Volunteer of the Month

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

FridaySeptember 2017

Lillie Schneyer

If we were to make a graph to plot the points of Lillie’s contributions to 826michigan this summer, those points would be off the charts (ha!). Lillie Schneyer isn’t new to 826michigan — she’s been working with us for years, starting as an elementary school student who participated in workshops and returning to us during the summer of 2015 as a programs intern (where she led some of the very workshops she once participated in**)! This summer Lillie again returned to us in a new role: as a member of our data and evaluations team, Lillie helped us to collect, clean, and clarify our program numbers and to create a vision and concrete plan for data collection in the coming year.

While some folks might balk at the idea of entering survey data into spreadsheet, Lillie was energetic and engaged in the process, noticing trends and outliers, and making notes about how we could improve our survey processes for the future. She also took great joy in sharing out fantastic survey responses (including: What do you like most about the tutors? “They are lit/they understand me!!!”). Among the many statistics that Lillie calculated, she found the total number of students in our programs this year (3,265!) and unique volunteers (517!), and publications (116!); she organized this information so we could easily see cross-program participation by the students and the schools these students attended. She charted our program attendance records over the course of the school year to help us make scheduling decisions for next year and compared our participation numbers between school years. Her work in the sociology department at Carleton College prepared her to help us to see our data in new ways with word clouds and detailed narrative summaries, and she assisted us in program planning sessions throughout the summer. Did we mentioned she also built us new spreadsheets and filing systems for our data collection this year? Whew!

As an evaluator, Lillie pays attention to detail and asks thoughtful, challenging questions. This also makes her a tremendous teacher — she jumped in to support our drop-in writing sessions this summer, too, designing a lesson around letter writing to make change. Lillie also supported our Family Writing Laboratory program all summer long, working directly with students and families at our writing stations and — you guessed it — tracking and organizing our survey data so we can make changes to the program this year based on family feedback.

Lillie SchneyerLillie, your work this summer helped us to plan for the next year, and it will continue to help us far into the future as we use this data to tell stories about our programs. Thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication to our work — we all strongly agree!

**Her workshop on character development and idea generation was an adaptation of an activity she remembered from the early days of 826. In the lesson, she taught students how to find inspiration for characters all around them in a very fun and funny way. To quote her lesson plan directly, “When I was younger, I discovered something magic about googly eyes: if you put one or two googly eyes on anything– and I mean anything– it looks like it could be alive.” By affixing small plastic eyes to everyday objects, Lillie gave students a simple way to both create new characters and to imagine a thousand untold stories – what would the eraser say, if it could, to the black board? The lesson also created a playful environment in our writing lab – one that helped students to feel comfortable taking leaps with their imaginations and their writing.

FridayAugust 2017

Our August 2017 Volunteer of the Month, Maggie McGuire, began volunteering in our Detroit programs this past school year and we are so thrilled she has joined our crew. We fell in love with Maggie immediately and the more we find out about her, the deeper we fall. She is…

FridayJuly 2017

Tammy Nguyen, our July 2017 Volunteer of the Month, came to us by way of our northern neighbor, Canada.* After moving to Ann Arbor with her husband, Tammy was determined to become deeply engaged in the community and build a vibrant network. We have been one of the lucky recipients…

ThursdayJune 2017

We are SO pleased to announce Bridget Gibbons as our June 2017 Volunteer of the Month! June is a month of culmination at 826michigan—so many projects are coming together into a fantastic grand finale for the end of the school year. This year is even more special as we are…

TuesdayMay 2017

A funny thing happened to Jean Leverich this week as she walked into 826michigan for the field trip: she started pondering the depths of Dr. Blotch’s complex psyche. She thought: Although Dr. Blotch often misplaces their diary during our Strange Mysteries! field trip, is there something else of equal or…

WednesdayApril 2017

There’s so much to love about the communities where we run our programs, and one of our favorite things is the partnerships we build with the academic institutions in these cities. This month we’re excited to celebrate the Academic Service Learning (ASL) students of Eastern Michigan University and the University…

ThursdayMarch 2017

In the organized chaos and logistical back-flips of a field trip, one of the most frantic aspects is the actual putting together of books written by the class. Checking of page order, orientation, not messing up the binding strip, unjamming the binding machine. But most importantly, letting students see the…

FridayFebruary 2017

When we think about what Rachel and Brad are able to do each week in our programs, with their powers combined, we simply couldn’t imagine splitting them apart — they are an incredible force for good in Washtenaw County and we couldn’t do what we do without them.

FridayJanuary 2017

A Jill of all trades with a degree in Psychology from Ohio State University, Ani has jumped into our first semester of programming from the Detroit Robot Factory with outstretched arms and legs, like those slow-motion videos of frogs jumping from tree limb to tree limb. She has worked with students at our Wee-Bots Writing Club at the Redford Library, Boggs School After-School Writing Club, and several field trips at the Detroit Robot Factory (wearing her hard hat of course).

ThursdayDecember 2016

If there was ever someone who embodied the concept of “whistle while you work” it is our December 2016 Volunteer of the Month Eric Anderson. Eric is a robotier, (the esteemed title reserved for our store volunteers), during the Friday evening shift at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair. Not…

Liberty Street Robot
Supply & Repair
115 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 761-3463
Detroit Robot Factory
1351 Winder
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 818-0255