Jess Hemerly and Jonathan Koshi have been volunteering in our Buena Vista Horace Mann Annex since its launch last fall. According to BVHM Program Manager, Ashley Varady, this dynamic duo offers, “unique skills and expertise as tutors, and epitomize patience, flexibility, and a willingness to help out with a smile.” Jess has been a steady support for our young writers, helping the BVHM students on every step of the writing process. Jonathan, or Koshi as he’s known in the classroom, is popular among students for his artistic abilities, frequently drawing alongside the students to help them develop the characters and plot twists that populate their narratives.
Jess’s relationship with 826 began when she first moved to San Francisco ten years ago, as an occasional Sunday drop-in tutor and college essay writing volunteer. On her involvement with the 826 community, Jess tell us, “After an embarrassing number of years away from 826, I started to drop-in again on Sundays in early 2013. Koshi decided to join me, and we made it a Sunday thing. We rewarded ourselves for sharing two hours of our Sundays with the kids by getting a baby succulent from Paxton Gate after every tutoring session.
“When 826 kicked off it’s program at Buena Vista Horace Mann last fall, I saw a great opportunity to get more directly involved with our community’s elementary school. I immediately found it to be awesome—the BVHM kids are creative and fun to work with. I took a brief hiatus from November through January while working in Belgium, and after we returned from our temporary ex-pat experience, Koshi joined me at BVHM. We’ve been working with the kids at BVHM ever since and make an effort to come every week unless we are traveling.
When I’m not working my day job—public policy strategy for a tech company—I enjoy running, boxing, listening to music, cooking, eating, baking bread, writing, reading fiction, watching the Eagles, and trying to grow vegetables in my backyard. Koshi spends his days working with startups as a user experience designer, making fledgling products and services easy to use and nice to look at. By night he is an artist and illustrator whose work has shown around town, including at Campfire Gallery and Secession Art & Design. His latest drawings are currently hanging at Blackbird. He also enjoys running, eating, boxing, and cooking, as well as biking, looking at beautiful things, taking photographs, and tending to our thriving collection of succulents.”
We’re so thankful for their support, and for the unique talents they bring to the BVHM classroom!
To read about all of our featured volunteers, visit the Volunteer of the Month gallery.