Staff Spotlight: Kelsey and Brandi

Kelsey and Brandi, two awesome AmeriCorps VISTA service members, recently joined our team of magic makers! We chatted with each of them to get to know them a little better.


Name: Kelsey McClure
Job Title: Volunteer Engagement Specialist – AmeriCorps VISTA
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: DeWitt, MI

Name: Brandi Shorts
Job Title: Development Coordinator – AmeriCorps VISTA
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Falls Church, VA


What drew you to 826DC?

KM: The mission. I have always valued writing and what it can do, not only for a person’s education but also for their outlook on themselves. So working for an organization that puts writing, and especially creative writing, at the forefront is amazing.

BS: After working with children to improve their literacy fundamentals and skills, I was eager to apply a creative approach to education. I was drawn to the element of expository writing that 826 implements in its educational programming. I am excited about the prospect of reflection and actualization that these programs extend to students.

What was your favorite book growing up, and why?

KM: I am a fantasy person through and through. That, paired with my millennial age group, means that I grew up with Harry Potter in my blood.

BS: I was a huge fan of the A to Z Mystery series. I guess there was a sense of suspense that hooked me. I devoured those books.

What’s one unusual thing on your desk right now?

KM: My Western Michigan University coffee mug!

BS: I have a small statue of a couple of koalas clinging to a tree.

What inspired you to get involved with this kind of work, and why do you think it’s so important?

KM: Service and education have been a part of my life for a long time now. I have taught and worked in other non-profit settings and all of those experiences have inspired me to continue working in this setting. I love working with students to help them achieve their goals in the same way that other adults helped to achieve my goals as a student.

BS: I noticed a trend of volunteer service in my life. I was actively serving my community throughout middle school, high school, and college. After college, I worked with AmeriCorps for Reading Partners DC. That year of service led to this year at 826DC.