Meet Paul Cartier, Volunteer of the Month

As we start a new year, it’s important to look back on some of the things that made the last one so successful. One of those things? Our wonderful volunteers, who continually lend their time and energy to support our students, volunteers like Paul Cartier! Paul has been a stalwart advocate for our students’ voices (quite literally in the podcast program) for a long time, and we are so grateful for him. Read on to see how he supports our young writers.

1. What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?  

There’s too many to choose from, but generally it’s the “small moments”: The idea light bulb going on, surprise or delight, change of attitude during or after the studio recording, etc. Once, I was charmed by a student saying my high school Spanish was good.

2. What led you to become part of our volunteer community?

I am always on the lookout for ways to teach students the arts, and 826 gave me opportunities to try out new forms of pedagogy.

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

I prefer woodland creatures because I know some of them, but I don’t know any pirates or pufferfish.

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

Most likely, you would find me either gardening (growing food), shopping (for food), or eating (food). Oh, and cycling in between.

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

Try to be flexible with students. Stay open to their ideas. I am always amazed at how flexible staff, interns, and volunteers are at 826.


Paul and the thousands of volunteers like him who contribute to our programs are the backbone of our student programming. We hope to volunteer with you in the new year!

Paul is also a volunteer ambassador — a leader in our community who welcomes new volunteers, tables at events, and helps to spread the word about 826. If this interests you at all, reach out for more information at