A big warm welcome to our spectacular team of summer interns! This diverse crew of many talents will be providing invaluable assistance over the summer months: in the classroom delivering programming at Exploring Words Summer Camp, helping administer summer workshops in our Writing Lab, swabbing the decks at the Pirate Store, and making our communications and publications shine behind the scenes as part of our in-house design team. Read on to learn who among our talented intern crew has met Diana Ross, who originally hails from France, and who has an uncanny knack for punning.
world while painting and drawing her new experiences.
Annika Merrilees graduated from Half Moon Bay High and is now a rising sophomore at Boston University where she studies elementary education. She feels every day is a new day and is stoked beyond measure to be here at 826. Student development inspires Annika. She loves seeing students attain self-efficacy. For Annika, each day with students feels like an elaborate, rewarding maneuver. Annika wants her students to go home excited to return to school the next day. TOWERING, without platforms, at five feet, nine-and-three-quarters inches, she dressed as a majestic giraffe for Halloween last year.
Dana Belott is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, and she’s originally from New Jersey. She recently taught poetry to sixth-graders following a curriculum she created herself. She is passionate about reading, podcasts, studying religion, and learning about first-wave feminism. If she had to eat only one food for the rest of her life, it would be South Indian dosa with coconut chutney.
Emma Zigman was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, and is currently attending Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in dance, activism, and education. Although her hometown played a huge role in her life, by the time Emma was a senior in high school she yearned to be a part of a bigger, more diverse community. Emma aspires to become a teacher and establish an integrative movement education program that promotes positive relationships through community building and diversity. This style of teaching allows people to use movement as a personal therapy, while promoting group learning that supports freedom of expression without judgment.
Freda Hawver Pachter is a native of San Francisco’s Mission District. She is currently a student at Colorado College where she studies Political Science and English Literature. Recently, she returned from studying abroad in Thailand for six months where she learned to speak Thai and spent time exploring, researching, and sea kayaking. Beyond Thailand, Freda has traveled the world including Asia, South America, and Europe, but considers Turkey her favorite. When she’s not studying or traveling, Freda enjoys weaving and teaching weaving classes, as well as reading stream of conscious and humor writing, running, and spending time with her family, friends, and dogs.
Hannah Brody hails from the land of Connecticut and is currently attending Barnard College in New York. You could ask her what all the provinces of Canada are and she wouldn’t hesitate to throw down some knowledge. Not only does she have a heart of gold—caring about helping youth in goofy ways—but in her free time you can find her riding her bike from Seattle to L.A.! Oh, and don’t be shy to ask her about meeting Diana Ross, it’s a hurricane of a story.
Jackelin Cabrera is a Bay Area native and a familiar face aboard 826. You may recognize her name as a young author from the Field Trip Chapbook archives, but beware: Jackey’s stories tell of monsters and super cold caves. Currently a rising sophomore at UC Riverside, Jackey is an art major, movie lover, and photographer extraordinaire. As a frequent traveler to El Salvador, she can also help you plan your next trip to the Tazumal ruins or persuade you to try some gourmet rattlesnake. When Jackey is not sharing her magic at 826, she may be found at celebrity meetings with Chris Colfer or enjoying some Catcher in the Rye.
Jenna Bellassai is from Cleveland, Ohio and she studies English and Computer Science at the nearby Oberlin College. If she could choose any place on earth, she would love to live in Guatemala for six months and work on her Spanish. Her current favorite book is The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. She loves learning about identities that are vastly different from her own, and has proudly been in the Bay Area for a whole day without a single catastrophe.
Jerry Cheung is a Sociology student at UCLA. He has recently discovered a love for hip hop dance and music in general. When he is not dancing with his headphones on to get ready for auditions, he is usually singing a tune stuck in his head. P.S. Hit him up if you want a friend to go see a jazz concert with. He is also pretty into soccer and is here at 826 Valencia this year to learn more about how to be fun and instructive so he can be a better older brother for his two year old sister!
Jordon Baca is a Bay Area native who is studying the various aspects and applications of health education. He is excited about the possibility of teaching and inspiring youth by fostering expression. He hopes to use his own life experiences to connect and engage with students. One day, Jordon dreams of opening a unique sports bar that promotes health awareness and individualism. In one word, Jordon could be described as welcoming!
Lila Thulin has loved stories since before she learned to sound out the words in The Seven Silly Eaters on her own. This early excitement over a well-structured sentence never let up and led her to becoming an intern at 826 Valencia, a Creative Writing and Human Biology double-major at Stanford, and a storehouse of atrocious puns. Having learned so much from writing teachers and mentors in the past, Lila is beyond excited to share her passion for creative writing with students. This is her first summer spent away from home (Salt Lake City), and she aspires to visit as many used bookstores and sample as many food truck offerings in San Francisco as possible!
Lily Zaballos is an Oakland native who grew up home-schooled until high school. As a result, she doesn’t like being told what to do and now studies at the school of individualized study at NYU. Instead of taking notes in class, she has become a “margin poet,” writing poetry in the margins of her page. Lily likes to spend her time surrounded by art, wandering the streets of New York City soaking in the culture, writing songs, making guerrilla art installations, and dancing.
Truly a Bay Area bae, Lucie Pereira’s hair has changed three times in the past year. Her hair accompanies her lifestyle—a woman with many homes, she enjoys the colorful life, however the Bay will always have her heart. On her down days she could be seen kerfuffling with her two younger brothers or reading Steinbeck—a woman of many interests. Ultimately though she wishes to write, and write she will! Right now Lucie is studying Writing Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston, but they won’t be able to cage her for long!!
Lupe Jacobson is from San Francisco and currently attends Boston University, where she is majoring in Journalism. She loves traveling — her favorite destination so far is New Orleans, and she hopes to one day visit far-off lands like Greece and Brazil. When not dreaming of her next travel adventure, Lupe loves playing soccer, reading fiction, and listening to hip hop. When she was younger she was probably that one kid being loud and standing on a table but don’t worry, she’s gotten more introspective now that she’s older. She’s currently working on expressing herself through her personal style and reading lots of crime stories—for inspiration? Let’s hope not.
Magdalena Mardinian is currently in the BFA graphic design program at San Jose State University and is passionate about art and design. She is originally from France and would like the opportunity to travel once she graduates. She is only 5’1″, but has a really loud voice once you get to know her. Magdalena loves to draw in her spare time and listen to classic rock and indie. You will usually find her wearing black and boho jewelry.
Ryan Haas grew up and attended high school in Orange County, and went on to graduate from Colorado College with a degree in storytelling and narrative theory. He spent summers at NYU pursuing artistic endeavors. Ryan is inspired by students’ self confidence, and wants them to believe that they are just as AMAZING as he thinks they are. For Ryan, teaching students is like having a soft serve ice cream machine in the cafeteria. Ryan wants his students to know “that their differences do not dictate their potential.” Last Halloween Ryan dressed as a sand dollar.
Safia Belayadi was raised in San Francisco, but currently attends college at the University of California, Davis. She is studying International Relations with an emphasis on Peace and Security, in addition to a minor in Economics and Arabic. Writing is a huge aspect of her studies, and she hopes that interning at 826 Valencia will further strengthen her writing skills through helping younger children with their own, in addition to gaining skills in leadership crucial in the future. She enjoys reading, with her favorite genres being historical fiction and autobiographies. She is excited to study abroad in Turkey, chosen for its beautiful architecture and grand mosques, in addition to its huge bazaars.