Celebrating Annie Norris, our March Volunteer of the Month
March has been a busy month at 826 Valencia. Between opening a third Writing Center in Mission Bay and throwing our biggest fundraiser of the year—the Bookeaters’ Bash—we’re also looking for ways to celebrate our beloved volunteers. And speaking of such wonderful folks, we’re delighted to introduce Annie Norris as our March Volunteer of the Month! Annie is always optimistic and flexible when working with different students in our Sunday Drop-In Tutoring Program and is “the sweetest of souls” according to Program Coordinator Angelina Brand. Read on to learn more about her and why she chooses pufferfish over pirates anytime.
What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
Easy. The students you work with every session can change. I was helping a fourth grader for several weeks, and then we swapped around a bit. Fast forward to several months later: I’m talking to the writing-table tutor and she tells me about a homework assignment this student had completed. The student chose three words to describe herself and wrote long explanations for each. Her three words made my heart soar: brave, independent, intelligent.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
Not sure if you’re aware, but children are hilarious. Yet, tutoring is hard. The kids are the walking/talking, sometimes dancing or doing karate, embodiment of hope, so I keep coming back for the laughs, for the satisfaction of helping kids grow, for the lessons I learn, and for my hope fix.
Given a choice of the three, which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?
Woodland creatures make me think of chipmunks and raccoons. Both of which wreaked havoc in and around my childhood home. We’re still not on great terms so that’s a no for me. Yo ho and all but pufferfish seem to spend a lot of time swimming and I, too, enjoy the ocean. Would love to learn more about mastering the art of cute but deadly.
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
Real advice would be: ask for help from the fantastic tutoring leads. Don’t be surprised if you feel uncomfortable. Do be pleasantly surprised when you miss them once you leave, and when people ask how your night or weekend was, and all you want to do is gush about the students.
Get inspired by Annie’s dedication to our students and join our 826 family as well.
Read more about our previous Volunteer of the Months.