Insights, advice, and more from former interns


“826 Valencia is a very welcoming environment. From your first day, staff members will be smiling as they give you tasks to complete. You feel good about your involvement in a non-profit, you get to know super rad kids, you have a lot of freedom to take your experience where you want it to go, and you get awesome stats to put on your resume! On my first day there was a party! And while every day is not flowers and cupcakes, you can make it that way if you have the right attitude.” —Emily Walters

“For nearly a year, my life has been enhanced by the welcoming and supportive environment that composes 826 Valencia. I was a drop-in tutor a few years ago but getting to be an intern at 826 Valencia provided me with the perfect structure in order to really get involved with the organization and–my favorite part–form relationships with the incredible students and staff here. During the eleven months I’ve spent with 826 Valencia, my days have been filled with helping kids to overcome challenges, reading stories written in two hours about ice cream planets and superhero monkeys, and realizing the importance of building community everywhere you go. My advice to future 826 Pirate Interns: (1) Be prepared for a mopping any time you enter the pirate store with a student, (2) Never fear the monstrous fax machine. You probably won’t need to do anything too crazy on it, unless you’re up for the challenge! (3) If you ever feel the desire to dress up like a pirate, you will be welcomed with open tentacles here, (4) There will always be a kid who matches your level of energy, (5) Don’t be afraid if Dave Eggers swings by. He doesn’t bite (unlike Mr. Blue)! (6) When you go back home to visit your family, tell them not to fear if they notice that you have developed a pirate twitch in your voice and limping like you have a peg leg, (7) Have a blast!!!!” —Amanda Meth, 2012–13

“I was an Alumni Intern for 826 Valencia from May to August 2013 and I was a student of theirs in 2010. Getting a look behind the scenes of 826’s programming and communications was amazing!  The staff is extremely dedicated to seeing students grow and strengthen their literacy skills. I had a chance to do everything from crafting curriculum and teaching two summer camps to helping ready student work for publication! I loved the flexibility of my internship (in terms of being able to focus on areas that interest you) and I highly recommend it!” —Kim Mejía-Cuéllar, 2013

“Interning at 826 Valencia made my summer. I had the opportunity to work with the development team, but did everything from bookbinding to providing assistance at fundraisers. Helping students with their writing, developing creative prompts for camp, and having the ability to publish their work in chapbooks gave me the satisfaction that I was making something some students had a challenge with fun. Not only were they given the liberty to be creative with their writing, but took home a book they could show their parents, friends, and showed them that hard work pays off. 826, thank you for giving me the opportunity to give back to a program I was a part of in high school!” —Jack Mejía-Cuéllar, 2013

“826 has definitely opened my eyes to what teaching really is and the reward you get from it. Especially when students expect you to teach and they ask about you coming the next day, which definitely brightens my day and makes me want to come back the next day as well. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.” —Hector Magana, 2013

“Though interns aren’t paid in doubloons, the equivalent of a pirate’s treasure is given in experience and gratitude from everyone at 826 Valencia, including staff, other volunteers, and students. Loot becomes your last priority after you realize the many meaningful life and work-related experiences that come along with this internship. If you’re ever in need of support, staff members have your back in the most literal and figurative sense. Want a reference or a letter of recommendation? If you ask for one, you’ll probably get twelve, all of which will be full of high praises on your ability to multitask and/or swab a poop deck. And last, seeing the expressions of joy and elation from the students you work with every day makes your hard work completely worthwhile. No amount of pirate’s booty can make you feel like you’re truly making a difference in someone’s life.” —Avi Salem, 2012

“I wanted to thank you all for the great experience of working with you this summer. Each of you were incredibly nice and made me feel at home right away. I think I personally grew a lot this summer and acquired new skills that I can take away with me. It was awesome to get to try my hand at so many different things, even the feel of an eight-hour work day. You all are amazingly hard-workers and your devotion to kids and each other is definitely inspiring. It was an honor to work with you, and I hope to keep in contact with you all.” —Keri, 2007

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