Talented, hard-working, dedicated, caring — these are just a few of the rock-solid qualities the people of 826 possess. Portraits by the wonderfully generous volunteer photographers Stephanie Theune of Schmootography, and by Malcolm Eaton of Malcolm Eaton Photography.
AmeriCorps support staff through summer 2017
Board of Directors
Eric Abrams is the Chief Inclusion Officer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and formerly served as Diversity Director at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Born in Berkeley, Abrams spent his childhood in the Bay Area and Chicago before matriculating at Stanford, where he majored in political science and drama and served on the student senate as well as acting in and directing a number of student theatrical productions. As a graduate student at UCLA, Abrams studied political science, as well as being elected Secretary of the Black Graduate Student Association. He has served as Director of Admissions at Pitzer College, Berkeley Law, and the Stanford MBA Admission Office, where he worked to increase diversity and enrollment of traditionally underrepresented groups. Abrams has led workshops on topics such as public speaking for admissions professionals, outreach to students from underrepresented communities, and working with student groups, and he is member of the Finalist Selection Committee for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Program. Eric lives in Oakland with his wife and two teenage sons. He is a huge sports fan, a beginning motorcyclist, and an avid barbecue pitmaster.
Colleen Quinn Amster is a writer and editor from Boca Raton, Florida who earned degrees in English literature and Spanish from Middlebury College and Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. Colleen worked as a reporter and assistant editor at New York Magazine and moved to San Francisco to work as an associate editor at Mother Jones. Colleen now lives in San Francisco with her husband, John, and their three children, Finn, Aidan, and Curran. She has served on the boards of several San Francisco philanthropic organizations, including Children of Shelters and the National Charity League.
Joya Banerjee, Vice Chair, is a Program Officer at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, a private family foundation based in San Francisco, where she oversees a grant portfolio that advances the sustainable management of California’s water resources. Prior to joining the foundation, Joya was an attorney at Latham & Watkins and worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office. Joya graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, and she received a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. She lives in San Francisco.
Michael Beckwith is a principal at Maverick Capital, a global investment firm founded in 1993, where he is the Sector Head overseeing the firm’s global industrial and energy investments. Michael rejoined Maverick in 2009 after serving as General Partner of Sequoia Capital, LLP. Michael originally joined Maverick in 2004 after serving as a Senior Vice President at Andor Capital Management and having worked at Robertson Stephens in equity research. Prior to working in the investment world, Michael was the associate director of the Summerbridge AmeriCorps Teaching Program—a federally funded program that was part of Summerbridge National (re-named Breakthrough Collaborative). Michael received a B.A. from Middlebury College and a JD from Harvard Law School. Michael is currently a Board Member at Central Montana Resources, a privately held natural resources company.
Barb Bersche is a partner and the former president of McSweeney’s Publishing, as well as a founding board member of 826 Valencia and the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation. On her own time, Barb has been a designer (with a Grammy-nominated box set called Alan Lomax in Haiti), and a New York Times best-selling children’s book author, as well as a consultant to other creative agencies and nonprofits. She is also a member of the Marin County Search and Rescue/Mountain Rescue team.
Lisa Brown is an illustrator, author, designer, and cartoonist. Her award-winning picture books for children include The Airport Book, Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, and The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket. Her writing and illustration has been published in a variety of publications, including NPR, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Lucky Peach, and The New York Times. She has been joyfully involved in 826 Valencia since its founding; as a donor, field trip illustrator and leader, workshop instructor, and publication contributor. Lisa teaches in the Illustration Department of the California College of the Arts. She received a BA in Humanities from Wesleyan University and an MS in Communications Design from Pratt Institute in New York City.
Michelle Yunhi Lee is a writer and educator who has taught in universities across the country and is frequently a featured speaker on 21st century literacy, critical pedagogy, and the contemporary youth voice movement. She is the recipient of the New York Hip Hop Theater Festival’s Future Aesthetic Grant, and her work has been featured at the National Asian American Theater Festival, Girlfest: Hawai’i, Intersection for the Arts’ New Works Theater Festival, and on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She currently serves in the Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program (ILSP) and as a Senior Teaching Artist at Youth Speaks. She lives in East Oakland with her husband and their three children.
Alex Lerner, Treasurer, is a partner of Indaba Capital, an investment firm based in San Francisco. Alex originally joined Indaba at the time of the fund’s launch in 2011 and rejoined in 2014 after earning his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He began his career in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at Lazard Ltd following forays in journalism and publishing at Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Alex also received a B.A. in English from Stanford University.
Jim Lesser, Board Chair, is one of the few Executive Creative Directors in the advertising industry to become the President and CEO of a major agency network office. In the eighteen years he’s been at BBDO San Francisco, the office has gone from five employees to more than 100 and helped BBDO win the 2015 U.S. Agency of the Year Award. Jim began his career as the receptionist at a New York agency before being promoted to copywriter. As a result, he believes a great idea can and often will come from anywhere. Jim has served on the Boards of BBDO New York and Dwell Magazine and is currently serving as Board Chair at 826 Valencia. Jim is a passionate outdoorsman who spends as much time as possible hiking with his wife and two sons.
Dave Pell spends the first half of each day writing the NextDraft newsletter and iOS app where he covers the day’s most fascinating news. The newsletter is syndicated by Time. During the second half of his day, he is the managing partner of Arba Group, a family-owned company that invests in early stage Internet startups. Dave has deep experience in education, having taught high school in Brooklyn and Boston. He has degrees from UC Berkeley and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dave lives in Marin with his wife and two young children, Herschel and Octavia.
Han Phung is an educator, collaborator, and equity-focused advocate for our public school system. As a second-language-learner and refugee from Vietnam, she viewed her own schooling as both a safe haven and an opportunity pathway. That is the essence of why she does this work: to provide a safe and productive climate so that we can increase equitable learning opportunities for students. During fifteen years of working in urban school districts, her experience has spanned multiple levels from middle school students to adult learners, including two years as a leadership coach and facilitator, seven years as a high- and middle-school administrator, and six years teaching grades 6–12. Han received a BA in English Literature from Bowdoin College and MA in Education from UC Berkeley.
Andrew Strickman, Secretary, leads Brand and Creative Services at Move, Inc., home to Realtor.com, one of the top real estate sites on the Web. Prior to Move, Andrew headed Yahoo!’s award-winning global experiential marketing team, creating rich opportunities for consumers to experience the Yahoo! brand in the offline world. Andrew spent eight years as a partner at Ammo Marketing (acquired in 2006 by London-based Aegis Media). At Ammo—The Original Influencer Marketing Agency—Andrew led the development of creative word-of-mouth program strategy for clients like Brown-Forman, Volvo, Philips, AT&T, Blurb, Method Home and Miller Brewing. Pre-marketing career, Andrew spent more than fifteen years as an award-winning entertainment and pop culture journalist for such publications as Rolling Stone, Details, The Village Voice and many others. During ten years of volunteering at 826 Valencia, Andrew has worn nearly every hat at the writing center—he was a deck-swabber in the early days when the roof would leak, he taught workshops on critical writing and persuasion, he was a fundraiser and founding member of the 826 development committee, and most importantly, Andrew co-led the drop-in tutoring program on Sundays for eight years.
Joe Vasquez is the Manager of Partnerships & Strategy at Runway. Joe is an iOS developer and early co-founder of StartX, an accelerator for Stanford entrepreneurs. Prior to joining Runway, Joe taught at the Kauffman Fellows Academy and was a Data Analyst Fellow at LocoMotive Labs. Joe started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and spent two years teaching bilingual math with Teach For America. Joe holds a BS in Atmosphere & Energy Engineering from Stanford University.
Rachel Swain Yeaman is a writer, communications consultant, and long-time advocate for social justice and civil rights. Over the course of many years, Rachel conceived and directed winning media and communications campaigns for many national and regional advocacy organizations, including the ACLU. She has served on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Breast Cancer Fund and Children’s Day School, where she chaired the capital campaign that enabled the purchase and construction of a new independent, progressive middle school in the heart of San Francisco. Rachel holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is thrilled to bring her passion for social justice and children’s writing to the board of 826.
826 Valencia Co-Founders
Nínive Calegari is a veteran public school teacher and served as the Executive Director of 826 Valencia until 2007 and the CEO of 826 National until 2010. Before teaching in her family’s hometown in Mexico, Nínive worked at Leadership High School, San Francisco’s first charter school, where she also served on the Board of Directors. She holds a Masters of Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Nínive, along with two co-authors, published Teachers Have it Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers. In 2007, Nínive was awarded the ‘Daring Dozen’ award from the George Lucas Foundation, recognizing her for effective work in education. Nínive also founded and serves as president of The Teacher Salary Project, a nonprofit designed to build the political will necessary to transform how US society values effective teachers.
Dave Eggers is the author of seven books including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What is the What, and most recently A Hologram for the King, Where the Wild Things Are, and Away We Go. He was named one of TIME Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in 2005, and received the 2007 Heinz Award and the 2008 TED prize. His book Zeitoun received the 2010 American Book Award, and A Hologram for the King was named one of the ten best books of 2012 by The New York Times.
The members of 826 Valencia’s Shipmates Society are some of our most committed sponsors. We’d like to extend a gigantic, heartfelt thank you to those of you who have donated funds to support 826 Valencia’s programs. Your support will help us make a meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of young San Franciscans this year.
We strive for accuracy in our listings. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your information is incorrect. This list reflects gifts of $100 or more, from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.
For more information on joining the Shipmates Society, check out our membership page.
Kirsten & Michael Beckwith
Art Berliner & Marian Lever
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation
City Arts & Lectures
Lee & Russ Flynn, Teachers Housing Cooperative
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Walter & Elise Haas Fund
Daniel Handler & Lisa Brown
Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau
The Kimball Foundation
Lampert/Byrd Family Fund
Levi Strauss & Co.
Coltrane & Christopher Lord
Maverick Capital Foundation
Matt Middlebrook & Lisa Presta
Mosser Companies, Inc.
Panta Rhea Foundation
Dave & Gina Pell
Pincus Family Fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock
Saint Francis Foundation
San Francisco Arts Commission
San Francisco Department of Children,Youth, and Their Families
Severns Family Foundation
Brad & Ali Singer
Michael & Shauna Stark
Andrew Strickman & Michal Ettinger
Laurie & Jeff Ubben
Advisors of the Walnut Fund
The Isabel Allende Foundation
The Amster Family Fund
John Baldessari Family Foundation
Joya Banerjee & Harris Cohen
CISCO Systems Foundation
The Comis Foundation
craigslist Charitable Fund
Rose and David Dortort Foundation
ExCEL After School Programs
The Futures Project
The Hosono/Axelrod Family & Sundri Alim
Vy & Matthew Hyman
Kimberly & Zachary Hyman
Diana Kapp & David Singer
David L. Klein, Jr. Fund
Stanley S. Langendorf Foundation
George C. Lee
Jim & Tricia Lesser
Michael Moritz & Harriet Heyman
The Bernard Osher Foundation
Remick Family Foundation
Robin Renfrew & family in honor of Taylor Renfrew Ingham
Santel McGinnis Family Charitable Fund
Scandling Family Foundation
Cameron Schrier Family Fund
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
Gene & Suzanne Valla
Kyle & Tracy Vogt
Karen & Jim Wagstaffe
The Walther Foundation
Brickyard Family Fund
Sam & Susie Britton
Sylvia & Barry Bunshoft in honor of Jennifer Bunshoft Pergher
The Campodonico Family
Jill Cowan & Stephen Davis
Jen Hamilton & Seth Boro
Reece Hirsch & Kathy Taylor
June P. Jackson Charitable Fund
Jeri & Jeffrey Johnson
Jordan & Theo Kurland
Alexander M. & June L. Maisin Foundation of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
The Joseph & Mercedes McMicking Foundation
Mark Risher & Deborah Yeh
Lee & Perry Smith Fund
TPG Global, LLC
Mike Wilkins & Sheila Duignan
Kevin & Rachel Swain Yeaman
The Donald & Carole Chaiken Foundation
Nathaniel de Rothschild in honor of
Shepard & Melissa Harris
Hellman & Friedman LLC
Derek G. Howard
Christina Hurvis & Steve Malloy
Lesbians for Good, a fund of the
Olivia Morgan in honor of Nínive Calegari
David & Katy Orr
Delsa & Jay Rendon
Valerie Veronin & Robert Porter
Molly West & Chuck Slaughter
Write & Raise: Hosted by Nicole, Arun, Sarah, Ani, Seif & Andy
Michael S. & Sigrid Anderson-Kwun
Blakely & John Atherton
The Awesome Foundation
The Baughman Co., Inc.
Meryl & James Bennan
Bien-Kahn Philanthropic Fund
Bluestone Family Fund
Scott & Jacqueline Botterman
Kathy & Greg Calegari
Celia Sack & Omnivore Books on Food
Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants
Steven & Alexi Conine
The Conway Frankel Family Fund
Coulter 2006 Management Trust on behalf of Natalie J. Guo, Sanjay Banker, Nick Marncini, and Rob Snook
David & Carla Crane Philanthropic Fund
David Foster Wallace Literary Trust
Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund
Arline Epstein & the Quadra Foundation
Francis-Chapman Charitable Fund
Alison & Mark Garrett
Daniel Gelfand & Nicole Avril
Kristin & Jeremy Ginsberg
Andrew & Emma Gray
Green Bicycle Fund
Natalie Guo, Margaret Kirchner, Ashley Rape, & Gloria Herbert on behalf of Baking Event
Joe & Barbara Gurkoff Philanthropic Fund
Hammarskjold Family Fund
Jessica Hemerly & Jonathan Koshi
Jonn & Max Herschend-Schroder
The Justin and Michelle Hughes Foundation
Hyun Chin Charitable Fund
James Irvine Foundation
Jason Family Foundation
Krummel Family Fund
Joshua J. Mahoney
John & Lynda Marren
Paul Menage in honor of Vivienne Pustell
Steven Miller & Jennifer Durand
Amir Najmi & Linda Woo
The Odell/Kemp Fund
Ginger & Dan Oros
Zachary Patton & Janel Thysen
Andrew & Emily Perito
Alexandra Quinn & Mark Spoylar as
a gift for Daphne Spoylar
Rabine Family Fund
Marcia Rodgers & Garrett Loube
Brooke & David Rusenko
Irene S. Scully Fund
Silicon Valley Bank
Lisa Sison as a gift for Alyssa Aninag
The Stephen and Paula Smith Family Foundation
Squire Patton Boggs in honor of Nate Lane’s retirement
Tamara Mellon Brand Inc.
Tides Foundation in honor of the work of Hollie Smiley
Samantha Tripodi in honor of Dan &
Ellen & Rob Valletta
April & Cameron Walters
Tim Wirth & Anne Stuhldreher
Kirsten Wolfe in honor of Holden & Dashiel Brown
Steven Nathaniel Wolkoff Foundation
Woodward Family Foundation
Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation
Erika & Jordan Alperin
Robert K. Brown
Isabel Duffy-Pinner & Dickon Pinner
Kopal & Malcolm Goonetileke
Allyson Halpern & Dan Cohen
Marcia & Lawrence Lusk
Lutes & Abrons Family Fund
Sejal Patel & Sanjay Banker
Amber Reed & Dan Newman
Matthew Sonefeldt in honor of Gabe & Jen Escovar
Rachel & Stephen Tracy
Diane Zagerman & Donald Golder
Jennifer Braun & Ray Ryan
Andrew Dunbar & Zoee Astrachan
Gillian & Peter Emblad
Kristen Grannan as a gift for
Eric Heiman in honor of Volume Inc.
David L. Kirp
Syida C. Long
Jamie & Marc Lunder
Aaron Mount as a gift for Jim Lesser
Bruce & Risa Nye
O’Reilly Media, Inc.
Zohreh & Ike Okuda
Mark Plakias & Carolyn Schultz Plakias
Revolutions Per Minute on behalf of Treasure Island Music Festival
Jean-Emmanuel Shein &
Vanessa & Phil Siino Haack
Sing For America Foundation on behalf of Dina Martin
Spivy Family Philanthropy Fund
St. Thomas the Apostle School
William & Heather Terrell
Peter & Lisa Westley
Karen H. Wickre Fund
Jesse & Michelle Zeifman
Debra Armstrong in honor of The Readers of Mary E. Silveira Recess Library Club
Andi & David Arrick
Laurie Barkin & Brian Brosnahan
George Beckwith in honor of Michael Beckwith
Barb Bersche & David Katznelson
John & Natasha Boas
Cheryl Bowers in honor of Kimberly Connor
Elizabeth Brenum as a gift for Gil Brenum
Gerard Buulong & Fredric Silverman Fund
Marie D’Amico & Steve Capps
Jack & Molly Cargas
Marit & Enrico Casarosa
Otis Chandler in honor of winning the office NCAA pool
Doris Y. Chang in memory of Jane Han
The Charles Armstrong School
Kristin & Dickson Chu
Patti & Harry Cocciolo
Craftsman and Wolves
Design Options on behalf of Chloe Denbow
Norman Patrick Doyle
Jon & Holly Drawbaugh
Joel Dubin as a gift for Karen & Stuart Gansky
Marybeth Dyer in honor of Lucille Birmingham
Julie Dyer Vree
Taylor & Scott Eason
Marc Engel in honor of Voicebox Creative
Sarah Esterkyn as a gift for Alex & Lucas Perry
Four Dollar Books & the Four is a little, Four is a LOT team
Joel Fruchtman & Maureen Murphy
Fullosophie on behalf of Shinola
Karen & Stuart Gansky in honor of Shelley & Arnold Leder
Stephen Gilbane as a gift for Sejal Patel
Danielle Gilbert in honor of Rubi & Zach Gilbert
Ken Goldberg & Tiffany Shlain
Shirley Gordon in honor of Caroline Kangas
Yvonne Green in honor of Shelby DeWeese
Mary Lynn Greenhow
Dixie & Richard Grossman
Aron Hall & Alison Huml
John & Marsha Hall in memory of Brian Hall
Janet H. & J. Mark Hall
David & Jane Hartley
Joeli Hettler & Alden Bourne
Kit & Linda Hinrichs
Wanda M. Holland Greene
Anna & James Hsu
Whitney Huey as a gift for Alyssa Aninag
Irvington High School’s French Club
Ivivva USA Inc. & Lululemon
Joseph & Urmilla John
Julie & Connor Kidd
Kristen & Ryan King
Kristin Klein & William Donahoe
Michelle Lee & Dennis Kim
Leigh & Michael Lehman
Feralee & Charles Levin
Lobster Theater Project
Michelle Long & Christopher Nicholson
Kavitha & Reza Lotun
Berta & Sanford Lowenstein
Joen & Paul Madonna
Mark Anthony Maningas
Cathy Manshel & Bill Rusitsky in honor of Ashley Varady & her team at Buena Vista Horace Mann
Pamela McGuire & Russell Corrigan
Tessa & John Melvin
Jeanette & Kevin Moore
Morehouse Family Fund
Katrina & Tim Morshead
Naomi Mraz as a gift for Elliott Girouard
National Center for Employee Ownership
Elizabeth W. Nolan
Kelly O’Reilly as a gift for Tom O’Reilly
Kate O’Sullivan & Kurt Bauer
Victor Ortiz de Montellano
Rodney & Anne Pearlman in honor of Karen Wagstaffe
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Christina V. Perry
Han Phung & Juan Malo
Dale Pitman in honor of After-School Tutoring students & families
Michael Powell in honor of Dumpster & Barb Haiduck
Meg Donohue & Phil Preuss
Mary Lou Ragghianti
Kaye Reeves in honor of Owen & Charlie
Charles Reiker & Barbara Keating
Margaret Robbins & Seth Weissman as a gift for Nínive Calegari
John B. Roberts
Jim & Emily Scheinman in honor of Mac Barnett, Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, & Christian Robinson
Nina Schindler as a gift for Ilya Sukhar & Courtney Ward
Gregory Schram in honor of Jamie Shaw
Rebecca Schumacher in honor of Ann Elliott
Fred Seely in honor of Blake R. Seely
Sarah Shriver in memory of Florence Hochman
Simons Family Foundation
Laura Singer in memory of Kathryn Payne
Leef Smith on behalf of Free Comic Book Day Funraiser
St. Philip Catholic School
Kimberly Stewart Hopper & James Stearns
Jeremy Stone in honor of Maggy Cullman
Brooke & Eric Tao
Mary Taugher & F. Martin Booth
Marcia Tingley as a gift for Chase Tingley
Mary Kay Tisch
Turbow Family Fund
Jenise Uehara Henrikson
Lisa & Robert Varady
Taylor & Kent Wakefield
Kia Wang Nevarez
Ben Watanabe in honor of First Draft
Christopher H. Winship
Suzanne Yonkers in honor of Joya Banerjee
Yu Jurafsky Charitable Fund
Leslie Yuan & David Aaronson
Sophie Ziegler in honor of Jennifer Braun
MATCHING GIFT SPONSORS
Dolby Match Program
Gartner, Inc. Matching Gifts Program
Goldman Sachs Matching Gifts Program
Google Matching Gifts Program
Kaiser Permanente, Southern California Region
Maverick Capital Foundation (Dallas)
Microsoft Matching Gifts Program
PG&E Corporation Campaign for the Community
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
Select Equity Group Foundation
Skoll Global Threats Fund
The Walt Disney Company Foundation
Almanac Beer Co.
ALR Associated Lighting Reps Inc.
AMP Printing and Graphics
Anderson, Rowe, and Buckley, Inc.
Ayoob & Perry
Bay Area Concrete
BBDO San Francisco
BCCI Construction Co.
Bluewater Environmental Services Inc.
Dan Brotsky & Shawna Hartman Brotsky
Nínive & Jean Claude Calegari
California Drywall Co.
California Wood Floors
Commercial Casework Inc.
Craftsman and Wolves
Creative Ceilings and Drywall Inc.
Cutting Edge Drapery
Adriana del Mar
Design and Direct Source
DW Nicholson Corporation
Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
Fire Detection Unlimited, Inc.
Four Barrel Coffee
Giampolini & Co.
Golden Gate Fire Protection
Gundlach Bundschu Winery & Vineyard
HD Supply Construction & Industrial White Cap
Independent Electric Supply Inc.
Mary Lou Iverson
Jamestown Community Center
Buffy and Patrick Maguire
Majestic Floors Inc.
Christy McCreary and Clif Bar & Company
Mission Glass Company
Microbiz Security Company
Minton Door Company
Monticelli Painting and Decorating
National Air Balance Co.
New Bohemia Signs
Nor-Cal Floor Design, Inc.
Omni Sheet Metal Inc.
Overhead Door Company
Paganini Electric Corporation
Patrick J. Ruane, Incorporated
Progress Glass Co., Inc.
Richard Hancock Inc.
Rubio Monocoat USA
Helaine Lasky Schweitzer
Service Metal Products Inc.
Surber Drywall Construction Inc.
The Lawson Roofing Company, Inc.
Gene & Suzanne Valla
Whole Foods Market
Young Electric Co.
The staff at 826 Valencia is small compared to the output of the organization. There’s absolutely no way we could create hundreds of publications and serve thousands of students annually without a legion of volunteers. This group of superstars works in all realms, from tutoring to fundraising and beyond. They range in age, background, and expertise but all have a shared passion for our work with young people.
A dedicated group of volunteers from across our programs comprise our V.E.S.T leadership board, also known as the Volunteer Engagement and Support Team. These folks of wide-ranging skills provide ongoing guidance to new volunteers and give feedback to 826 staff on the volunteer experience. They also help plan our bi-annual 100 Club volunteer celebration, among other volunteer engagement activities. Individuals on the board are recommended by 826 staff, and each member serves for a minimum of one school-year. Read on to meet a selection of our fabulous V.E.S.T. members!
Tim Ratanapreukskul was born in Los Angeles but has led a multi-regional lifestyle since high school. When Tim was a teenager, he lived and studied in Japan, and went on to live in various parts of the East Coast. The promise of higher education brought him to the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied apparel and graphic design in his undergrad and architecture for his master’s degree. Although Tim is artistically inclined, he has admittedly terrible taste in music. A few years ago, Tim came to San Francisco’s Mission District for the sunshine, but since then has discovered so much more to love about the neighborhood: free yoga, homemade bikes, mandated composting and recycling, cheap Mexican food, the Muni’s J-line, and 826 Valencia. He is a designer and prefers to have as small a footprint in the public/internet life as possible.
Gloria Lenhart loves San Francisco the way only an East Coast transplant can. She arrived in San Francisco just in time for the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. When she’s not helping with field trips at 826, you can find her leading walking tours around the city for San Francisco City Guides. In 2014, she launched the City Explorer San Francisco app offering downloadable tours of SF neighborhoods for smartphones and tablets. Find sunken ships in the financial district, explore hidden gardens downtown, and more. Proceeds from the app benefit 826 Valencia.
Kavitha Lotun came to 826 Valencia in the summer of 2012 after spending 5 years teaching young students in London, England. One day while exploring the Mission and pining after the buzz of her classroom, she stumbled upon the 826 Valencia Exploring Words Summer Camp. Serendipitously, this ended up being a way to meet students in San Francisco and learn more about their schools and learning styles. Kavitha took a hiatus from 826 to welcome her son Khalil in 2013 (he’s currently exploring his own words). She can now be found leading Storytelling & Bookmaking Field Trips, tutoring, and serving on the Volunteer Engagement Support Team.
Shannon David began as an intern with 826 Valencia in 2010 and has been hanging around as a volunteer ever since. She has participated on the editorial board for two Young Authors’ Book Projects, and now co-teaches our only in-house student newspaper, the Valencia Bayfarer, alongside fellow volunteer Austin Hoffman. She’s always learning something new from our intrepid young reporters and loves seeing each new Bayfarer issue come to life. Shannon is delighted to serve the 826 volunteer community as a VEST member and can easily be convinced to go out for coffee (or ice cream) any time. When not at 826, you’ll find her across the street at McSweeney’s, where she recently joined the staff.
Jess Hemerly grew up in the remote reaches of rural eastern Pennsylvania, where she longed to leave the sticks behind for life in the city. She attended college in the Big Apple and quickly sought her fortunes across the country in San Francisco, where she’s been for ten years. After several unsatisfying jobs, she decided to enroll at UC Berkeley, earning her Master’s degree in Information Management and Systems and garnered several honors for her prodigious research. A freelance culture critic in her spare time, her writing has appeared in 7×7, Make, and The Onion, as well as on several local music blogs. Jess currently works in technology public policy, focused on transparency and accessibility. When she’s not grappling with Internet policy, she runs marathons, rides her bike, and is learning to swim. As a life-long writer in both her personal and professional life, she savors the opportunity to help the young writing minds at BVHM.
Jonathan Koshi Jonathan—known to most by his last name, Koshi—was born and raised on the sunny beaches of Oahu. At the age of 18, he left his tropical paradise to experience the northeastern seasons while at school in Rhode Island. After college, he did a brief stint in Houston before coming back west and settling in the Bay Area, and has been a San Francisco resident for 15 years. He has worked as a user-experience designer for several Bay Area companies, including Yahoo! and Minted, and co-founded Songbird, an open source music player (RIP). He now spends his days as a freelance user-experience design consultant for early stage companies and his evenings engrossed in various art projects. His artistic work has appeared at several galleries in San Francisco, including Secession Art & Design and Campfire Gallery, and in the classroom of BVHM, where he has become popular with the kids for his on-demand drawings of various things the kids love, including San Francisco 49ers players, cartoon mashups, and penguins.
Lindsay Logan first got involved with 826 Valencia as part of the Young Authors’ Book project in 2014, and is a proud member of VEST. She graduated from Stanford University, and is currently helping small businesses learn how to Tweet as a Content Marketing Lead at Twitter. Lindsay loves reading, going for runs across the Golden Gate Bridge, and adventures with her husband, Patrick, and their French bulldog, Jimmy McNulty.