Cool, Creative Carman
“I cannot believe my eyes!”
-Jason, tutoring student, upon seeing the pencil cups that Carman (VotM March ‘16) sorted and filled with sharpened, eraser-ed pencils.
-How we feel every time March 2016 Volunteer of the Month Carman Judd is helping with a project or program
When Carman first started volunteering a little over a year ago, she let us know that because she would be commuting from East Lansing, she wanted concentrate her volunteer efforts into one day per week. I sent her a list of every program happening on the day she was free, thinking she would choose a couple volunteer opportunities.
She did not choose a couple—-she chose EVERYTHING. Since then, Carman has spent at least one full day at 826michigan each week: full meaning often more than eight hours of helping in ALL on-site programs (a field trip in the morning, tutoring in the afternoon, drop-in writing in the evening). Between helping with programs, she oversees shift in the robot shop, works on 826 design projects, and finds as many ways to be helpful as possible.
It is a joy to witness Carmen working with our students, whether posing as a suspect in a field trip or coming up with a creative new approach with our tutoring students. For example, some of our ELL students find writing challenging, and so we’ve been working on helping them participate in the writing process. Carman created innovative and effective writing exercises using fill-in-the-blank sentences and illustrations with goofy and accessible themes. It has worked amazingly and engaged the student with writing in a way we hadn’t yet achieved.
More than just being amazing with students, Carman is always working on projects to make Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair better than ever. Recently, on short notice we asked her to help with the new store window, and without hesitation, she came in and spent eight hours getting store products ready and setting up the window. She even has an awesome Instagram where she regularly promotes LSRS&R products in clever and delightful ways (if you search #onwardrobots, you can see for yourself!).
And, as if she couldn’t get any more helpful, Carman used to work at a printing company and has used her expertise to guide us through so many design projects challenges and problem-solve many a printing conundrum. We’ve enlisted her help in creating a new sign to hang on our red curtain, in drawing wild props for a skit at the OMNIBUS release, developing beautiful materials for our writing workshops and field trips, and more. She also pays close attention to make sure little but important details–bringing a new stamp pad for Dr. Blotch’s stamp of approval, a new pencil sharpener for our lab, since we go through so many!–are taken care of so that our programs can run like a well-oiled, well-designed bot.
Carman is a complete joy to be around—easy to talk with, warm, vibrant, interesting, funny—and often uses her charisma to welcome new volunteers and students to 826. We feel incredibly lucky to that we get to hang out with her so much and so many of our students get to benefit from her many talents!