Shiraz Ahmed is a top-notch journalist, world traveler, and outstanding volunteer. He hails from the Lone Star State’s biggest city—Houston, Texas—and has made it a point to become an active part of the Detroit community ever since he made this city his home.
Shiraz began volunteering with 826michigan in 2015, consistently supporting our Wee-Bots program at the Campbell Branch of the Detroit Public Library. To our delight, he was among the most thrilled to see the chapbook of student work at the release party later that spring. Since then, Shiraz has done SO MUCH to support programs in Detroit. For instance, he hosted a workshop this past summer in the Detroit Robot Factory, made it a personal point to advocate for 826michigan at his job (shoutout to all of our volunteers from Crain’s Detroit Business!), and has inspired a coworker to get more deeply involved as a mainstay at Detroit After-School Tutoring. We are so pleased to highlight all of his work now.
Shiraz is a mainstay in our Detroit classrooms, as an In-schools Projects volunteer—helping to make our first-ever offsite Storytelling and Bookingmaking experience a success! It is one of his favorite places to work with students, particularly as he remembers an editing party for our 2017 Young Author’s Book Project as one of his most cherished 826michigan moments. In the classroom, Shiraz puts his professional writing experience as an automotive news journalist to work, most notably at last year’s “Transportation of the Future” workshop with students from the Boggs School Writing Club.
On a more personal note, Shiraz has a laugh that sparks joy and solidifies his connections with students. It always comes at moments that demonstrate he is fully engaged and truly believes in students’ stories and ideas. He also totally nominated 826michigan to be the beneficiary of Crain’s Cares, a quarterly giving program through Crain’s Detroit Business. Thanks to his advocacy, 826michigan was selected as one of 2016’s four charities. He motivated his coworkers to donate a collection of books to the Detroit Robot Factory that reflect a diversity of characters and rich spectrum of character experiences, and together, he and his coworkers raised more than $1,000 to support our students!
This year, he even hosted a creative nonfiction workshop where he led students through interviewing and note-taking practices so that they could then turn their favorite summer experiences into rich works of creative nonfiction. And this fall, he recruited yet another awesome volunteer to our ranks, Jackie Charniga, who is an active tutor in Detroit today. In short, after bragging about Shiraz for an entire page, there’s little we cannot say about how much he adds to our volunteer community and brings to writing experience for our students. We are so glad to finally recognize Shiraz as our Volunteer of the Month!