February 2012 – Claire Abraham

February 1, 2012 | 826 Blog Post

Claire Abraham!

Anna Belew!

Do us a favor: BEFORE you read this write-up, take a moment to appreciate this picture. How does it make you feel? Calm, maybe? A little serene? Somehow warm and/or fuzzy?

Well, THAT’s funny, because that’s exactly how the lady pictured makes US here at 826michigan feel. Calm, for sure! Serene, always! And — it goes without saying — both warm AND fuzzy.

That lady, friends, is Claire Abraham. You may not know her, but she probably knows you. Claire does a wide variety of tasks around 826michigan, but one of them is the job of entering and processing the many volunteer applications we receive. (This is a task that has been described — never by Claire herself — as variously “tedious” and “thankless”.) Claire performs many such “tedious” and “thankless” administrative tasks with precision and grace, but that’s not all! She also has proven herself through regular tutoring at Ypsilanti Middle School to be a kind, capable, and funny tutor – in other words, everything we could ask for.

Claire’s versatility is evidenced through the wide variety of staff members who have worked closely with her and who were thrilled to provide the following assortment of (very sincere) compliments:

Executive Director Amanda:

Claire is smart in a not-your-average-bear kind of way. When we give her administrative tasks to do, she almost always has a thoughtful, helpful follow up question that causes me to say some version of “I should have thought of that!” She’s willing to do just about any oddball thing we can dream up and seems to smile through all of those tasks: looking up volunteers’ addresses online, entering mundane stuff in the database, sorting disorganized stacks of INSURANCE PAPERS. The office here literally would not run without Claire’s smarts, her sweetness and her really genuine enthusiasm for helping us fulfill our mission.

YMS Program Assistant Savannah:

Claire is one the most positive people I know. She always has a good attitude and smile on her face. The thing I love most about her is that she never ceases to amaze me. She’s a book of great things!

Program Coordinator Catherine:






(cue the Steely Dan song Dirty Work) (which may not be exactly referring to data entry, but still.) Thank goodness for Claire’s patience, dedication, and calm when she’s at the computer, inputting data and emailing volunteers — she is on top of every volunteer application, and I know that I can count on her to know the answer to any question I have regarding the new volunteer process. Only someone as kind and thorough as Claire can serve as both 826michigan’s welcome wagon AND remain impeccably organized and timely!

Claire is a remarkable tutor at YMS, too. Just this week I asked her work with a middle student who struggled with reading and writing. He and Claire brainstormed multiple ideas for a story, but when Claire noticed how frustrating it was for the student to keep up with his thoughts, she kindly offered to take notes for him. By the end of the tutoring session, Claire and the student had completed a full outline of a story that he was then able to write himself the next day. I’m so grateful to have her in the YMS program!


But perhaps the most extraordinary of these very extraordinary compliments came from Interim Program Director Frances, who told me that she had ALREADY WRITTEN a limerick in honor of Claire that was all ready to go:

There once was a girl named Claire,
Her volunteer data-basing skills were rare.
She processed them all
So 826 wouldn’t fall
and she accomplished this all with flair!

Here are some more Claire props:

Claire is the basically the ideal volunteer. She is equally adept at doing behind-the-scenes, unglamorous but SUPER helpful work with the database and volunteer apps AND at being an engaging, supportive front-lines tutor at YMS. Organized and reliable, I always feel fully confident that the volunteer applications that I forward her at all hours of the day and night to process are in good hands. Cheerful and hilarious, and generally just fun to be around, Claire always brightens up the room whenever she comes in to either tutoring lab. If we were better at building robots here, a Claire cloning robot would certainly be at the top of our list! We could use at least 37 more of her.

Well said! Thank you SO MUCH, Claire, for all you do for 826michigan! We are a warmer, friendlier, and more efficient place with you around.

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