Volunteer of the Month

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

WednesdayApril 2018

Once in a blue moon are we graced with volunteers like Maria Garcia. The University of Minnesota graduate is a chemist and chemical engineer. She’s also multi-faceted–she balanced her engineering course work with singing soprano in the campus choir and found time to master both French and Spanish.

Maria walked into the world of 826michigan this January, but she’s undoubtedly left her mark. While we shared but a few months with Maria, she has blown us away with her wonderful, warm laugh and her thoughtful and cheerful nature.

Not only is Maria a dream to work with, but she’s taken on a record number of weekly store shifts (three or more!) at Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair shop. Everyone who’s shopped there can’t help but notice the friendly and helpful Maria at the desk–greeting folks, answering the phone, and working on additional projects, like transcribing interviews for our Young Authors Book Project.

Students are consistently happy to see her and excited to work with her when she comes in to tutor them in the evening. We’ve seen Maria in action, and she makes keeping a student engaged and interested in their work look totally effortless. One of the most endearing moments for us was finding notes from students that expressed sentiments like “Maria is my favorite tutor” and “Maria is the best!” Students often form special bonds with tutors, but Maria has captured the hearts of so many students in a short amount of time.

Maria taught kindergarten for a year in Bogota, Colombia, so it came as no surprise that she joined us for our Family Writing Lab at Estabrook Elementary and worked with our young learners so compassionately. Many of the families who attended spoke primarily in Spanish and Maria was able to help make sure families felt comfortable and understood throughout the event.

Believe it or not, even in the middle of job interviews and holding down a day job as a chemist, Maria found the time to give us additional support in our field trip program and our in-school projects.

Maria is getting ready to start a job in Philadelphia and we’re so thankful that she decided to use her time until then to make an incredible difference in the lives of 826michigan students and staff. We will miss her deeply when she leaves, but are so grateful to have gotten the chance to know her.

Even though she’ll be on the East Coast, Maria will still be a part of the 826michigan family, inspiring new volunteers with her appearances in our new volunteer recruitment video (be on the lookout for this soon!). Maria gave such powerful answers that will surely help us to recruit a new swath of interested folks.

WednesdayFebruary 2018

Omari Baruti joined 826michigan in the fall of 2016 with the goal of leading STEM workshops in Detroit schools. To get started, he made it his mission to learn about 826 by volunteering as an after-school tutor on Liberty Street. There he has continuously helped students in all subject areas—from…

ThursdayFebruary 2018

Susan is a regular volunteer with field trips on Liberty Street and we are so lucky to have her walk in the door on Wednesday and Friday mornings. These field trips require many different roles to be filled, several of them theatrical. Not only is Susan a dependable volunteer, but…

TuesdayJanuary 2018

Putting together a music festival is no easy task. Putting together a music festival where the artists donate their talents and performances for a local nonprofit organization, well that’s just plain tough. Enter the Mittenfest Booking Team. While it has seen many faces over the years, one thing is consistent:…

FridayDecember 2017

Every month, we seek out a volunteer to highlight for their outstanding contributions to 826michigan, and each year that we grow, it becomes so much harder. Annually, we can only recognize twelve of the more than five hundred dedicated, outstanding humans who support our students each year. Closing out a…

WednesdayNovember 2017

Shiraz Ahmed is a top-notch journalist, world traveler, and outstanding volunteer. He hails from the Lone Star State’s biggest city—Houston, Texas—and has made it a point to become an active part of the Detroit community ever since he made this city his home. Shiraz began volunteering with 826michigan in 2015, consistently…

SundayOctober 2017

  Have you walked into the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair recently and gasped? Have you exclaimed with delight and slight confusion, “This place looks different!”? Thanks to a team of super volunteers, you can now browse 826michigan shirts and sweatshirts on a special built-in rack, try out a…

FridaySeptember 2017

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…

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…

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