We are often asked what the 826 in 826michigan stands for. (Particularly here in Ann Arbor, where “826” can sound a lot like “A2-6” if you’re in a hurry.) There’s a simple answer to that, which is that the building where Dave Eggers and Ninive Calegari started The Little Tutoring Center/Pirate Store That Could (ten whole years ago!) was located at 826 Valencia St in San Francisco.
But here at 826michigan we like to look beyond the Simple Answer and prod our creativity a little bit. What else could 826 stand for?
Perhaps 826 could be the number of:
- wacky, wonderful ideas a second-grade classroom, all working together to appease our cranky and nefarious publisher Dr. Blotch, could come up with in five minutes?
- homework assignments a student completes at Drop-in Tutoring over the course of his or her middle-school years?
- times an 826michigan publication is checked out from the Ann Arbor District Library?
OR 826 could even possibly stand for the number of ways there are to support all of this.
Some of these 826 ways to support 826michigan spring to mind easily — volunteering once a month at a workshop, attending Mittenfest every year, following and sharing with us on Facebook or Twitter. But others? Not as readily apparent.
That’s where April’s Supporter of the Month, 826michigan board member Rick Weise, comes in. A few years ago, Rick came to us with an interesting idea: what if he asked his friends and family to support his weight-loss efforts by pledging to donate a small amount per pound lost to 826michigan? It was new. It was unusual. It was, dare we say, even a little bit FUN.
Moreover, it was successful! Rick lost weight AND collected a substantial chunk of change for 826michigan. So when Rick approached us this winter with the idea to do it again, we could say nothing but “go for it”!
And go for it Rick did! Rick’s weight-a-thon began in March and will continue through May. He’s been steadily losing weight AND collecting pledges–what a win-win! And what an awesome idea, Rick!
This is why we are pleased to recognize Rick Weise as a Supporter of the Month: by adding his own spin to lending 826michigan a hand, he proves that our supporters are as creative, interesting, dedicated, and fun (and healthy!) as the 2,331 students their help enables us to serve each year. Thank you, Rick! We are proud and honored to have you on our team.