We are thrilled to highlight our newest Volunteer of the Month, Maggie Grainger! A point tutor for the Valencia Bay-farer, Maggie is described by our Workshops staff as a radiantly positive force, consistently bringing her passion, expertise, and belief in each student’s ideas to the Bay-farer newsroom.
When Maggie first happened upon an 826 Valencia volunteer booth at a tabling event, she knew instantly she wanted to get involved. She started out as a Sunday tutor back in 2013 before finding her calling on the Valencia Bay-Farer newspaper staff. She was instantly blown away by how passionate the students were about their articles, their range of topics, savvy interview techniques and the excitement they all shared when they saw their byline for the first time. In 2016 the 826 staff approached her about taking on the head tutor position at the Bay-Farer, and she says it was a no-brainer. “I won’t trade my Wednesday nights at the Pirate store for anything,” she admits. “I love seeing how the kids process their own ideas, iterate on them and turn them into stories—all in just five weeks!”
Maggie grew up in Salinas, California, and went to the same high school as John Steinbeck, her literary hero. After graduating from San Diego State in 2006, she wrote pop culture news stories for media outlets worldwide, including the iconic teen magazine Tiger Beat. After rocking out with the Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber in sunny Los Angeles for several years she relocated to foggy and fabulous San Francisco, where she is currently is a copywriter for the premium skincare company Rodan + Fields. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and two of her essays were featured in the book, U Chic’s Diploma Diaries: The Chic Grad’s Guide to Work, Love, and Everything in Between. In her free time, Maggie loves going to the library, writing short stories, and sharing a solid cheese plate with friends. She also volunteers with buildOn, another Bay Area program designed to empower youth in their own communities, and will travel to Malawi to work with buildOn this summer.
Maggie’s advice to new tutors: “Guide the students, but don’t spoon-feed them. It’s amazing what they can come up with on their own when you give them room to fly. Enjoy your time, stay present and the kids might teach you a thing or two along the way as well.”
You’re an inspiration to us, Maggie, we can’t wait to see what’s next for our thriving partnership!
Read more about our previous Volunteers of the Month.