March Volunteer of the Month: Joel Goldberg

There’s no stopping Joel, he is a volunteering machine. He volunteers at both on-site programs like field trips and workshops and off-site programs like our In School Writing, Editing, and Publishing program. He’s active in our ongoing Teen Writing Lab workshop and the Tubman Newspaper Club. He ALSO volunteers in our magic shop! How he does it all, we’ll never know.

We asked Joel to tell us more about his experiences with 826DC.


1. How long have you volunteered with 826DC, and how did you get involved?
I started training in June 2016, then volunteered for the first time in July. My cousin works as a full-time teacher at an elementary school in D.C. I asked her if she knew of any organizations where I could volunteer as a tutor, and she suggested 826.

2. What will you take away from your time volunteering with 826DC? OR What has been your most memorable moment while volunteering with 826DC?
I can answer both questions at once. My most memorable moment was the time I led my own Saturday writing workshop. I worked hard with Neekta to put together a lesson plan that I thought would engage students. My take away from the experience was that young people are so inspiring. I thought, at best, the students would go through the motions, itching to get out of class. Instead, they were really involved and attentive.

 I couldn’t believe how excited and eager some of the students were to participate. One student, who showed up late for the workshop and seemed pretty bored, came up to me after class and told me he loved it. A dad who was in attendance asked how he could get his son more involved. That was an amazing experience all-around.

3. Considering you volunteer in so many different areas, which one is your favorite and why?
 It’s a tie between the Saturday workshops and Newspaper Club at Tubman Elementary. I like the workshops because they give everyone, both teachers and students, the chance to show off their creativity. The Newspaper Club is fun because it gives me a chance to visit a well-known school in my own neighborhood of Columbia Heights. It’s also sort of meditative to sit around in a circle and pick apart newspaper articles. The students’ personalities shine when they explain what interests them in the news. Some are funny, others are outspoken, some are thoughtful or insightful. It’s all good!