Billie Ochberg has been volunteering for us for several years now. We have grown very, very attached to her. And you know what makes that even better? Billie is probably not going to leave us any time soon. One of the pitfalls of working for an organization such as ours is that you get attached to volunteers, you feel that you cannot live without them, and then they graduate and go to Chicago (Becca, Jenn, Rahul), North Carolina (Billie L.), Mongolia (Luke), South America (Kat), NYC (more than we can comfortably name), and beyond. Billie, however, had already graduated when she started volunteering for us. In fact, she had an MSW before she even walked through our doors. She’s got, you know, a house here, and a family. She’s stable. She’s staying with us. (You are staying with us, right, Billie? RIGHT??)
And sure, we love that about Billie; it’s a nice feeling, and not one we get so often. But there are plenty of other things to love about Billie too. Let’s start with what she started with here at 826michigan: tutoring. As a tutor, Billie has it all. She is SUPER patient, SUPER nice, SUPER sweet, and SUPER helpful, so of course students love to work with her. But she also has a knack for keeping students focused, and making them feel good about themselves, in this way that’s really subtle, one that the students themselves might not consciously recognize. But we can assure you, every time a student leaves a tutoring session with Billie he or she feels awesome. Oh yeah, and his or her homework is done. Another great thing about Billie as a tutor is that she’s incredibly reliable! She shows up on time every week. If for any reason she can’t come, she lets us know. She’s … a grown-up! But the best kind of grown-up, one that is creative, and playful, and funny, and yes, reliable, but certainly not serious.
This summer, Billie joined our robostaff, sometimes known as the Nectocoolers, and most commonly referred to as the technicians and craftspeople who work at the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair. As you would expect, she’s reliable, punctual, and adept at explaining just what the heck a robot store is doing in front of a tutoring and writing center for kids. What you might not expect, however, is that she took one of our fine looking LSRS&R t-shirts and cut off the neck, cut down the sleeves, added a bunch of beads, and turned it into an even more fashionable and really quite enviable bit of sass.
Billie, every time you walk in the door, you shoot us one of those smiles. We love that you’re always in a good mood, we love that you’re always ready to help in whatever way, and we love that you’re (hopefully) sticking around for a while. Thanks for all that you do!
Note: Billie is also really hard to find a picture of. The only front-facing one we could find was tiny. And the only big one we could find was of the back of her head …