Sometimes we celebrate more than one volunteer in a month, and usually it is because they work closely together in a program, are related by blood, or are married. This month, we have paired two volunteers who don’t have any of these in common—but they DO happen to share a last name and they also happen to share our immense esteem and affection.
Since this fall, the 826 staff has not been able to get over the fact that Krystal and Charles can both be so fabulous and both have the awesome Elliott surname. Are you SURE you are not related, we kept asking them. Krystal and Charles happen to come to many of the same events, social activities, and both help in mainly Ypsilanti-based programs. Whenever they enter one of these gatherings, we can’t help but shout with glee, “The Elliotts are here!”
The coincidence may not seem earth-shattering to you, but it causes never-ending delight here at 826. We have paired them together in our collective minds, and paired they will stay forever in the great halls of 826michigan Volunteer of the Month fame.
Before Krystal was a volunteer, she originally supported 826michigan as a journalist at the Ypsilanti Courier, by covering our events and reporting on our programs. Beginning this school year, Krystal began tutoring and has been a cornerstone of our Washington Street Tutoring lab. D’Real noted that her real-world experience with writing has been integral in starting a writers room at the Washington Street Tutoring lab. She is fabulous at helping students to articulate their thoughts on paper and to make the process fun for all involved. She brings her irrepressible enthusiasm and infectious energy into everything she does, inspiring students, fellow volunteers, and staff alike.
Charles is finishing up his internship as our Creative Writing Intern in Ypsilanti, where he oversaw our three drop-in writing programs at the Ypsi District Libraries. He created a devout following of young writers at these programs and is directly responsible for inspiring the amazing writing in two of our newest chapbooks: Training a Shark and The Fog was Geemy. Charles has also jumped in to help with nearly all of our other programs this spring while we have been light on volunteers. Charles exudes thoughtfulness, wisdom, and calm and puts students at ease while they explore new frontiers of writing. When asked about Charles, D’Real simply said, he is a “phenomenal being.” The rest of the staff commented on their desire to hug him.
ON TOP OF ALL THIS, Krystal and Charles were crucial to the success of our three Ypsilanti Family Write Nights this spring. Often when we are in a crunch, we call on the Elliotts, and they never fail to come to the rescue. They both are members of our 826michigan Ambassadors committee, staunch supporters of Board Game Night, tireless cheerleaders of our work, and truly a pleasure to be around.
Krystal and Charles, we cannot thank you enough for all that you do and for coincidentally sharing a last name!