Dave Becker is our February Volunteer of the Month!

As we celebrate 826 Valencia’s 20th Anniversary this year, we’re especially appreciative of the volunteers who have been with us for a long time and supported our growth. This month’s Volunteer of the Month, Dave Becker, has been volunteering with us for a whole decade – just about half of 826’s history! Dave plays an important role in our Storytelling and Book Making Field Trips as Captain Blue, our resident grumpy pirate who co-manages our publications and approves our students’ stories. Dave has spent over 650 hours volunteering with us, just shy of a whole month – that’s a lot of time to spend in the Mission Center attic… Let’s see what wisdom Dave has to share from his experience below!

Dave Becker is our February Volunteer of the Month!What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?

Well, there are always delightful surprises when the students finish their stories, such as the girl who had the antagonist arrested for predatory lending. But I’m a sentimental guy, so I’ll pick the girl who cried out at the end of the Field Trip, “I can see Captain Blue! I can see his butt!”


When did you first volunteer with 826 Valencia? What led you to become part of our volunteer community?

Ten years ago. I was newly semi-retired and wanted to explore some volunteer opportunities. Being a journalist of many decades, literacy is pretty important to me, so 826 seemed like a good fit. And then I learned I had a pretty good pirate act hiding in me.


Given a choice of the three, which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?

Woodland creatures. Pirates and especially pufferfish cheat at cards.


What would we find you doing when not you’re not volunteering at 826?

I also volunteer at the city animal shelter, helping get kittens and cats into new homes. We did a lot of traveling pre-COVID, but now I’m focused on my little craft business making handsome and useful things from salvaged wood. (Look for WoodBecker Enterprises on Etsy.).


What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?

Remember that improvisation is good exercise for your brain. 


We’re celebrating 826 Valencia’s 20th Anniversary this year. If you could write a headline for 826 Valencia in 2042, in another 20 years, what would it say?

Local Students Correctly Predict Waffle-Monster Apocalypse; A Grateful City Vows to Really Listen to Kids From Now On


Join us in thanking Dave for his commitment to 826! Want to join us for an upcoming Storytelling and Book Making Field Trip and see Dave in action as our favorite pirate? Sign up in our calendar here, or register as a new volunteer here