We are thrilled to kick off the new school year by introducing a truly enthusiastic Volunteer of the Month, Michael McNamara. Michael began his 826 Valencia volunteer adventures in April 2016, and as we write this he is about to reach 100 hours of volunteering! Read on to get to know Michael in his own words.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
“I stumbled upon 826 Valencia’s Field Trips program through a fortuitous Google search, attempting to find some way to engage with local communities and utilize my passion for arts and education. Never would I have imagined what was in store for me!”
What would we find you doing at 826?
“This fall I can be found most Monday mornings steering Captain Blue’s ship through the imaginative whirlwind of stories that is Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trips. I also thoroughly enjoyed my experience with this year’s Young Authors’ Book Project. Working closely with two high school seniors writing creative short stories at Burton High, coupled with my work with Field Trips, inspired me to move forward in becoming a future high school English teacher here in the Bay Area. Our youth are so inspiring, empowering and also healing.”
What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a volunteer?
“Crushed by the results of the November election, I didn’t know how I could possibly muster up the energy that week to lead a Storytelling Field Trip. But that class came up with a main character with an existential crisis: “Wipey Man,” an animated toilet paper roll, had escaped from Toilet Land because he was sick of wiping and wanted more than anything in the world for everybody to follow their dreams. This message has propelled me forward in life since that day.”
Do you prefer pirates or pufferfish, and why?
“I prefer pufferfish to pirates because of their potential to become a precarious gustatory experience. I work evenings as a server in a beloved SF restaurant and love both comforting and dangerous foods!”
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
“Set clear and achievable goals, but never expectations. What the youth come up with may just very well blow you out of the water!”
Thank you, Michael, for the amazing work you do, and thank you to all of our volunteers for helping us start off the school year right!
Read more about our previous Volunteers of the Month.