Volunteer of the Month

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

FridayJuly 2016

Cintia Huitzil Home Theater Image

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:

Cintia helping students on a field trip.Every year the 826 chapters from around the country get together for a staff development conference. As part of this conference, each chapter brings a video or presentation to recap the highlights of the previous year. In reality, actual chapter highlights often are a side note, with entertainment value, humor, and cleverness taking priority. This year the 826michigan staff debuted a video called Sweater Pranks! and we embroiled unsuspecting Cintia into our bizarre endeavors. Without blinking an eye, Cintia jumped right in, playing the distraught owner of a robot desperately in need of repair. She then taped a graceful and complicated single, continuous tracking shot of our entire sweater-clad staff going into Roos Roast, some ordering beverages, sitting down, reading, and then just as quietly, getting up and leaving one-by-one (whew! If you think that was hard to follow, imagine trying to capture it on film in a busy coffee shop!).

Why do we bring this up? Because it encapsulates the amazing can-do spirit Cintia brings to everything. It truly feels as if there is no situation Cintia would not be able to handle in a calm, sensible, and efficient manner. If there were an emergency, we would want Cintia to be a first-responder, parachuting in. If lost in a research project, we would want Cintia to be our reference librarian. When learning learning to scuba dive, we would want Cintia to be our guide—we can see her now, jumping into unknown reefs, exploring, and shining her light on buried treasure in new ways, showing us perspectives we never considered before. And so it feels SO very fitting that Cintia is going into the field of social work, a field that encapsulates the need to be a jill of all trades, to be wise while acting with urgency, to bring thoughtfulness and new perspectives into dark reefs.

cintia and ariana at an in-school project.

In her work at 826michigan, Cintia has brought her supreme competence and abilities to
nearly ALL of our programs, in particular helping with an unimaginable number of in-schools and field trips, jumping in whenever and wherever is needed. She also designed and led her very own in-school workshop on Slang Poetry in Liz Sirmans English Language Learners class at Ypsi Community High. Even more than her incredible support of programs, Cintia has made a lasting impact on our behind-the-scenes structures and systems. She has particularly supported our work in program evaluation, helping us to develop and administer young student
surveys, code results, develop action steps and take-aways, increase survey response rates, and more. Cintia has supported our Education Advisory Committee meetings, working with Catherine to develop the agenda, handle scheduling, and take meeting notes. Throughout the winter and spring, Cintia supported our volunteer recruitment and engagement, and helped us to welcome many more wonderful folks into the 826michigan community. Cintia was instrumental in planning our end-of-year tutoring party on Liberty Street and increasing family engagement with that program and event. She also has generously helped with translating student writing, flyers, and other materials into Spanish; Cintia even spotted a typo in Spanish on the cover proof of newest publication (a feat on its own worthy of our undying gratitude).

Cintia is completing her social work placement with us at the end of July and already we already fret her departure. Cintia Huitzil, we are so grateful to you for all you’ve brought to 826michigan and know that you will make an incredible impact in the field of social work and in the world!

Cintia at a chapbook release party


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…

TuesdayDecember 2015

Matt Beyersdorf, our December 2015 Volunteer of the Month is a robotier extraordinaire (a.k.a. robot shop volunteer) who has been holding down a tricky-to-fill Saturday store shift for over a year. He knows our line of Kikkerland wind-up bots better than anyone and quickly helps visitors feel welcomed. His store…

FridayNovember 2015

Beth Fowler, A Fan Favourite When you hear the explosion of children’s laughter in a classroom, you know you’re having a great workshop. When you hear an explosion of laughter from volunteers alongside those students, you know that something truly inspiring is happening. That’s how it feels every time November…

FridayOctober 2015

The 826michigan Education Advisory Board This spring we piloted a new project, based on the trailblazing efforts of intelligence at 826CHI (no wonder their theme is espionage)! We assembled an all-star A TEAM of educators to help advise us on programming decisions and best practices when working with students and volunteers…

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Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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