Noel Schwerin is our September Volunteer of the Month!

September came and went in a flash, but not before we could pause to thank our Volunteer of the Month (VOTM)!

Noel Schwerin is our September Volunteer of the Month!

Our VOTM feature allows us to recognize one standout volunteer among the many who support our programs every month. This month, we’re thanking Noel Schwerin! Since Noel started volunteering with us, she has spent over 100 hours in our programs, and is now supporting our students at Malcolm X Academy for the third school year in a row! Now if that doesn’t merit recognition as VOTM, I’m not sure what does. Noel, we are so appreciative of the way you consistently show up for our students in our In-School Programs—thank you!

Read on to hear a little bit of the wisdom Noel has gleaned in those 100 hours, and find out how to join her.

[Photo of Noel with two students in their classroom at Malcolm X, celebrating their book publication.]

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

Having a breakthrough with one of my students when he enthusiastically joined me rapping his poem, a piece he’d previously dismissed as “stupid”.


When did you first volunteer with 826 Valencia? What led you to become part of our volunteer community?

Summer, 2020. I had to look that up because it feels like I’ve always been doing it! 826 has been on my radar for many years. When my sons (now 23) were young, we’d go to Poetry Slams and other events where 826 had a presence.


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

Woodland creature. As my son said lying on the forest floor at five, “If you are very quiet, they come to you.” And I think pirates eat pufferfish (bad for both of them).


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

Hiking, camping, reading, reading, reading…and being cuddled by my dog.


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

Revisit your younger self and have some fun. The students usually steer the way.


We’re celebrating 826 Valencia’s 20th Anniversary this year. If you could write a headline for 826 Valencia in 2042 (in another 20 years) what would it say?

Writing the Future (for another 20 years) is a great headline. Maybe “Let’s find our write relationships”?


In sharing these answers, Noel said: “Thanks to all the 826 folk. I am so glad to be a part of the write work!” Join Noel and fellow volunteers to support the “write work” in our In-School Programs by registering to volunteer here or selecting a volunteer shift here!