinker! But most of all, I love getting to know everyone. Each week I return I feel like I learn more about the students I am working with. Especially seeing the more shy and reserved individuals open up more with every session we work together makes me really glad to be part of the team!
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Olivija: I love to go see whatever is showing at my local movie theaters but definitely NOT sneaking in my own snacks . . . And when I am not doing that, I am an educator at the Tenement Museum, where I give tours through a historic lower east side tenement building and the families which once resided there.
826NYC: What advice would you give to a new volunteer?
Olivija: Be patient! I love to check in with my cohort every ten minutes or so, both individually or collectively. But sometimes, students just need some time to work on their own, or maybe they just aren’t ready to ask for help! So for me the general rule of thumb—don’t push anyone to open up/share before they feel ready.
826NYC: What are your superpowers?
Olivija: Storytelling is very much a power I am still honing. As an educator at the Tenement Museum, and as an aspiring historian more generally, the ability to take information, documents, photographs, and spin these facts into narratives and captivating stories is one of my favorite powers.
Visit our website for more information on upcoming volunteer orientations and the first event for our 2021-2022 Justice & Equity Dialogues, NYC School System: Demystified!