A short detour here to set the stage for our July 2016 Volunteer of the Month, Cintia Huitzil, 826michigan MSW intern and Ph.D. candidate at the UM School of Social Work:
Every year the 826 chapters from around the country get together for a staff development conference. As part of this conference, each chapter brings a video or presentation to recap the highlights of the previous year. In reality, actual chapter highlights often are a side note, with entertainment value, humor, and cleverness taking priority. This year the 826michigan staff debuted a video called Sweater Pranks! and we embroiled unsuspecting Cintia into our bizarre endeavors. Without blinking an eye, Cintia jumped right in, playing the distraught owner of a robot desperately in need of repair. She then taped a graceful and complicated single, continuous tracking shot of our entire sweater-clad staff going into Roos Roast, some ordering beverages, sitting down, reading, and then just as quietly, getting up and leaving one-by-one (whew! If you think that was hard to follow, imagine trying to capture it on film in a busy coffee shop!).
Why do we bring this up? Because it encapsulates the amazing can-do spirit Cintia brings to everything. It truly feels as if there is no situation Cintia would not be able to handle in a calm, sensible, and efficient manner. If there were an emergency, we would want Cintia to be a first-responder, parachuting in. If lost in a research project, we would want Cintia to be our reference librarian. When learning learning to scuba dive, we would want Cintia to be our guide—we can see her now, jumping into unknown reefs, exploring, and shining her light on buried treasure in new ways, showing us perspectives we never considered before. And so it feels SO very fitting that Cintia is going into the field of social work, a field that encapsulates the need to be a jill of all trades, to be wise while acting with urgency, to bring thoughtfulness and new perspectives into dark reefs.
In her work at 826michigan, Cintia has brought her supreme competence and abilities to
nearly ALL of our programs, in particular helping with an unimaginable number of in-schools and field trips, jumping in whenever and wherever is needed. She also designed and led her very own in-school workshop on Slang Poetry in Liz Sirmans English Language Learners class at Ypsi Community High. Even more than her incredible support of programs, Cintia has made a lasting impact on our behind-the-scenes structures and systems. She has particularly supported our work in program evaluation, helping us to develop and administer young student
surveys, code results, develop action steps and take-aways, increase survey response rates, and more. Cintia has supported our Education Advisory Committee meetings, working with Catherine to develop the agenda, handle scheduling, and take meeting notes. Throughout the winter and spring, Cintia supported our volunteer recruitment and engagement, and helped us to welcome many more wonderful folks into the 826michigan community. Cintia was instrumental in planning our end-of-year tutoring party on Liberty Street and increasing family engagement with that program and event. She also has generously helped with translating student writing, flyers, and other materials into Spanish; Cintia even spotted a typo in Spanish on the cover proof of newest publication (a feat on its own worthy of our undying gratitude).
Cintia is completing her social work placement with us at the end of July and already we already fret her departure. Cintia Huitzil, we are so grateful to you for all you’ve brought to 826michigan and know that you will make an incredible impact in the field of social work and in the world!