Volunteers like Anne help 826DC make magic happen every day! Anne’s longtime commitment to our After-School Writing Lab students, her writing talents as a journalist, and the enduring kindness that she brings to the writing center are all part of what makes this a truly special place.
We asked Anne to share a little bit about her volunteer experience:
How long have you been volunteering with 826DC?
“I have been an After-School Writing Lab tutor at 826DC every Wednesday afternoon for eight years. I’ve seen a long line of students grow tall—despite me asking them not to grow older—and smarter in what feels like no time at all!
“Because 826DC is in my neighborhood, it’s not a strain for me to go there. I do sometimes find myself rushed at work or too tired on some Wednesdays, and feel tempted to play hooky. However, just like when I go to the gym, I’m always game once I show up. There may be thousands of volunteers at 826 chapters across the country, but I feel unique because the students greet me with “Hi, Anne” and smiles. They seem genuinely glad to see me.”
What’s your favorite part of volunteering with us?
“One of my favorite parts of volunteering is witnessing both the students’ academic progress—seeing those brain wheels get greased and churning—and their devotion to the center and its community, which they also rightly demand from me!
“The students once chided me for missing a Wednesday session when I was out with the flu.
“‘That’s no excuse,’ they said. ‘We were here. We expected you to be here too.’”
“I remember thinking, ‘Wow! Tough audience!’”
What’s kept you coming back over all these years?
“The students are the draw, even when they test my patience.
“One student had a particularly difficult time focusing. He jittered as if he had ants in his pants! He misbehaved for weeks, until one day he suddenly stayed on task and was a perfect angel, in keeping with his name, Gabriel.
“‘What happened?’ I asked him.
“Being bad wasn’t working for me,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. ‘I figured out it’s a lot easier to just do my work.”
“So simple. So wise. And he continued to work like that for the entire year.
“But perhaps the best comment was from one student who said, ‘I feel best when I do the right thing when no one is watching.’ Amazingly profound advice from an eight-year-old!’”
If you would like to join Anne as an 826DC volunteer at our After-School Writing Lab, in our storefront, or in any of our other programs, you can get started here.