Volunteer of the Month

Care to meet the elite team of supervolunteers whom we’ve honored over the years?

SaturdayOctober 2016

Noah Resnick October 2016 Volunteer of the Month

Do you ever have an enormous, looming project in front of you, the kind you can’t even believe you dreamed up, much less have plunged into? At moments, that’s what it’s felt like to be shepherding forward 826michigan’s plan to open our Detroit center. The plan was big. The plan was complex. And we’ve never done this before. Enter Noah Resnick, Associate Professor of Architecture at University of Detroit Mercy, partner at Laavu Studio, and lead architect on all things Detroit Robot Factory.

In March 2011, Noah approached 826michigan with a much-needed offer to rework our Ann Arbor writing and tutoring lab. Our budget was minuscule, and our hopes were high. Noah pulled off a true miracle, using IKEA-purchased light fixtures and shelving, some donated electrical services, and a few smart ideas about furniture rearrangement to give our writing and tutoring lab the boost it needed. He taught us ways to separate large spaces and challenged us to think differently about how we use the space and the furniture we have.

A longtime Detroiter, Noah was very excited to sign on to our project to open a new 826michigan center in the city. The process was long, and Noah was behind us every step of the way: early conversations about what the space would need, a major planning session with the Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum which guided us to the Eastern Market neighborhood, building walk throughs to help us decide if 1351 Winder St was right for us. Once we decided, Noah took on the monumental task of helping us turn a vacant produce warehouse into 826michigan’s Detroit home. It was hard then to imagine, much less plan. Noah’s years of experience volunteering with us helped him—with support from his partner at Laavu, Kaija Wuollet and from our friends at Gensler Detroit—develop a space that includes all the things we know we need.

Whenever we need him, Noah—smartly dressed and warmly smiling– seems to magically make himself available. He’s at the ready all the time with a thoughtful idea, a technical detail, a connection to someone else who can help. And unlike us, he has dozens of architecture projects to his name. Throughout the process, he’s been an invaluable resource, an important advocate, and a steady friend to 826michigan. We quite certainly could not have opened the Detroit Robot Factory without Noah’s countless hours of help and professional guidance, and we are glad to know him!

ThursdaySeptember 2016

Sometimes 826michigan feels like a magical place and it is tempting to chalk the amazing transformations that happen here up to an intangible, indefinable “magic.” The truth is that we DO know what makes magic real at 826michigan, and that is human connection (no offense, bots). This connection is made…

MondayAugust 2016

Imagine a person with superhuman skills in an astounding array of fields, a person with an enormous heart, an ever-attuned and immensely strategic brain, and a deep well of generosity. What if this extraordinary human was a parent of two intelligent and hard-working 826michigan students? And what if she chose…

FridayJuly 2016

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…

FridayJune 2016

How could we possibly pick just ONE volunteer of the month when showcasing our Young Author’s Book Project? WE CAN’T! All five of these people were so critical to the first ever Young Author’s Book Project in Detroit that they all deserve this honor. And don’t all of the best…

SundayMay 2016

  For the past school year, Kira Dallaire has taken on one of the longest and most-demanding internships we have: in-school intern. She was up to the challenge. No matter how many projects we throw at her, she catches and champions them in stride and style. Kira is a resident…

FridayApril 2016

For the past year, magical Claire Stano has created a wondrous space in our writing lab on Wednesday evenings for our 6-8 year old writers. Each week, Claire thoughtfully selects a children’s book to read during a Wee-Bots Drop-in Writing session and builds a lesson plan around the story. Claire…

MondayFebruary 2016

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…

MondayFebruary 2016

It is pretty rare that someone becomes Volunteer of the Month at 826michigan before being here at least a year. Occasionally, though, someone comes on board and knocks our socks off immediately in a way that makes the whole staff take notice. (And feet our cold.) This month we would…

WednesdayJanuary 2016

Mirella the Fantabulous In December of 2014, a warm Oakland breeze brought Mirella Villalpando into our lives. Mirella, a Cali native, was working toward her Dual Degree in Social Work and Public Health University of Michigan. Her social work focus was on community organizing and nonprofit management, and it was quickly…

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