Meet February Volunteer of the Month: Kate Marsh
Volunteers, we miss you when you’re gone! Case in point: when Kate Marsh came back to volunteer again after being away for a little while, students (and staff) could barely contain their excitement. That’s why she was an obvious pick for our February Volunteer of the Month! Kate first started volunteering with us years ago as a Field Trips illustrator, and has recently been tutoring online in our Mission Bay In-Schools programs. To paraphrase one of our students, thank you, Kate, “for helping empower our students and giving them the self-confidence to keep pushing no matter what”. To hear more from Kate, read on.
What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences, or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
I have volunteered mostly with the book-making field trip since I started, and I love all of the unique ideas that the students invent when working as a group. One of my favorite characters to draw was a chicken with a salsa body, gumdrop head, and tortilla chip wings that grew back when he ate them! Recently I have been doing virtual tutoring, and I love the appreciation and sharing time at the end. No matter how reticent the students felt that day or how challenging the assignment, they always end the session in a positive way and want to share their writing with the group! It is such a nice feeling of positivity and accomplishment.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
I do freelance work from home, and I was looking to give back to the community while also getting out of the house and meeting other people! I have volunteered with a few different organizations, and I really appreciate the time and effort 826 puts into showing appreciation for volunteers, including utilizing our time efficiently. Over time, it was lovely to volunteer on the same day of the week in the same program and build relationships with the other volunteers and staff.
Given a choice of the three, which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?
I’d have to go with woodland creatures. Some of my favorite stories of all time involve enchanted forests, getting lost in the deep, dark woods, and befriending woodland creatures (or running from them) along the way!
What would we find you doing when not you’re not volunteering at 826?
Walking to the park or the local bakery with my 3-year-old, hosting or attending weekly movie and dinner party nights with friends (currently virtually), snowboarding, designing a website, or painting a portrait.
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
Sometimes, starting out with a new program can feel intimidating, so just remember that you are doing a fantastic job by showing up and being a caring and thoughtful volunteer! The 826 staff and other volunteers are excellent resources for questions as/when they come up, so I would not worry about a lack of expertise with a particular program or subject.
Read more about past volunteers of the month here.