July 2011 – Ami Walsh

July 1, 2011 | 826 Blog Post

Ami Walsh!

Ami Walsh!

It is often hard to know where to begin with these things, and the delicate art of appreciation. Especially when the subject is someone like Ami Walsh, who it seems has been around as some magical presence, like, forever. But then, this morning, I opened up my inbox, and there I found the loveliest email from Catherine Calabro, our programs coordinator, and I knew right then and there that we should start here, with Catherine:

“Since I’ve been with Ami Walsh all day today, I can only tell you how great she is now, in secret, as she has gone downstairs to help campers at transplant camp in their Laugh Olympics. Ami is tirelessly dedicated, impeccably organized, kinder than saints, and so skilled as a writer, sound mixer, photographer, and navigator of all things technological. Her workshops always have amazing final products; she helps bring out the very best from our students!”

A glowing endorsement to be sure. In fact, as I write this, Catherine and Ami are again at transplant camp, helping young people who’ve had solid organ transplants write about their experiences.

And what else has she been doing for us for the last three — or maybe four? — years?

She’s been leading the Superhero World of Words workshop for students who have overcome medical challenges. For this workshop, she has not only thoroughly planned each lesson (and revised each session every year), but she types up all student work, creates chapbooks (with her own resources!), records a podcast (see past Features of the Month!), creates a CD cover, and burns CDs. It seems worth mentioning that she also traditionally brings treats to her workshops, too. Who doesn’t love a volunteer who goes above in beyond in THAT many ways…and then brings treats, too? (No really, that wasn’t rhetorical, who doesn’t? I would like to have words with this person.)

In addition to facilitating workshops throughout the year, for the past two semesters, she’s brought us an amazing partnership with naturalist Jane Hayes. She and Jane, and a herd of other volunteers (who Ami actively recruits!) have led seasonal workshops in the Arb, and Ami has documented these workshops by recording student poems and creating lovely videos (and her husband John has taken amazing photos to accompany the audio!). Once again — are you sensing a pattern here? — please see our Features of the Month.

Finally, Ami created a partnership between 826michigan and Camp Michtanki, the University of Michigan’s Medical Center Transplant Camp. Ami recruited volunteers, made lesson plans, led a volunteer training session, and so much more. She’s created a wonderful space at camp for students to share their stories.

Ami, thank you SO MUCH for all you’ve done for us, and, in particular, the WAY you’ve done all these things (read: with grace and humor and intelligent wit). It has not gone unnoticed. We love you!

Forty-five cheers for AMI WALSH!

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