Tammy Nguyen, our July 2017 Volunteer of the Month, came to us by way of our northern neighbor, Canada.* After moving to Ann Arbor with her husband, Tammy was determined to become deeply engaged in the community and build a vibrant network. We have been one of the lucky recipients of her energy and charisma. Tammy is as sunny and bright as the month of July and she brings her zest, charm, thoughtfulness, and genuine enthusiasm to all she does.
Tammy began volunteering with us as a Liberty Street tutor during the winter of 2015. As a tutor, she is willing to jump in and help students even in subjects that she is unfamiliar with, helping them to develop creative strategies for tackling complex problems and multi-step projects. Tammy is also a fixture of our Family Writing Labs; at these events, we partner with area schools or community organizations in order to offer families a chance to engage in creative writing projects, share what they’ve written, and take home more ideas for doing writing together. She’s been participating for several years as we’ve worked to develop and hone the program, and has been integral to the improvements we’ve made. Tammy is always incredibly prepared, completely engaged, and then provides thoughtful feedback about the individual writing stations as well as overall structure of the evenings.
Speaking of Family Writing Labs, this summer we set the ambitious goal of running SEVEN Family Writing Labs in collaboration with some of our very favorite community partners. These events function best when we have a SLEW of volunteers—so consider making like Tammy and signing up to help with a few. Plus, you’ll get the chance to rub elbows with this superstar Volunteer of the Month! Rubbing elbows with Tammy is pretty awesome, because she has a very authentic way of engaging with others that makes you feel like you could be old friends the first time you meet her—the conversation and laughter just flow. We’re not alone in thinking this; Tammy has formed some very tight friendships with folks she’s met through her volunteerism at 826.
Another favorite things about Tammy? She’s also a volunteer for the Ann Arbor Humane Society and a serious animal lover. Once, she emailed to say that she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to come to a Family Writing Lab, because she was on call to help process a shipment of puppies and wasn’t sure when the van of puppies was going to arrive. Yes, you read that right; this gal truly is a bundle of sunshine and puppies. She even occasionally stops by Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair with the puppy that she adopted from Humane Society.
This fall, Tammy will be starting a graduate program through University of Michigan’s School of Information. She will be focusing on Media Literacy and Information Management, and already has ideas about how she’ll incorporate volunteering with 826michigan into her studies and use her studies to support our organization! Tammy, we are so grateful to all that you bring to our organization and cannot wait to continue collaborating as you pursue your graduate studies!
*It’s been a year and a half since we’ve honoured a Canadian as our Volunteer of the Month (shout-out to Beth Fowler, VotM November 2015!), and we thought it was a-boat time we celebrated another.