In the Field: February’s Volunteer of the Month is Tom Bianchi!
Tom Bianchi — also known as AT Bianchi, and as probably at least one or two more aliases — is 826michigan’s current Field Trips Intern. In this capacity, Tom coordinates two field trips a week from schools all over Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit, communicating with teachers and volunteers to put together awesome 2-hour literacy experiences for students in K-6th grade.
That’s the way we’d put it on Tom’s resume, at least. In practice, what Tom does with and for 826michigan goes SO FAR beyond the title “Field Trips Intern” that it’s actually, like, a whole separate field.
From taking the lead on a robot-themed version of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” at our annual BotChoir, to dressing up as a “fancy lady” (see above) to help us film instructional videos for store volunteers, to visiting Erickson Elementary School as a Traveling Editor to help students prepare their plays for Five Bowls of Oatmeal, to carrying more heavy things than we even knew we had access to at 826michigan, Tom has been involved one way or another in nearly everything that has happened with us in the past eight months. In that short time, he’s become so integrated into the fabric of life at 826michigan that we can hardly remember the BT (Before Tom) years. (But we think they were much darker.)
But that’s just the opinion of the 826michigan staff. The opinion of him held by 826michigan’s students is evidenced in the ASTONISHING uptick of characters named “Tom” in recent stories. It seems now that in every 826michigan publication, there are at least two “Tom”s. Friends, this is no coincidence at all: Tom has such a natural and easy rapport with students that it’s no wonder that they want to immortalize him in their writing! When Tom enters a classroom, a chorus of “Hi Tom!” rings out; when he leaves, it’s a sad “Bye, Tom!”.
Nearly everyone at 826michigan could share several fond Tom Memories, but this reporter would like to share one from early in Tom’s tenure. Upon entering 826michigan’s basement offices, I came across Tom just finishing up an EXTREMELY thorough vacuuming session. We’re talking tables moved, desks vacuumed-under, couches vacuumed-under. I said, “Wow! Gosh! You’re really doing a thorough job here!”. And Tom said, “Well, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
That, all too rare and extremely valuable, kind of attitude is precisely what makes Tom such a special guy and a great 826michigan volunteer. Everything that he does, he tries to do well. We are so grateful to Tom for the many hours he has spent with us so far, and hope there are many more in the future!
THANK YOU, TOM! With you around, 826michigan is a better place.