January 2012 – Anna Belew

January 1, 2012 | 826 Blog Post

Anna Belew!

Anna Belew!

Let’s say it again: Anna Belew! (In addition to all her sterling qualities [which, as you will see shortly, are many], Anna Belew has a REALLY fun name to say with gusto and/or verve. Try it: Anna Belew! It is only fitting because [as you will also see shortly] Anna herself is a person who approaches life, and volunteering at 826michigan, with GREAT gusto and verve!)

Anna Belew is a stellar volunteer who has been with us for a year and change, and in that time has never lost her seemingly unwavering enthusiasm for all things 826michigan. She is a dedicated and reliable tutor who forms an instant rapport with any student she works with. She can be counted upon to staff the 826michigan info table at ANY event, and to do so with wonderful panache. When she volunteers each Monday night at Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair, she infects all who come in with her irrepressible excitement for everything from wind-up dinosaurs to paper plane launching kits to RightBot, our pi-reciting robot. She delights in all the fiddly tasks we can think of to throw at her. (Remember that under-the-sea window we had a while back? Remember how there were “bubbles” represented by strings of cut-out bubble wrap strung on fishing line? Walking by, did you ever think “Gee, those bubbles look awesome, but SO time-consuming. Who has the patience for that???” The answer is ANNA BELEW. Anna Belew has the patience for that. And a bunch of other things besides.) She is designing and teaching a workshop for our Winter 2012 schedule, on the super-cool subject of science-fiction style world creation. (Three sessions. Eleven through fourteen-year-olds. Get on this workshop, because it will be amazing. No spoilers, but students will be creating Star Trek-y Captain’s Logs about the new worlds they have created. WE CAN’T WAIT.) Last but certainly not least, she — as First Mate Anna “Makin’ It So” Belew — competed in last year’s Spelling Bee for Honest Cheaters in a super-awesome shirt she designed and screen-printed herself. (See the photo for proof.) Not only was she stylish, she raised a truly impressive amount of money for 826michigan’s programs AND proved that she has the spelling chops to match all her other many skills. (Spelling Bee attendees may recall her instantly-legendary mastery of the word “pamprodactylous”.)

Whew. Suffice to say, Anna is awesome. This has not gone unnoticed here at 826HQ — in fact, it’s become clear through discussion that the only reason Anna has not yet been Volunteer of the Month is that everybody thought she had already been Volunteer of the Month. Everybody.

When we decided to rectify that this month, people started LITERALLY falling all over each other to sing Anna’s praises. (Literally! There are bruises! It was a melee!) Here’s Tutoring Intern Alyssa:

“OH MY GOSH. EXCELLENT CHOICE. And I definitely thought she was already VotM. Ooops.

Well, I’d love to rave about Anna. Does anyone realize how cool she is? SHE DOES BACK TO BACK TUTORING AND STORE SHIFTS. WHAT KIND OF SUPER HUMAN IS SHE? While the rest of us are forced to nap and watch 3 episodes of Friday Night Lights after tutoring to settle in after the chaos, she just effortlessly steps into the store, cracking jokes and selling ‘bots. (Theory: She’s actually a robot?)

But not only is Anna time efficient/caffeinated, she’s also a stunning and fearless tutor. But really… she has no fear. No assignment too scary and no homework directions too vague, she will attempt to tackle ANY subject. This is a rare thing. This alone make her worthy of the prestigious title of Volunteer of the Month… BUT THERE’S MORE.

Perhaps her most impressive talent is actually getting students to do homework. Through her charm, wit, tough love, or just plain magic, Anna can help a student transform even the sassiest of attitudes into 25 completed math problems or a brilliant essay.

Anna is a joy to be around and I’m so happy she’s the Volunteer of the Month! Many thanks to Anna for everything that she does!”

Program Coordinator Catherine:

“Can I just say that listening Anna in the store is really inspiring? She’s so enthusiastic, warm, and funny. Really, every interaction is like that. I wish we could have just recorded a conversation and put the transcript as part of her write-up.

Anyway, I think the world of Anna — I feel confident anytime I place a student with her that the student is going to have an excellent experience. I especially love putting writing students with Anna because her imagination and enthusiasm always help to foster great writing.”

And — not to name-drop or anything — the man who was through a combination of circumstances Anna’s teammate at the 2011 Spelling Bee, WORLD-FAMOUS AUTHOR DAVE EGGERS:

“Every word that you were given, you just got up there and went at that word like BAM!”

There you have it, folks, from the mouth of one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. Like BAM! Anna does indeed go at pretty much everything she does like BAM!, and we love her for it. Thank you for all the great work you do, Anna! 826michigan is a better and brighter place with you around.

(Psst: you can experience Anna for yourself at her upcoming workshop! Check it out when the schedule goes up on Tuesday, January 10!)

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