“I’ll be cold for you.” These five words effectively sum up the amount of dedication and eagerness to help that our Volunteer of the Month, Cat Batsios, offers to the Detroit team. When it was uncertain if there would be enough support during a volunteer orientation session on a treacherously frigid Tuesday night, she offered to trudge through the least welcoming environment a Michigan cold front can provide.
A proud native of Flint, Michigan, Cat has been instrumental in the development and execution of nearly every new program we’ve hosted in Detroit. Now in her third semester of interning, she logs countless hours (well, we actually do keep count but it’s A LOT!) helping students in our programs each week. Last summer, she designed and ran a spectacular writing workshop for teens in the Metro Youth Policy Fellows program that focused on recognizing and developing personal mythologies and encouraged some truly inspiring writing. Her passion for teaching and mentoring adolescents is invaluable to our work and she always allows it to shine.
When she’s not spending time volunteering for 826michigan, she’s baking delectable treats, showing up with a box of homemade soaps (SERIOUSLY–really nice soap she made by hand), donating gorgeous handmade necklaces to fundraisers, and painting any sort of 826michigan bits and pieces that come up. “Renaissance woman” does not begin to describe the versatility of her interests or gifts.
A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Creative Writing, she continues to hone her craft through an incredible workshop, driving to Lansing on a weekly basis for study, writing in poetry groups and then submitting pieces for journals, while still making time to design lessons, type student work, train volunteers, and copyedit the most adorable student writing. Did we mention 826michigan isn’t even the only place she volunteers?!
Essentially, Cat is a gem of human being. As the first intern to serve in Detroit, she has set the bar incredibly high. One day there will be an award in Cat’s honor. The only problem is that the award must encompass so many talents, that Cat Batsios may very well be the only recipient.