Meet Volunteer of the Month Anastasia Scott!
We’re kicking off the new year with a big thank you to all our volunteers who keep coming back to tutor year after year. Anastasia Scott, our January Volunteer of the Month has now been tutoring at the Mission Center for four years and counting! In her time as an after-school tutor, she has seen students grow and graduate. Keep reading to learn why she loves tutoring (and pirates!) so much.
What is one of your favorite moments from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
I have many favorite moments from volunteering at the Mission Center over the last four years, but I think the best part has been getting to know the students. There was a stretch of a full year where nearly every week a certain group of 9th graders would want to finish homework as fast as possible so they could plan their perfect quinceañeras with a level of detail reserved for couture fashion designers. Now those same students are talking about what they want to major in while they wait to hear back from colleges! I can’t believe how fast they’ve grown up. Another sixth grade student I work with often is an extremely talented artist. When I first met her back in third or fourth grade she already had an affinity for art, and it’s really cool to see how her talent and passion have grown with time. I love when students share these important parts of their lives.
It has also been super interesting to discuss current events like elections or the pandemic with the students. They have had some fascinating insights about living through this unique moment in history and what it’s like grow up in the Bay Area. The best part is that sometimes after sharing really thoughtful observations about the world, they’ll immediately be able to shift gears and wax poetic about something like In-N-Out or how to survive a zombie apocalypse. The creative range of the student writing is truly astounding.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
I wanted to volunteer with 826 Valencia because I believe developing strong reading, writing, and critical thinking skills will set students up for life. In fact, I know some adults who could use a refresher course!
Which would you choose: pirates, pufferfish, or woodland creatures? Why?
I like pirate style and lingo. I love the intricacy of wooden ships and the fact they usually have amazing names like “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” I find Zen by gazing out at water, and I’d give anything to spot a mermaid IRL. I’ve gotta vote pirate on this one!
What would we find you doing when not you’re not volunteering at 826?
When I’m not volunteering at 826 Valencia, you can find me marketing art books at the local independent publisher, Chronicle Books. I also love to hike in the Marin headlands and go on long walks to Ocean Beach. I find a lot of inspiration in the color palette and architecture of San Francisco. During the pandemic, I’ve especially enjoyed all of the creative window signs and artwork encouraging people to wear masks and stay home.
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
I don’t always know the best way to tackle an assignment with students, but by talking through how they’ve been learning about a subject at school we usually can figure out a good approach. We’re often learning together, and I hope that my students can walk away from our sessions with more strategies for working on their own. If a student is having a hard time describing what they’ve been learning, I try to ask lots of questions to get them to open up. It usually does the trick!
Also, just keep coming back! You’ll get to know the students more and more over time, and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing how much progress they make throughout the school year. I’ve been especially impressed with how hard everyone has been working while adapting to the challenges of distance learning this year. We should all be incredibly proud.