We’re excited to introduce you to our September Volunteer of the Month, Claire Kim-Narita! Claire started volunteering with us last year, and in addition to in-class support designed two publications: The 826NYC Review #14 and Leave It Unsolved! Learn more about Claire by reading her interview below:
826NYC: How did you first get involved with 826NYC and why did you decide to volunteer?
Claire: I found 826 online while searching for volunteer opportunities! I had some experience teaching, and while working a corporate job I really missed creative writing and being around kids (who always have better imaginations than adults).
826NYC: What’s your favorite part of 826NYC?
Claire: Being in class, I always get surprised at how each student has completely different interests, but everyone seems to know SO MUCH about the thing(s) they love. In just a couple minutes, I can go from reading a piece about the atmosphere of a planet and the expansion of the universe to a fictional spin on the Sonic movie, complete with special moves and detailed drawings of each character.
826NYC: What was your favorite part about designing some of the books that feature the writing of our published young authors?
I think I have two favorite parts: the first is getting to read different interpretations of the same prompt. When I designed Leave It Unsolved, I got to read several poems describing the feeling of joy, and it was fun to see when authors had written similar things and when they had written something completely different!
My second favorite part is seeing the range of work that 826 writers are capable of, especially while I was designing this year’s Annual Review. Pieces by 1st graders right next to pieces by 12th graders; fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction; poems and stories and graphic novels and character profiles… all in one place!
826NYC: What do you do when you’re not at 826NYC?
Claire: When the weather is nice, you’re likely to find me people-watching at a park! Otherwise, I’m often found watching movies, reading all the labels in an art museum, or finding new ingredient combinations in my kitchen!
826NYC: What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Claire: I would say… get into it! There is so much to see and hear around the classroom on any given day. As you keep engaging with students and their work, I am sure that you will encounter moments that are unexpectedly hilarious, or touching, or wise… or disgusting (LOL).
826NYC: What are your superpowers?
- I love learning languages! I can hold a decent conversation in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and American Sign Language.
- I am a very unpicky eater, and I (almost) always clear my plate!
- I can sleep through anything–fire alarms, 5am garbage trucks, you name it.
- My hair grows really quickly, so I am not afraid to try new haircuts!
Want to support our students? Sign up for a volunteer orientation today!