Volunteer of the Month

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

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 greater value that our curmudgeonly editor might fret about losing? The answer came to her — obviously, a robot! And wouldn’t it be interesting if Dr. Blotch showed a softer side, by admitting their devotion to this particular bot? When she got to 826, Jean admitted that Dr. Blotch had consumed her morning thoughts, and as a group we discussed this possible new plot twist to our regular field trip outline. With some teamwork and brainstorming, a perfect addition to our strange mystery was created, one in which Dr. Blotch’s beloved lullaby-singing golden robot Lucy had been stolen (and our students were charged with finding the bot!). This kind of teamwork is characteristic of Jean and our intrepid field trip crew, who make magic happen multiple mornings a week on Liberty Street.

At 9:30am on Wednesday and Friday mornings, we look forward to the moment our front door opens and Jean walks into our writing lab. Although we are used to seeing her now (Jean has volunteered at 25 field trips this semester — that’s nearly every single field trip on Liberty Street in 2017), our delight never wanes when she arrives. She greets the staff and other volunteers by name, welcoming newbies and asking thoughtful questions, and jumping into any and every task we need to complete in order to run a fantastic field trip. Thanks to Jean and our crew, we’ve served over one thousand students so far this year, most of whom have had the pleasure to work with Jean.

volunteer of the month jean leverich

In addition to working one-on-one with students on their writing during field trips, Jean has been flexible and energetic, jumping into any role in the program, whether it is making nametags, assembling case files, typing stories for large or small groups of students to see their work on the page, playing a suspicious suspect during our Strange Mysteries! productions, or assisting the ever demanding and unappeasable Dr. Blotch. She has donned PJs during PJ DAY, led table-reads during our Screenwriting field trip, acted out the plight of orphaned otters during our STEM & Writing field trip, and navigated our students through time travel, space travel, and unicorn travel during Choose Your Own Adventure writing field trips.

Jean’s thoughtfulness when it comes to our programs shines through in all of her interactions with 826michigan. She has volunteered to come in extra days to help finish typing student work from our field trips program and other programs for publication, and she is always eager to discuss the successes and challenges of a session with other volunteers and staff after each field trip. She made the brilliant comparison between collaborative writing and improv, helping students to cooperate and build off of each other’s ideas by applying the “Yes and” principle to storytelling (So, the teenager was in love with a coconut AND spies were chasing them through a shopping mall. . .). Jean brings her many talents for writing and performing to field trips each week, embodying any character she takes on with panache and passion (and great costumes!) and asking enthusiastic questions of our student writers. Recently, Jean doubled as Edna, a nosy documentary filmmaker trying to learn Dr. Blotch’s secrets complete with a rainbow blouse, rhinestone-studded sunglasses, and a fantastic blonde wig. Very suspicious indeed!   

We are so lucky to have Jean’s magic in the writing lab during field trips — keep thinking up the next Dr. Blotch conundrum, Jean, and thank you for joining the crew with your whole heart AND steering our program to new, hilarious, and adventurous places.


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…

TuesdayNovember 2016

Every literary organization and periodical has a style guide that they use to make grammar and editorial decisions. For instance, here at 826michigan, our style guide is the Chicago Manual of Style, which we all feel very loyal to. However, for this month, we are going to temporarily declare our…

SaturdayOctober 2016

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…

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…

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