A Star Behind The Scenes: May’s Volunteer of the Month is Dane Larsen!
We’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about this thing a nonprofit calls “capacity building”, aka what happens behind the scenes and how that contributes to our ability to make things happen in front of the scenes (in this case, those things are our free creative writing and tutoring programs for 2,700 students aged 6-18 in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit).
We’re thinking so much about capacity building because, as you know if you’ve known us for a while, 826michigan has expanded dramatically in the last two years — doubling our staff, expanding to Detroit, instituting a new evening tutoring program in Ypsilanti, and continuing to innovate and grow in our wide offering of services. We love all this growth and want to keep it going, but we also want to make sure we’re keeping up to speed in our backstage operations. That’s why we’re honored to be participating in Give Local Ann Arbor Area Day on May 6: all donations made to 826michigan through givelocalannarborarea.org on that day will be matched 2:1, with all funds dedicated to our capacity-building projects.
In those capacity-building projects, we’ve found an excellent friend. Development and Marketing Intern Dane Larsen is a powerful force, a whiz with spreadsheets and folders, and a passionate and dedicated writer. Since September, Dane has been spending 12 hours a week at 826michigan working on grant proposals, fundraising materials, marketing plans, mass mailings, and all the other projects that are not necessarily very glamorous from the outside but are completely essential and much appreciated. (Dane, with his ever-present prescription sunglasses and encyclopedic knowledge of ’90s pop music, brings the glamour anyway.)
It’s been a true joy for us to get to know and work with Dane this school year. As an intern, he is rock-solid reliable, incredibly hardworking, intellectually creative, and driven. As a person, he is hilarious, kind, a good listener, and a good friend. He is also fantastic at taking on the many strange little tasks that constitute a volunteer position at 826michigan — from writing questions for our Trivia for Cheaters competition to sharing a work space with a Life-Sized Poetry Board Game field trip in progress. We’re so fortunate to have had Dane Larsen as a Development and Marketing Intern this year and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors!
THANK YOU, DANE! You have made your mark at 826michigan.