Meet MyLinh Pham, Our November Volunteer of the Month!
Wow, this semester just flew by, and we couldn’t have made it without our stellar volunteers. This month, we’re celebrating one of our newer volunteers: MyLinh Pham!
MyLinh joined us as a volunteer this August and has put her best foot forward during every tutoring session she has been a part of since at our Tenderloin Center. We love that MyLinh likes to celebrate every After School Workshop by getting a slice of pizza afterwards— a routine we can all get behind.
Read on to learn about MyLinh, her experience as an 826 Valencia tutor, and her advice to new volunteers!
[MyLinh enjoying a slice of pizza after tutoring.]
What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
There are a couple that stand out:
We had a student eagerly pass around his fictional story involving gnarly rats and devoured organs from staff member to staff member, and tutor to tutor, that he was so proud to have created. He watched our facial expressions with such anticipation as each of us read through his sentences and was bursting at the seams wanting to hear each of our initial thoughts. His palpable pride and the sparkle in his eye as he explained to us all his reasoning behind different, outlandish plot points was just so joyful and pure.
Another student who has expressed less assurance in his work and ability, hesitantly volunteered to read an excerpt out loud to the group the other week and was so delightedly surprised with himself when he made it through the reading without any missteps, he beamed up the widest grin — it’s a pleasure watching him start to understand how capable he is.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
As is the experience of many of the volunteers, I passed by the Tenderloin Center, looked into 826’s story, and connected to their mission. I am no writer by any means, but believe in the importance of our young folks gaining confidence in their ability to learn and in them understanding all the agency and power that exists in their own voices and abilities. I am so grateful to participate in such an enriching effort, and this has served as a conduit for me to help try to water the soil of a city and neighborhood that has so graciously made room for me.
Given a choice of the three, which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?
There’s something about the rebellious edge of pirates and their sort of “band of misfits”, commit-mutiny for-the-greater-good-of-the-ship-and-people nature that I think is admirable. Their bravado and style are undeniable, boots, eyepatches, swords and all.
I also have a fondness for woodland creatures and all the warmth, magic, and twinkle of the forest. The students at the Tenderloin Center are often hopping around the treehouse at the end of the session like their own diverse community of woodland friends living in chaotic harmony.
What would we find you doing when not you’re not volunteering at 826?
I’m often walking around the neighborhood, squeezing in steps, head craned up towards the sky. I’ve been on the earth for quite a long time, but have never tired of watching all the colors of the world change at dusk or dawn. Occasionally I get into temporary creative pursuits – my hobby of the season is beaded jewelry (inspired by the students having to bead together name bracelets for themselves at the beginning of the school year actually)!
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
I still very much consider myself a new 826 volunteer to be quite honest, and often fear I may not be offering all the right tools to the students. Every student and every session are so wonderfully different, there is no exact formula, but I have found approaching each student with fun, curiosity, and an open mind and ears usually does the trick. The other fellow volunteers and the staff are so kind and supportive, and an endless fountain of knowledge to pull from, you can go to them with any and all questions, anytime.
We’re so grateful for volunteers like MyLinh! Want to join MyLinh as a new volunteer? Register as a new volunteer here!