We’ll be brutally honest: We almost NEVER give someone the honor of being Volunteer of the Month until they’ve been with us for quite some time. Many months for sure, and in many cases, years. Friends, that all changes this month with the induction of Eric Canosa to the esteemed ranks of our most elite. He filled out an application on June 2, attended orientation on June 13, and met with Amy about creating an ELL program soon after. Options were discussed, plans made, and everything seemed very far off. Afterward, he went one way, and we kept chugging along. Two months passed.
This sort of thing happens all the time. What doesn’t GENERALLY happen is this: after going one way, Eric came back, and all plans we had made were concretely intact in his mind. Is this getting too abstract to follow? Well, Eric’s a little abstract. It’s one of the things we like best about him. But we’ll try to stay on track.
We met Eric. We liked him. He had great ideas, and we wanted to put those ideas into practice. Summer happened. We didn’t see him but once (he came to our Summer Garden Party WOO!). Summer ended, and he came back LIKE GANGBUSTERS.
Eric is great for A LOT of reasons. First off, he has the ideal personality for 826michigan. He’s super smart, super quirky, super creative, and very friendly. He loves people of all ages, he loves talking to and hanging out with people of all ages, and furthermore, he loves TEACHING people of all ages. In other words: he’s perfect for us.
Eric works in the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair on Thursday nights, and he is great at it. But the MAIN reason we are making him Volunteer of the Month for October is that he created what is already an INCREDIBLE and STELLAR English Language Learners program for us on Saturday afternoons.
On Saturday afternoons, Professor Eric, as he likes to be called, arrives at 826 at 11:30am and puts on a lab coat. His illustrious team of volunteer helpers arrives, and he spends half an hour explaining the plan for the day. It might be, for example, describing your hero. He gives the volunteers strategies for working with ELL students and answers their questions. The students arrive at noon, and then it’s go time. Free ELL help for area students, from a man who has taught English around the world. Amazing!
Furthermore, he sends the most delightful emails to our staff and the volunteers he works with. Here’s a snippet of one such email:
My experiment with compartmentalizing instruction into skill-specific workshops seemed to be successful. The individual competencies and skill levels of the students were well addressed and as a result they seemed comfortable and happy. I swear to whatever Insane Robotic God that accidentally programmed our reality into existence: our facilitators almost bring me to tears with how awesome they are. I gave them the tiniest little nudge and, scout’s honor, they practically designed and delivered the curriculum for their lessons themselves. Shout-outs to Peter, Amelia Bedelia, and Don’t Forget to Write for making everything go smoothly.
Do you know how great it feels to get an email like this? Do you know how it feels to get them REGULARLY, and to have a VOLUNTEER sending out heartfelt emails to thank OTHER VOLUNTEERS? My friends, it feels AMAZING.
And so, Eric Canosa, though we don’t know you WELL (yet), we LOVE what you are doing. We are certain you are a mad scientist, pretty sure you’re a genius, and absolutely positive you belong HERE, with us. Thanks for all you do and continue to do for us!
** And: ELL students! Please join us on Saturdays from noon to one for a life changing experience! **