Dana Eastland is our May Volunteer of the Month!
Wow, we’re already reaching the end of the school year, where did the time go! Like Dana Eastland, our Volunteer of The Month, we’re looking back at the past year and appreciating all the moments of laughter we shared with our students over Zoom. Dana has been consistently showing up to support our Podcasting Projects this year as an incredibly caring and insightful volunteer, and our Tenderloin Center students and staff are so appreciative. Read on to hear some of her valuable insights about tutoring virtually and pirate fashion!
What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
Honestly, I remember every time a student laughed during tutoring and those are my favorite moments. It’s been such a strange year and anytime students experience some joy and laughter, it is such a highlight.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
Last Spring, as the pandemic was beginning, I realized that what I really wanted to do with my life was become a high school teacher. There weren’t a lot of opportunities at the time to dip a toe in the education waters and work with youth, but 826 Valencia was accepting volunteers, so I signed up! I’ve always admired the work 826 does, and finally found myself with the time to participate, for which I’m so grateful.
Given a choice of the three, which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?
Pirates are hard to beat when it comes to fashion and style. If anyone knows how to accessorize, it’s a pirate. Those hats! The wide belts! Parrots on the shoulder! It’s a veritable Fashion Week—on a boat, no less.
What would we find you doing when not you’re not volunteering at 826?
I spend a lot of time walking the streets of San Francisco with my dog—in 2020, we made a goal of getting to the top of each of the “Seven Hills of San Francisco,” which was really cool. I hadn’t seen some of those parts of the City before, and the views were especially wonderful.
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
I felt really out of my depth at first, and I didn’t think I was capable of supporting students at all. Especially with virtual learning, it can feel like you aren’t making an impact—but stick with it! I was surprised to find I was wrong about my abilities, and how much students were taking in. It’s not always obvious but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
Read more about other Volunteers of the Month here.