Dear (DEAR) Alyssa,
YOU are the Volunteer of the Month!
(Note to the reader: Because Alyssa participates in the Volunteer of the Month program so often by giving testimonials, we had to put her off the scent this time around by inventing a FAKE Volunteer of the Month. It was sneaky. So sneaky. But we snuck because we love.)
In fact, it’s hard to find an 826michigan program in which Alyssa does NOT participate in some way. Not only does she perform EXTRAORDINARILY capable work Monday-Thursday as the Tutoring Intern for Drop-in Tutoring, she also PERFORMS (the other one!) with great flair and panache as a crucial element of our highly theatrical Friday morning field trips. For those keeping score at home, yes, that does mean that Alyssa is at 826michigan Every. Single. Day. Of. The. Week.
Her tireless dedication, unflappably sunny attitude, and incredible intelligence have made us sit up and take notice of Alyssa Selasky nearly every time she walks through our doors.
(So thanks, Alyssa, for ALSO providing us with an excellent abdominal work-out.)
We asked a few of our staff members to say a few words about Alyssa. They responded with pages and pages of praise, which unfortunately we cannot due to space reasons reproduce here in their entirety. But here are a few snippets. We’ll try to keep it short.
BUT WE MAKE NO PROMISES.
Executive Director Amanda:
Alyssa inspires confidence in every way. Not only do we as staff members trust her fully with one of our most important programs, but she also builds confidence in our students. Students are drawn to her. She has a way of relating to each of them individually, helping them feel important and respected and allowing them to really be themselves. She’s not just an essential part of how tutoring runs day to day, she’s also a big part of why our students come back day after day, eager to do their homework and to spend time with our tutors.
Interim Program Director Frances:
It is really difficult to express in words just how much Alyssa has meant to 826 and to me personally this year. So, to begin, I will transcribe a short conversation I had with Melanie, a tutoring student, recently.
Me: Hi Melanie, hi Ben! We are pretty short on tutors today. Can you get started on your homework and I will find someone to work with you in a few minutes?
Melanie: Okay. Where is Alyssa?
Me: She couldn’t be here today – she will be back on Monday.
Melanie: Oooooh, so that’s why things aren’t going well today.
That is exactly how I feel! When Alyssa is here, which is LITERALLY every day of the week, everything hums along smoothly and there is laughter and sunshine, and unicorns are strolling through, and students are getting work done and everyone is radiant.
When Alyssa is NOT here . . . well, we don’t want to talk about those days.
Program Coordinator Catherine:
I thought about a lot of ways that I could express my gratitude and admiration for Alyssa Selasky. I could write fanfiction or a love song, or an ode to her. I thought maybe I could try a sestina since she studies poetry at U of M and is a talented poet and student of literature. If I wrote a sestina, I’d need six repeating words that would drive the poem forward while creating a steady structure within the verse (much in the same way that Alyssa has brought consistency and excellent organization to our tutoring program as she has incorporated innovative and helpful changes). So, let’s see. Six substantial words to describe Alyssa:
jovial – Alyssa is a perpetual font of positive energy for our students, tutors, and staff throughout the time they spend with her at tutoring.
model – Alyssa has dabbled in fashion modeling assignments a few times for us during her year as tutoring intern, and she does it with grace, poise, and her beautiful smile. BUT she’s also a great role model for all of us at 826 – studious, funny, upbeat, a great listener, a fabulous story-teller, and a dedicated, passionate volunteer.
talent – Alyssa’s talents range from the aforementioned semi-professional modeling to stage managing to speaking fluent French to performing every role at our Friday field trips to tutoring Calculus to coming up with winning writing prompts to finding paper cups when we seem to be all out to helping students in the classroom through our in-schools program to making each of our students feel incredibly special at tutoring. It’s kind of a workout even just imagining all the good that Alyssa does in one day.
comedy – This lady is funny. She has one of those laughs that make everyone laugh. It is hearty – that is, full of heart. We are lucky to have her share this with us everyday. Although she’ll tell you that folks roll their eyes at her cheesy jokes, we love them, and in addition to those, she’s got all kinds of crazy levels of funny. For example, she addresses emails to me like this sometimes: Hello Dr. SnowballFluff or HOLY ESPRESSO, BATMAN! and sometimes she signs off her emails like this: Senorita WhiskerPawz or ALYSSKIZZLES or 8lyssa. This, to me, is very funny and much appreciated in the everyday world of email.
constant – Alyssa spends more time at 826michigan than almost anyone else, including the staff and maybe Dave Eggers. She’s here for tutoring four days a week, she helps out at events, she trains volunteers at our info sessions, she stays late for workshops, and she comes back early on Friday mornings for field trips. Over the course of her two years with us, she’s helped out with all of our programs and has remained a reliable, zealous volunteer no matter the situation. I trust her fully to represent our organization to families, tutors, and students.
bright* – It should come as no surprise that Alyssa brightens the 826michigan tutoring lab whenever she enters (and it’s already a pretty cheery place with all of our students and gleaming robots). She is bright in every sense of the word – quick, witty, effervescent, refreshing and a shining, tutoring star. It has certainly been a bright spot of my year to have Alyssa in charge of tutoring at 826 and it’s been an honor to work with her.
*I could add high fashion, fancy, fierce, friend, festival, fantastical, factual, factoring, francophone, frenzy, and The Force, to my list of words, but I’m only allowed 6.
(We made no promises.)
Suffice to say, Alyssa Selasky has become incredibly important to us over the last year, not only as a stellar volunteer and intern but also as our friend. So while it grieves us to reveal that she will be leaving her post as Tutoring Intern at the end of this month to attend the New England Literature Program, we are also incredibly excited on her behalf and grateful for the many, many things she has given us.
We truly love you, Alyssa! 826michigan is an immeasurably better place with you around.