In the world of volunteering at 826michigan, there is sprinting and there is long-distance volunteering. Some folks are sprinters, and can volunteer for a couple of months, several times a week—but—because of other commitments in the world, or new jobs, have to reorganize their schedule and can no longer volunteer. Others are the marathoners. Those runners have been volunteering for years and give 826michigan a consistency on which to build out our programs. One such long-distance runner, both metaphorically as a tutor and literally as an athlete, is Katie Brown.
Katie Brown was one of the first volunteers get Detroit’s After School Tutoring Program off to a running start when it returned in January of 2017. An amazingly generous and friendly new volunteer to 826michigan, Katie (or as she sometimes accidentally signs-in “Kathryn,” which she doesn’t actually go by), quickly took the lead to become our resident expert in science with her expertise in physiology, movement science, and epidemiology. And even if a student had earth science homework, which Brandan foolishly figures is the same as physiology, Katie is happy to help and learn even MORE about science.
Katie works downtown, and finishes the workday strong to get out early and make it to tutoring at the Detroit Robot Factory every week, where she is greeted by VERY excited students. Aaliah, 10, adores working with Katie where in between assignments they play I Spy (which Aaliah is very good at) or just catch up about best places to get your ears pierced in the mall (it’s J.C. Penny).
Most recently she helped Sergio turn a three sentence story into a massive epic involving a cosmic ball of energy on vacation in Somalia. On days where we have new tutors, Katie acts as a mentor to them as well, providing a shining example of how to get students having fun while getting through challenging homework assignments with breaks and games. During this time she also builds relationships with fellow tutors, and has even joined forces with them on the volleyball court.
And you may be surprised to know that Katie is not only a volunteer at 826michigan (but where does she find the time!?), but she ALSO volunteers as a coach for Girls on the Run, sharing her love of running and movement science with the next generation of female scientists. This fall, Katie will start a Physician Assistant program at the University of Iowa, and we could not be more excited for her.
Katie, thank you for all that you have done to make after-school tutoring in Detroit a place of learning and laughter. You definitely are deserving of a gold medal for long-commitment tutoring!