In January, we celebrated our creative, compassionate, jaw-droppingly brilliant 100 Club. This group of volunteers, who have accrued the most service hours this school year, are the reason 826 Valencia has continued to thrive for fifteen years. To honor their commitment to our students, and to kick off our 15th anniversary celebrations, we took it all the way back to 2002 when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol, we still texted T9, and our co-founders Dave and Ninive opened the doors of 826 Valencia for the first time.
The party was all about tapping into our younger, more questionably dressed selves (frosted tips, anyone?). Upon entering, staff placed stickers with the names of 2002 icons on the backs of guests who spent the evening asking their compatriots questions to figure out who they were. P. Diddy, Lilo & Stitch, Hilary Duff, Nickleback, and Ashanti then took to our photo booth, enjoyed pupusas from La Palma Mexicatessen, and settled in for a look back on what has been for many people in the room more than a decade of of volunteering at 826. There was first-edition pirate store merchandise, a walk through 2002 music history, and a toast to our community, past, present, and future. And of course there was a writing exercise.
Throughout the night we asked: what would we tell our 2002 selves? Reflections included:
- “Never stop singing Hilary Duff” (seconded).
- “The braces will come off…eventually”
- “Don’t be lazy!”
- “You will be filled with caring and dedicated volunteers and incredibly talented students.”
We couldn’t agree more with that last one. Thank you to our 100 Club and our entire volunteers corps for your dedication. With your help we’re serving 7,000 students this school year! If you haven’t joined us yet, you can get in on the fun by registering here. Maybe we’ll see you at the next 100 Club party?