December Volunteers of the Month

December 2, 2022 | Volunteer of the Month

This month we’re celebrating our Detroit Initiative Volunteers! Every single Wednesday this semester Ben Gallardo, Breeana Iris Rosario, and Erin Wang have shown up in a big way to support the most excited K-5 students ever with Field Trip Roadshows at University Prep Math & Science Elementary. With each classroom visit, they’ve delved straight into PJ days with bedtime story writing, wildly collaborative choose your own adventure stories, storytelling & bookmaking sessions, zines with a focus on social change, and writing about new monuments students would like to see in their communities. Together with Program Manager Denise Ervin and Teaching Artist Paige Atkinson and other dedicated volunteers, the Detroit Initiative team has created a safe, enthusiastic, and celebratory space for students to share their voices and ideas. 

Denise, our Detroit Program Manager, says we literally could not have survived this fall without our Detroit Initiative volunteers! They showed up each week for our students, encouraged them, worked with them, and supported the Detroit program staff. The Detroit Initiative Team met each challenge with grace and accomplished their goals with style. If our students are the heart of our Field Trip Roadshow program, the Detroit Initiative volunteers were the soul this fall. We appreciate this team for giving so much of themselves to see our students succeed!

Here’s more from of our Detroit Initiative Volunteers: 

Being able to volunteer in my hometown has been very meaningful to me!

Breeana-Iris Rosario

Ben Gallardo

Tell the world a little bit about your Fall 2022 826 experience so far:
Favorite moment? Without a doubt it’d have to be my first outing to UPSM ES. A student named George was having a little difficulty with his spelling, and the way his eyes lit up as he finally figured things out with a little guidance? Absolutely priceless.

What has been your favorite Field Trip Roadshow so far? Why?
Making zines! Hearing how informed the class was on the issues they were addressing (in my group’s case: worker’s rights) was so heartening.

What do you like most about 826michigan Field Trip Roadshows?
I love the opportunity to get to know the young writers! It’s honestly such a joy helping them channel all of the creativity they each possess into a collaborative piece of writing.

Please describe your ideal pizza.

Jalapeño, avocado, and a whole bunch of hot sauce!

Words of wisdom to fellow and future volunteers?

If a student ever stops what they’re doing, turns to you in dead seriousness and asks you if you miss being a kid, tread lightly. Odds are it’s not even noon and you aren’t at all prepared for what direction this conversation might take. Potential routes include Disney World, Fortnite, trampolines, or a combination of the three.

Hidden Talent?

Only my closest associates can attest to this objective fact, but I’m secretly one of the finest guacamole connoisseurs of our time.

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