Meet our 2019 spring interns!

Here at 826, we feel very lucky to welcome amazing interns every season. This passionate group supports our students and staff in countless ways, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their presence. So without further ado, meet the new faces of 826 Valencia:

Dalia Barrientos is a Bay Area born-and-raised, Salvadoran student attending the University of San Francisco. She is majoring in sociology and also enrolled in the Dual-Degree Teacher Preparation Program as she aspires to become an elementary school teacher. Dalia is passionate about learning from students and supporting them on their educational journeys and personal development. She enjoys writing and joined 826 Valencia to continue developing her teaching skills and connect with students from various communities. In addition to her love of education, she enjoys trying new food places, going to the movies, and adding to her Spotify playlists.
 

Mio Ikeda was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Since she started learning English at age 12, language education has always been one of her interests. After working in book editing, marketing, and sales, she realized what she needed was not a career, but more excitement in her life. So she left her job in Japan and came to the U.S. in 2018. She stumbled upon 826 Valencia through Toastmasters International, another educational nonprofit, and fell in love with storytelling. She believes that storytelling helps people realize that they can be anything.
 
 
 
Lexie Jones attends San Francisco State University, where she is majoring in English education with an emphasis in creative writing. After graduating, she hopes to pursue her master’s degree as well as a credential to become an English literature teacher. She is an only child and comes from a Filipino and African-American background. She enjoys reading, writing fiction, and listening to music. She started at 826 Valencia as a volunteer and is now interning at the Tenderloin Center. She’s really excited to meet and work with everyone in the Tenderloin community.
 

Rebecca Landau is from Berkeley, California. She graduated from Columbia University with a BA in gender studies, and then came back to the Bay Area. Most of her writing involves dragons, droughts, and desserts. Her favorite author is Ursula Le Guin and her favorite musicals are Fun Home and Into the Woods.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kyleigh Locke was born and raised in East San Jose, California, and is majoring in communication studies at the University of San Francisco. After receiving a double lung transplant last year, she now enjoys running around with her dogs and adventuring all over San Francisco. She is currently getting over a lifelong fear of illustrating by practicing drawing something new every day, with a belief in the power of growth mindset. Kyleigh is excited to start her career in education at 826 Valencia and hopes to spark a passion for learning in the students she meets.
 
 
 
Rebecca Marie is originally from Los Angeles but moved to San Francisco to finish her undergraduate degree in English (with a concentration in education and emphasis in literature). Her ultimate career goal is to teach American literature to English majors at a community-college level, but will begin a teaching career at a high-school level until she finishes her own academic goals of getting a Ph.D. in the sociological side of education. She plans to accomplish all this in LA because she misses the sun and her family too much—although she’s been enjoying her time in San Francisco. Rebecca Marie is passionate about writing (mostly poetry) and spends her free time exploring the city’s cozy cafes and sunny parks where she can write.
 

Olivia Mertz studied creative writing at Mills College in Oakland and has since lived in New York City and Chicago before making her way back to the Bay Area. Olivia is passionate about education and the arts—she has worked in early childhood education for several years while also serving as the fiction editor at Apricity Press. She loves to travel and work on her short stories in her free time and is very excited to be a part of the 826 community!
 
 
 
 
Stu Nolan grew up in the sagebrush and mountain-scape of Salt Lake City, Utah, and is grateful to call San Francisco home for now. They are a plant and poetry enthusiast and passionate about storytelling and self-expression in all of its forms. They are currently taking leave from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but wish to study sex and gender, media, and postcolonial studies and explore the complicated relationships between art, interpersonal connection, mental illness, and social justice. Stu is thrilled to be a part of the 826 Valencia team and get to work with and witness powerful young voices.
 
 
 
Rebecca Rand grew up in the Tri-Valley area. When she was in fourth grade, she thought she could make better worksheets than the big educational publishers. She graduated in 2017 from California College of the Arts with a degree in writing and literature. She fights demons pro bono. She also walks dogs. Rebecca is an avid podcast listener and dreams of one day writing and hosting her own show.
 
 
 
 
 
Raiah Sanders is from Sacramento, California, and has never been too far from the Bay Area, but also never close enough. She finally had the opportunity to move to the Bay Area and is continuing her third year at the University of San Francisco with a major in English and an emphasis in writing. She is also minoring in Japanese and African-American studies to get a better understanding of multicultural literature. All in the hopes that this will help her expand her creative writing skills when the time comes to publish her first book, with nods to her own cultural background. Her interest in 826 Valencia resides in the fact that she believes in spreading the significance of writing to children in diverse communities like the Mission or the Tenderloin. Especially since she believes that not only can these students learn from tutors but tutors can also learn so much from the students as well.
 
Esther Silva was born and raised in Chicago. She is currently a junior at the University of San Francisco, where she is majoring in sociology with hopes of becoming a future teacher. Esther enjoys hanging out with family and friends and loves spending her free time at Dolores Park. She also loves to explore the city with her friends. She is very excited to be part of the Mission District community and the 826 Valencia team!
 
 
 
 
Natalie Skinner recently moved to the Bay Area from Brisbane, Australia. She graduated from the University of Queensland, Australia, as a high school English and Japanese teacher in 2017, and after that spent a few months backpacking in South East Asia before moving to the U.S. She has been volunteering with students in Mission Bay since November and is very excited to contribute to the opening of the newest 826 Valencia Writing Center in Mission Bay. Natalie is passionate about fostering a positive and nurturing learning environment and building strong relationships with her students.
 
 
Griffin Stevens was born and raised in Brooklyn, went to college in Philadelphia, and moved to the East Bay this past August. As someone who loves working with kids and has a wide range of professional experiences as an educator, he is thrilled to be working at 826 Valencia now. In his free time, Griffin enjoys cooking, listening to and playing jazz, and exploring the Bay Area.