826LA Volunteer Handbook

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CONTENTS ABOUT 826LA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

ONLINE www.826LA.org www.826national.org

WE’RE SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


TUTORING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR ME?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


After-School Tutoring (AST)............................................................9 Tuesday/Thursday Night Tutoring (TNT) ....................................13


IN–SCHOOLS PROGRAMS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 FIELD TRIPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Jennie Najarro Jennie@826LA.org

WORKSHOPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


Echo Park Phone (213) 413-3388 / Fax (213) 413-3383 Parking is available on side streets, and metered parking is available behind the building. Please read all parking signs! Mar Vista Phone (310) 915-0200 / Fax (310) 915-0600 Parking is available one block north of Venice Blvd. on McCune Ave. Please read all parking signs!


Weekend Workshops..........................................................................28 Barnacle’s Bookworms......................................................................30 Journalism Workshop........................................................................32

SUMMER PROGRAMS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 VOLUNTEERING TIPS AND GUIDELINES


Tips for Working with Younger Students......................................37 Tips for Working with Multiple Students......................................37 Avoid the Following Behavior.........................................................38 Dress Code..........................................................................................40 Emails..................................................................................................40 Staying Connected.............................................................................40

GENERAL FAQ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 OTHER WAYS TO GET INVOLVED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 FINAL THOUGHTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 826LA STAFF DIRECTORY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49


ABOUT 826LA 826LA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind, we provide after-school and evening tutoring, weekend and evening Workshops, bookmaking field trips in our writing labs, in-school support for teachers, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. Since we opened in 2005, 826LA has served over 48,000 students in Los Angeles, through completely free writing and tutoring programs in our writing labs and in schools all around the city. We work hard to bring our inspiring, creative, and educational programs to thousands of students each year, and we hope to make a lifelong impact. Don’t take our word for it. Katherine, a 10-year-old tutoring student, says “826LA helps you learn. They help you read and write. They help you become a better you.” Sound good? We can’t do it without your help! WHO WE SERVE As an organization, 826LA aims to provide our educational services to under-resourced schools, teachers, and students in Los Angeles. A FEW DETAILS

Tutoring: Students in After-School Tutoring and Tuesday & Thursday Night Tutoring must qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school. In-Schools: 100% of the schools we work with have a free or reduced-price lunch percentage of 51 or higher. Field Trips: We prioritize schools that have a free or reduced-price lunch percentage of 51 or higher.


WE’RE SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. You were born to volunteer, and no one is more qualified than you, even if the idea of a third-grader with a book report due tomorrow makes your palms sweat. You’ll do great. You’ve been there. You were once a third-grader with a book report due, and you’ll know what to do. And we think you’ll enjoy it. Our lovely, dedicated, incredibly helpful volunteers are here because they make a real difference, and because they have fun in the process. We hope you will, too. If you’re nervous, don’t be. Even if you’ve never done this before, you’re about to become an expert. This handbook will walk you through the way we work, introduce our basic principles, and offer some tips for tackling the issues that come up a lot. Afterwards, if you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them. We want you to have a great volunteering experience with us, and we want you to tell your family and friends about how much you love coming here. If you ever have feedback or suggestions about our volunteer program, please let us know. We also want you to be as prepared to volunteer as possible. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more confident you feel, the more fun you’ll have. The more fun you have, the more often you’ll volunteer. And that’s what we want! To help you feel prepared, we ask that you read this handbook in its entirety. (Hey, it’s a good excuse to cozy up at a coffee shop with a drink and a pastry!) We ask that you come to us if you ever have questions or don’t understand how to do something. We’re here to help you.


We also encourage you to attend our supplemental volunteer trainings throughout the year. We work with professionals to develop trainings that will help you become a better volunteer, which will make you feel more prepared, which will make you feel more confident... you know the drill. Finally, check out our online Volunteer Resource Portal at 826LA.ORG/VP, where you can find information, guidelines, and resources you’ll need as an 826LA volunteer. We highly recommend looking through the portal to better equip yourself on your volunteering journey with us! So let’s get started. That book report isn’t going to write itself, and a table of third-graders is waiting for your attention. They’re in good hands and so are you. Go volunteer!

WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR ME? AT 826LA, WE FIRMLY BELIEVE TWO THINGS: 1) Learning should be fun. 2) Getting started as a volunteer should be easy. As a new volunteer, you might be wondering where to begin. The answer is simple: just start. Take the plunge and sign up for a project, and we’ll make sure you’ve got everything you need. And if that answer isn’t satisfying, perhaps a short quiz will be the ticket. Take a few minutes, answer the questions below, and find out which program is right for you. 1. MY FAVORITE SNACK IS:

a. Apples b. Jelly Beans c. Smarties d. Gummi Bears


a. Visit someplace that feels like home b. Try something new c. Learn a new skill d. Volcano! (It’s a verb.)


a. My childhood pet b. Horse c. Owl d. Quizzy, the half–giraffe, half–shark


a. In the afternoon, maybe some evenings b. All day, though I prefer to wrap things up by the early afternoon c. Weeknights and weekends, definitely d. Mornings! Late ones!





You are dependable and like routine. We bet you’ll like after–school tutoring (AST) or Tuesday/Thursday night tutoring (TNT), too. (Turn to page 8) MOSTLY B’S

You’re always up for adventure and like variety. Why not try an in–school project? (Turn to page 18) MOSTLY C’S

You love teaching and learning. Workshops it is! (Turn to page 25) MOSTLY D’S

You’re a madcap one, aren’t you? And maybe your attention tends to wander a little bit? You’d probably enjoy the fast-paced and stimulating world of field trips. (Turn to page 22) We’ve designed all of our projects to make volunteering simple and flexible. You may want to try a few different programs to get a feel for what you like. Keep reading to find out how you can help and who to contact if you have questions!


Mar Vista Rebecca Escoto Rebecca@826LA.org Echo Park Cynthia Aguilar Cynthia@826LA.org


Monday through Thursday 3–6 PM in Mar Vista and Echo Park *Students arrive at 3:30pm PROGRAM LOCATION

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location)

THE BASICS The AST program is a supplemental education program designed to assist students with their homework and study skills, as well as to give them blocked out, intensive time to focus on reading and writing. Students publish chapbooks of their work each year. Students sit at tables with their peers, and receive assistance from volunteer tutors. Our goal in AST is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning, not just for tomorrow’s test. AST takes place Monday through Thursday in Mar Vista and Echo Park, and serves students from 1st–6th grade who attend nearby schools. We follow the LAUSD annual calendar and host roughly 25 students per session on each side of town. Students are enrolled two days per week, and are on either a Monday/Wednesday track or Tuesday/Thursday track. We need 15 volunteers every afternoon in Mar Vista and Echo Park for After-School Tutoring. 8


WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN AST Volunteers will assist students with homework, reading, and writing. Our ideal ratio is two students to one volunteer, but the realities of our program sometimes result in a higher ratio. This means that another responsibility of AST volunteers is small group management, which includes prioritizing students’ needs, asking students to work independently when they are able to, keeping the noise down at their table, and encouraging each student throughout the day. Volunteers are supported at all times and guided through the different components of tutoring by the Program Coordinator, the staff member or intern managing the room during tutoring that day.

AST SESSION BREAKDOWN 3-3:30 PM: VOLUNTEERS ARRIVE FOR BRIEFING, Q&A This is a time for us to gather together and make sure we are ready for the students. After a quick ice breaker and introductions, we’ll provide an overview of the ground rules and the day’s schedule, agenda and goals. This will also include upcoming deadlines, important dates, and events at both 826LA and the surrounding schools. Once we’ve wrapped up the overview, we’ll have a Q+A session. We want to help you feel prepared for the programs, so please do ask any and all questions you might have. We are here to support you in the best way we can. We’ll then break out and, as a team, set up the student tables with sharpened pencils, erasers, a fresh supply of paper, and any other materials we may need for the day. You will then sit at one of the tables, and read a book as the students enter the space. You are, of course, modeling what it means to be the best student in the room!

3:30-3:50 PM: READING TIME After signing in and getting their binders, students will pick up their books. When they finish their book, students have the option to write a book review. Students read for 20 minutes independently or with a tutor (depending on how many tutors we have that day). Students can read at their seat, on one of the reading couches or in the library area.

snacks/meals at this time.

4-4:30 PM: WRITE ON! Our group writing time—feel free to participate! At this time you will encourage students along as they tackle the writing prompt of the day. For a detailed breakdown of the Write On process, please see “More About Our Writing Cycles in AST” in this handbook. During the last 5-10 minutes of Write On, students share what they wrote. Sometimes this means sharing out loud with a partner, or with the whole writing lab.

4:30-5:30 PM: HOMEWORK TIME Students will work on their homework with your help. If a student finishes early, they can do any of the following activities: read their book for 20 minutes, complete a reading log in their binder, complete a Common Core worksheet, write in their journal, and/or practice vocabulary/math flash cards. When your students finish their homework, you will fill out a Homework Ticket for them. This ticket will go home with them to inform their parents about the work they accomplished in AST. If a student didn’t finish all their homework, then you will still fill out a Homework Ticket so their parents have an understanding of what they still need to complete at home. At 5:30, students will put their homework and homework tickets in their backpack and will return their writing binders.

5:30-5:50 PM: DECOMPRESSION TIME During the last portion of the day, students will get to decompress after a full day of learning! Activities are fun and educational and will vary. Possible activities include: board games, coloring pages, whiteboards, puzzles, drawing, Tai Chi in the back patio, hula hoops and jump ropes in the back patio, treasure hunts, group games, and arts & crafts. If you’re interested in leading an arts & crafts activity, tell the Program Coordinator. Some students may prefer to work on homework during this time, and that’s great! There will be designated tables for students still working on homework.

5:50-6 PM: CLEAN UP TIME Help students as they put their Decompression Time activities away, and put away any materials they may have borrowed or used.

3:50-4 PM: SNACK TIME Students will enjoy a snack provided by 826LA. Students may also eat their own 10


MORE ABOUT OUR WRITING CYCLE IN AST Step 1– Brainstorming Students will brainstorm in response to particular prompt, subject, or series of questions. Volunteers will model brainstorming while helping students write their ideas down. During this step, volunteers should also help students when they get stuck by asking the student questions to get their ideas flowing. A successful day of brainstorming is accomplished when students have an idea which they are excited to write about during the next session. Step 2 – GO (Graphic Organizing) Students will use a graphic organizer, which will be provided by the Program Coordinator. They will use this to plan, organize, and outline the ideas they brainstormed. Volunteers will help students understand the graphic organizer and transfer their ideas onto it. A successful day of graphic organizing is accomplished when students have organized and planned their ideas. Step 3 – Drafting Students will refer back to their graphic organizer and use it to begin drafting their piece. Volunteers should model writing and help students get ideas onto paper, keeping in mind the particular form of writing the student is doing. When you the volunteer model writing for students, you make it clear what students should be doing, and prevent students from delaying writing by talking with you or other people at the table. Students may make many mistakes. This is alright! A successful day of drafting is accomplished when a student has written down their ideas, in their voice, regardless of any typographical or grammatical errors. Step 4­– Revising With a volunteer, students will review a draft and identify what can be added, improved or changed. Students will also receive a revision checklist which will help to guide the kinds of revisions they can make, which can include but is not limited to any of the following: editing the title, fixing misspellings and punctuation, embellishing the piece with figurative language. You will help students identify areas of growth in their pieces, while being especially supportive and encouraging. A successful day of revising is accomplished when a student has focused on and completed one to two types of edits that will greatly enhance their piece.



Mar Vista Rebecca Escoto Rebecca@826LA.org Echo Park Pedro Estrada Pedro@826LA.org


Tuesday and Thursday 6:30–8:30 PM in Echo Park and Mar Vista PROGRAM LOCATION

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location) THE BASICS The TNT program is designed to assist middle and high school students with their writing, homework, and overall learning while providing a welcoming and friendly community. Our aim is not homework completion. Rather, we want students to learn studying and problem-solving skills that they can use and put into practice on their own. Our goal in TNT is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning, not just for tomorrow’s test. We are a writing and tutoring organization, and because we view writing as an integral part of our mission, all students must participate in focused writing every session. Our goal is to help students appreciate writing and to view it as one of many forms in which they can express and share their ideas with others. On both sides of town, we publish chapbooks of their writing. TNT follows the LAUSD annual calendar and hosts an average of 25 students per day. The program serves students from grades 6–12 who attend nearby schools. We need 15 volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday night in Mar Vista and Echo Park for TNT.


WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN TNT Volunteers will assist students with homework, reading, and writing. Ideally, two volunteers will sit at a table of four to six students, but the realities of our program sometimes results in higher or lower volunteer-to-student ratios. This means that another responsibility of TNT volunteers is small group management which includes the following: prioritizing students’ needs and homework assignments, asking students to work independently when they are able to, keeping the noise down at their table, and encouraging each student throughout the session. Volunteers are essential in ensuring that students are engaged and on task. Because students may also have homework for a variety of classes, and some volunteers may feel better helping in humanities subjects over math and science (or vice versa), let the Program Coordinator know so they can pair you up accordingly. The structure of TNT may vary slightly between Mar Vista and Echo Park, but both sides of town focus on two main areas: homework and writing.

TNT SESSION BREAKDOWN – MAR VISTA Homework Time (6:30–8:10 PM): The primary part of the day for TNT is spent doing homework. Students are encouraged to prioritize their homework. This includes working on their most challenging and/or time sensitive homework first. As a volunteer, one of your jobs is to help prioritize which assignments should be tackled first. Writing Time (8:10–8:25 PM): All students put aside whatever they are working on and create space for focused writing. At the beginning of the writing portion of each day, the Program Coordinator will introduce the writing prompt of the week. Students will spend multiple days brainstorming, writing, and revising a single piece based on a writing prompt. Volunteers can help students by helping them brainstorm, especially these students who are struggling with generating ideas, and support students by validating their ideas and encouraging them. Clean Up (8:25–8:30 PM): After Writing Time, students will clean up, gather their belongings, and sign out on the roster. If you have any questions or concerns, this is the best time to address them with the Program Coordinator.

TNT SESSION BREAKDOWN – ECHO PARK Sign In and Homework Time Round 1 (6:30–7:15 PM): During this time the Program Coordinator begins checking in with each student to find out what homework/projects they will be working on and pairing them up with volunteers. We recommend volunteers ask the student they’re paired with what they need to work on and what homework they need the most help with at the beginning. Write On and Announcements (7:15–7:35 PM): Students are asked to set aside whatever they have been working on and focus on writing. This is not optional; all students are required to participate in Write On. The Program Coordinator will go over the writing prompts before students begin working on their writing. We ask volunteers to remind students to set aside their homework and focus on the task at hand.



Homework Time Round 2 (7:35–8:30 PM): Some students finish their homework early, and volunteers should check in with them to make sure they understand the material by asking them questions related to their assignments or giving them a few practice problems. We recommend that volunteers start by asking the student they’re paired with what they need to work on and what homework they need the most help with. FAQ ABOUT AST AND TNT Q: What makes a good Tutoring volunteer? The ideal Tutoring volunteer is flexible, friendly, patient, engaged, clear in directions to students, communicative with staff about challenges and successes, and willing to take direction from the Program Coordinator. Q: What do I do when my student is done with their homework? Congratulations! You’ve successfully helped a student through one of the most intimidating parts of their day. This is the perfect time for you to fill out their 826LA homework logs, make any notes, and check their homework. Now, it’s back to the writing. They can continue working on their writing prompt response for the week. If they’ve completed that, then they can spend some time revising it and completing a final draft. Once they’ve finished their writing, then they can move onto reading. You can either help this student by reading alongside them, or you can turn your attention to one of the other students at your table, who may still need your guidance. Sometimes older students come to tutoring with their homework already finished. That’s good, and less work for you, but you should still ask students to take out their homework so you can go over it with them to make sure things are correct and they understand it all. For the remainder of the time, students can read independently or can take time to study for one of their classes. They should not be talking with friends, going on their phone, using a laptop, distracting other students, or walking around. If they are, remind them to stay in their seats and focus on reading and/or writing. Call over the Program Coordinator if you have any issues.


Q: What do I do if everyone wants my attention at the same time? This happens from time to time. The best thing to do is to let them know that you can’t be everywhere at once, but that you will get to each of them. Decide an order that you’ll be using, letting students know when you will be turning your attention to them so they know when to expect your help, and ask them to do a piece of easier homework or read while they wait. You can also ask older students to help younger students, or two students from the same class to work together. Even though this situation may be stressful, remember that asking students to work independently (or to try everything they can think of to solve a problem while they wait for you) will help them develop valuable study habits. Q: What should I do while my student/table is writing? Students will write silently, and volunteers should write alongside them. This makes for a quiet room in which everyone is writing intensively, and it also yields longer pieces from all students. Modeling quiet and focused writing for students makes clear what students should be doing, and prevents distractions. Because the students will be writing without the assistance of volunteers, students may make many mistakes. We cannot say it enough: this is alright. There will be time to revise and edit later. The point of this exercise is to make the process of having an idea and writing it down more efficient, and to help students express their thoughts in a safe, non–threatening environment. Students should be encouraged to write continuously. Q: What if I don’t know how to do an assignment, or don’t understand their homework? If you ever get stuck or don’t know the answer to a student’s question, don’t worry! It’s ok to admit to the student that you don’t immediately know how to solve the problem, but that you want to help them find the solution. It is best to model good study skills for students by leading them to look up an answer in a book, search online, or ask a fellow volunteer for help. Sometimes, you can even ask another student who may have received the same lesson in school that day.


Q: Do students have a dedicated reading time in TNT? Our goal with our writing and tutoring program is to help students with writing and homework. However, we believe that reading is also an important and necessary skill for students to develop and improve along with their writing. Although we do not have a dedicated reading time in TNT, if a student finishes their homework early (or comes in without any homework), then we ask students to read a book. If a student has read a book for at least 20 minutes, and has worked on their writing, we ask students to find another productive task if they do not want to continue reading. Q: What do I do if my student won’t talk to me and won’t do their homework? This is a tough one. For the most part, our students love and respect our volunteers (even the new ones!) and can’t wait to chat with them. But from time to time, a student will be withdrawn or resistant. Remember that this probably has nothing to do with you. Most of the time, it’s about something that happened outside of our spaces. The best thing to do is pull over a staff member. Sometimes we have information that our volunteers don’t, and we can help contextualize the student’s behavior. If a student doesn’t want to work, then you can try different ways of motivating them, like asking them to do one page of homework and then playing tic-tac-toe as a reward, or starting with a piece of homework that they find enjoyable. But ultimately, the students have two choices: to participate or to go home. We ask that you pull over a staff member to handle situations like these. In addition, while our students in TNT are older, self-sufficient people who might prefer to work independently, you should check in and ask the students questions regularly to ensure comprehension and accuracy. Q: What if my student doesn’t want to write? First, there may be a few different underlying and overlapping reasons why a student doesn’t want to write. When you encounter this situation, it’s time to get curious and better understand why. It could be that the students either don’t understand or enjoy the writing prompts. If a student does not find the provided prompts interesting or is having a hard time getting 18

inspired, volunteers can work with the student to find a new topic to write about. We also encourage students to take a few minutes at the beginning to brainstorm and talk about their ideas with other students and volunteers at their table if they don’t know what to write about. This is when you can help them better understand and relate to the prompt by breaking the questions down and clarifying terms. Q: What if my student doesn’t finish their homework? Remember: this is not a homework completion program. It is a homework assistance program aimed at helping students become self-sustaining and invested in their own educational success. Our focus is to help students understand the material they are learning in school and practice study skills so they are able to complete homework on their own. Q: What should I do if my student starts crying? If it seems like it’s over something small, you can comfort the student by offering to get them a cup of water or asking what’s wrong. If you feel unsure of what to do, please call over a staff member. Regardless of how it goes the rest of the day, please check in with us so that we know how the student is doing. Sometimes there’s a bigger picture that we can fit this particular instance into. Q: What’s some general advice for working with youth? Recognize that most of them just want to be treated with respect, listened to, and valued. Young people are usually smarter than most adults give them credit for, and you should try to avoid talking down to them. If you get stuck, try to think of a different way to explain something, or ask a staff member for help. Q: Do students and parents have an orientation? Do they have a behavior contract? Yes. All students and parents must attend a family orientation before starting tutoring. Students also sign the code of conduct, which we call the “Things Upon Which We Agree.” It is mounted in the writing labs. Feel free to refer to it as often as necessary!


Q: What do I do if a student uses offensive/inappropriate language? If a student swears or says something offensive or inappropriate, react by saying something like, “That word is inappropriate to use here,” “That is not what that word means,” or “That word is hurtful to me.” Ask them about the word, where they heard it and why they used it. Excuse yourself and talk to the Program Coordinator, letting them know what was said and how you reacted. We’ll take it from there. Q: What do I do if a student says something that raises a red flag? In rare circumstances, a student may mention something to you or write about something that sends up a red flag. If you are ever concerned about anything, no matter how big or small, please come to a staff member immediately.


Writers’ Room at Roosevelt High School Angelica Butiu-Coronado Angelica@826LA.org Westside and South LA schools LaTesha Adolphus LaTesha@826LA.org Writers’ Room at Manual Arts High School T Sarmina Tsarmina@826LA.org PROGRAM DAY AND TIME

Monday through Thursday 8 AM–3 PM in 50– to 90–minute class periods (You are welcome to stay for as many periods as you’d like!) PROGRAM LOCATION

Middle schools and high schools throughout Los Angeles THE BASICS 826LA’s In-Schools program support students and teachers on important writing projects in the classrooms of traditionally under-resourced schools and communities. With large class sizes throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, 826LA volunteers provide much needed one-onone support for students, and help classroom teachers ensure that students receive the help they need to complete challenging writing assignments. We work in many different areas and with many different schools around the city, including: Baldwin Village: Dorsey High School Boyle Heights: Roosevelt High School Mar Vista: Venice High School, Mark Twain Middle School, Phoenix High School 20


South LA: Foshay Learning Center, Manual Arts High School Venice: Ánimo Venice Charter High School Watts: Ánimo Locke Academy High School West LA: University High School Please note: 826LA doesn’t provide transportation to the school sites, but carpools are possible. Maps and parking information are always provided to volunteers. Important: As required by LAUSD, all In-Schools volunteers must have a TB test letter of clearance on file with 826LA before volunteering in a school. If you’ve had a test done in the last four years, you’ll just need to have your doctor send the letter of clearance to 826LA. For more information about 826LA’s TB testing requirement, please visit 826LA.org/ TBinstructions. WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN IN–SCHOOLS As an In-Schools volunteer, you’ll spend time in high school classrooms throughout the city of Los Angeles. You’ll be responsible for working one–on–one with students on writing projects ranging from personal statements to essays on Catcher in the Rye and personal beliefs, and everything in between. You are there to support students in understanding the writing prompt and to encourage their ideas. It’s a lot of “That’s a really interesting idea, can you tell me more?” and “That’s a great thought; write that sentence down!” 826LA will always prepare you with goals for the day along with information about the writing project, the prompts, and advice on how to work with students on each particular project. Once you’re signed up for a project, the night before we’ll send you an email with all the relevant information you’ll need to know about the in-school session, including the date and time of the project, the school’s address and a map of the school’s location, information about how to check in and get a visitor’s pass, where to meet with the 826LA coordinator and other volunteers, and contact information for reaching the 826LA coordinator the day of the project. You can also reply to the email in order to communicate with the coordinator of the project about any last-minute questions or concerns you might have. Want more information about what you can do in the classroom? Examples of our many In-Schools projects follow.


LONG–TERM PROJECTS These projects are composed of weekly sessions that span two to three months of the school year. Personal Statements These projects happen in high school classrooms throughout the city. We work with seniors in the fall and with groups of juniors and sophomores in the spring. Volunteers help students compose personal statement essays that they will use to apply to college. These projects are especially meaningful in a landscape where the majority of students we work with are attending schools with one (or even no) college counselor, and are often the first in their family to attend college. Young Authors’ Book Project (aka the YABP) This project takes place at a different partner school each year, and is the biggest in-school project we do. Over the course of about three months, volunteers work with students through multiple revisions of a theme-based piece. These pieces are compiled into a professional publication, under the guidance of a student-and-volunteer-led editorial board. The book is published and sold in bookstores and online. This is a chance for in-school volunteers to work with students through all aspects of the writing process and get to know them over an extended period of time. MEDIUM–TERM PROJECTS These projects are composed of weekly sessions that span one to two months of the school year. Chapbooks These projects focus on writing and publishing. With the support of volunteers, students write prose and/or poetry reflecting on a particular literary theme in the teacher’s curriculum. Volunteers help students brainstorm, flesh out ideas, and develop their pieces from beginning to end. At the end of each four-week project, we compile student work and publish an anthology.



SHORT–TERM PROJECTS Throughout the year, you also have opportunities to work on shorter In-Schools projects. These projects are composed of three or fewer sessions, and require less of a time commitment from volunteers. Generally, these projects focus on supporting students with various types of essay writing.


Mar Vista Mike Dunbar Mike@826LA.org

Echo Park Cathy Mayer Cathy@826LA.org PROGRAM DAY AND TIME

Monday through Thursday 9:30 AM–12:30 PM in Echo Park 10:30 AM–1:30 PM in Mar Vista PROGRAM LOCATION

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location) THE BASICS Up to four days a week, we welcome an entire class of students into our writing lab for a morning of high-energy learning, creative writing, and individualized book publishing. We have many different types of Field Trips (including personal statements, memoir writing, screenwriting, and small group storytelling), and details about our three most common Field Trips are below.

Storytelling and Bookmaking

In this, our most popular field trip, students must bring forth their best writing to appease our (volunteer-played) Professor Barnacle, our unseen, time-traveling publisher who is figuratively (and sometimes literally) stuck in the past. Students will work with our volunteer Storyteller, Typist, Illustrator, and Brainstormer on a collaborative story that will prove to Professor Barnacle once and for all that new stories are just as powerful as tales of old. Together with volunteers, students will create an original set of characters, 24


setting, and plot, which will fill three typed pages up to a cliffhanger. Students then finish the story by writing their very own unique endings. Should these all-new endings win over Professor Barnacle, all students will get the Barnacle Stamp of Approval, as well as leave with a bound and illustrated book to take home. We need 4–6 volunteers for this Field Trip. If you enjoy zany characters, crazy plot lines, and working in large groups with younger students, then Storytelling and Bookmaking is for you!

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure (CYOA)

This Field Trip is an action-packed thriller that sends students and volunteers home with a fully functional 13-page Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. Led by our volunteer Storytellers, students are introduced to the ChooseYour-Own-Adventure genre and its unique storytelling style. Volunteer Typists help students brainstorm plot points and story structure, and transcribe the stories on our laptops. Students begin their very own adventure by writing the first page as a class, but stop when the second-person protagonist has a decision to make. At that point, the class splits into two groups, each led by one of our volunteer Typists, and each writes a branch of the story. As more choices present themselves and storylines come to an end, the groups re-split and re-merge. The volunteer Formatter/Editor collects and arranges the stories into a book and reads through everything with an editorial eye. Every student ends the Field Trip by individually finishing the last four unresolved story branches, and everyone takes home a copy of the adventure! We need 5–10 volunteers for this Field Trip. If you enjoy dynamic adventures, present tense and 2nd person, and working in small groups with older students, turn to page 38. (Kidding, just sign up for a CYOA field trip.)

Well–Wishing and Poetry Writing (MAR VISTA)

During this Field Trip, the students find out that Professor Barnacle’s beloved pet animal is feeling down, and are urged to write a book of poetry in order to help it feel better. Led by our volunteer Storyteller, the students review different characteristics of a poem and poetic techniques such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, sensory details, and personification. With the help of volunteer Scribes, who work with small groups of students to help with brainstorming, poetry writing, and transcribing, the students will write three poems: a list poem written together by the entire class, an ode written together in small groups, and finally a narrative poem the students write 26

individually. The volunteer Formatter/Editor collects and transcribes the poems into a book template and reads through everything with an editorial eye. At the end of the day they will read aloud from their newly-published book of poetry that they get to take home. (You’ll get a copy too!) We need 4–10 volunteers for this field trip. If you enjoy alliteration and onomatopoeia, helping animals, and working in small groups with late elementary students, get involved with this poetic powerhouse!” We need 4–10 volunteers for this Field Trip. If you enjoy alliteration and onomatopoeia, helping animals, and working in small groups with late elementary students, get involved with this poetic powerhouse!

Poetry and the Time Travel Machine (ECHO PARK) Students will travel through space and time through poetry. Professor Barnacle’s time travel machine is broken, and they are inconsolable. Students will learn poetic techniques like personification and sensory details in order to write poetry that has the power to send Professor Barnacle to past and future eras. Students will work in small groups with our volunteers to write two collaborative poems focusing on the past and the future and one individual poem centered around the here and the now. At the end of the Field Trip, each student will leave as published poets, taking home their own poetry collection. We need 4–10 volunteers for this Field Trip. If you enjoy alliteration and onomatopoeia, time travel, and working in small groups with late elementary students, get involved with this poetic adventure!


(Recommended for grades 9–12) In this Field Trip, designed with the help of a professional screenwriter, students work in small groups on a script written for stage or screen while learning to craft scenes and write engaging dialogue. Students will leave with a bound script, published and ready to send right off to Hollywood. You will introduce students to the art of writing for the screen. Working with a small group, you will guide them as they come up with original characters, a setting, and conflict. Together, they’ll write three scenes to tell a story. Students spend time learning about dialogue and action, the arc of a well-constructed story, and crafting characters around what they say and how they appear on the screen. They then have a chance to practice a table read as they make edits to the dialogue based on workshopping it with each 27

other. After the screenplay is complete, students pitch their ideas to the class and take home a published copy of their script. We need about 6-10 volunteers for this Field Trip.


MORE INFORMATION If you’re interested in learning more about any of the roles available to you as a Field Trip volunteer, just ask the Program Coordinator for volunteer guides. The guides go into a lot of detail about all of the roles for our three most popular field trips, and will set you up to be the Storyteller, a Barnacle, and everything in-between!

Mar Vista and the Hammer Russel Altamirano Russel@826LA.org Echo Park and the Broad Pedro Estrada Pedro@826LA.org


Saturdays, generally 12:30-2 PM Sundays, generally 11:00 AM-1 PM PROGRAM LOCATION

Saturday Workshops: At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location) Sunday Workshops: At the Hammer Museum in Westwood THE BASICS On weekend afternoons, groups of 12–20 students embark on writingcentric, project-based learning activities. The subject matter varies from workshop to workshop, but the emphasis on creative writing is consistent in each Workshop. The final product is usually, but not always, written. Students have produced stories of all sorts: TV show segments, mimed performances, and toothpick bridges. The workshops are usually just a single two-hour session, but some are multi-session. Over the summer, we may do a longer multi-session Saturday afternoon series. WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO AT WEEKEND WORKSHOPS You help foster a fun, productive atmosphere. You’ll discuss with students (by mostly asking questions, of course!) to help get their ideas flowing. When they’re feeling stuck, you’ll get their spirits up by reminding them of 28


all the great things they’ve done so far. More often than not, you’ll add to the atmosphere by participating in many of the activities yourself. A Typical Day at a Weekend Workshop Before the Workshop actually starts, the Workshop leader will go over the plan for the day. If there are any special instructions, we’ll let you know then. Once the clock hits the start time, students will trickle in. For this time period, we have what’s called a slow start: a relatively relaxed activity that’ll help the students get acclimated and meet other students and tutors. Throughout the entire session, the Workshop leader will direct the group in activities (usually 10–20 minutes long) that will culminate in the final Workshop product; it’s your job to help students follow along.

students sign-up via our Workshops calendar.


Saturdays, 10-11:30 AM PROGRAM LOCATION

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location) THE BASICS

FAQS ABOUT WEEKEND WORKSHOPS Q: What if I want to lead a Workshop? You should talk to the Program Coordinator, and attend a “Workshop on (Leading) Workshops,” where we help you transform your idea into an actual workable lesson. Q: What makes an ideal weekend Workshop volunteer? Timely, attentive and responsive, and a role model. Workshops are generally pretty fast-paced, so missing the pre-Workshop briefing (or worse, being late) can leave you confused about what’s going on. Catching you up will often fall to the Workshop leader, and that takes attention and energy away from the students we’re here for. You’ll usually be working with a few different students whom you’ll probably have just met (there are many Workshop regulars, but still, there are many new students most times), so your attention to student needs and learning styles, and your ability to respond to them, will go a long way. Lastly (and this is true of most 826LA programs), playing the role of the ideal student will go a long way. You are, of course, definitely there as a tutor. But set a good example. Pay attention to the Workshop leader and help others to do so. Ask questions that move discussions, big and small, along. Jump into Workshop activities with gusto—your demonstration of curiosity and enthusiasm will help brighten their attitudes and enrich the Workshop. Q: What are the student demographics for weekend Workshops? The student age range varies depending on the Workshop, but most are designed for elementary and middle school students (aka 8- to 12-year-olds). Some students attend our After-School Tutoring program, while other 30

Barnacle’s Bookworms is a Saturday morning reading-focused Workshop, where 15–20 elementary school students receive one-on-one reading support. Adult reading buddies (you!) help them build their literacy skills and their love of reading. Because we only bring on new students when we have a committed volunteer to pair them up with (and vice-versa), please email the Program Coordinator for more information about getting started. WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN BARNACLE’S BOOKWORMS More than anything, volunteers show students how to be good readers. Students will do most of the reading, and volunteers will help build and reinforce habits such as looking for and correcting reading mistakes and actively engaging with the text via questions, predictions, inferences, etc. A Typical Morning in Barnacle’s Bookworms: Most of your day will be spent working with students as they read. We don’t expect kids to read the entire time; you’ll help break things up with activities that reinforce their reading. (You’ll learn about these activities during your Barnacle’s Bookworms training.) Usually, there will be one large group activity that everyone will do together (or at least in parallel). “Getting to see Bruno’s progress over the past seven months—in his reading ability and also in his overall confidence—has been such a fulfilling experience. On top of that, to think that I may have played even a small part in his discovery that books and reading, and even writing, can be fun—it’s...I have no words...” —Erika, 826LA Workshops volunteer


FAQ ABOUT BARNACLE’S BOOKWORMS Q: What’s the ideal volunteer like for Barnacle’s Bookworms? Patient and positive and committed. For students who struggle with reading, things can be hard and unpleasant. Most reading buddies have days every now and then when they just don’t want to read. Positivity helps them embrace challenge rather than run from it, and patience helps you stay positive when the process is slow or frustrating. Volunteer commitment enables all of the above. Commitment helps build a strong relationship between reading buddies, and your comfort with each other helps lessen frustrations that get in the way of patience and positivity. Q: What are the student demographics for Barnacle’s Bookworms? Students are mostly in elementary school; we’re considering expanding it to older students in the future. Virtually all of them are in our after-school tutoring program. Most of our students come to the program when their parents request extra reading support, or when we notice students struggling during their time here at tutoring. Q: Do I read to them or do I just listen to them read? Both! Spend time reading to your student and hearing them read to you so they get practice both listening and reading aloud. Also remember to ask them questions about their book so you know they are understanding it. Q: What happens if I have two students? You can either work with both of them at the same time by choosing a book all three of you read and discuss or you can switch between the two students, letting one read silently while you read and discuss the book the second student is reading.


Wednesdays, 7–8:30 PM in Echo Park and Mar Vista PROGRAM LOCATION:

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location) THE BASICS Viva Mar Vista and The Good Times are our student-written newspapers that come out of 826LA in Mar Vista and in Echo Park, respectively. We meet Monday nights in Echo Park and Wednesday nights in Mar Vista and work with groups of about 10-15 students (ages 10 and up). Volunteers have the opportunity to work with a student from article inception through revision. It runs in a six-week cycle (four weeks of writing, one off-week as we create the newspaper in-house, and then the sixth week is the final session), culminating in a release party where students and volunteers alike receive a copy of the latest issue. Students also read excerpts from their article. WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN JOURNALISM Volunteers help students connect with the outside world—first, helping them better appreciate what’s going on, and after that, helping them communicate that with everyone. More specifically, volunteers help students choose newsworthy topics to write about, research their chosen topics, and craft articles to inform the public. They also help students organize their ideas onto paper and help students edit their article. Volunteers interested in greater involvement can also lead portions of the Workshop related to journalism skill development and practice. Volunteers should be available to attend all sessions in a publishing cycle. A Typical Evening in Journalism Most of your evening will be spent working directly with students. You’ll listen to their thoughts and ideas, and ask questions to guide them. When they’re feeling stuck, you’ll encourage them by reminding them of their progress thus far and where their work will ultimately go. We’ll be there to help the both of you with whatever you need, and we’ll usually start a session off with a group discussion or individual feedback (say, on an article




Mar Vista Russel Altamirano Russel@826LA.org



Mar Vista Mike Dunbar Mike@826LA.org

Echo Park Pedro Estrada Cynthia Aguilar Pedro@826LA.org Cynthia@826LA.org

Echo Park Cathy Mayer Cathy@826LA.org PROGRAM DAY, TIME, AND LOCATION:

One week in June in both Mar Vista and Echo Park THE BASICS Summer Writers Workshop is a week-long writing camp held in June for middle school and high school students and taught by guest writers and artists. They will be speaking about their experience as a writer and will be engaging students in various writing activities. This camp is perfect for students who are already interested in writing and want to work on their craft, as well as students who need extra support in their writing skills. WHAT VOLUNTEERS DO IN SUMMER WRITERS WORKSHOP Volunteers guide students through different forms of writing, with the goal of building students’ skills and confidence as writers.


July - August | Monday through Thursday Mar Vista: Morning session: 10:30am-1pm Afternoon session: 3:00pm- 5:30pm Echo Park: Morning session: 10am-12:30pm Afternoon session: 2:30pm-5pm PROGRAM LOCATION:

At 826LA, in the Writing Labs (behind the Time Travel Marts in either location)

THE BASICS Over the course of 4 weeks, students ages 6-11 will join us in the writing lab to work on their English language skills. Each week’s activities and writing will be based on certain themes, including arts and culture, nature, S.T.E.M., and the future. Students will work in small groups with amazing volunteers like you to strengthen their verbal and writing skills. 826LA provides an additional training a few weeks before Write On! Summer camp begins. The training is not required, but highly recommend. During this training, volunteers learn tips and techniques for working with



English Language Learners. We’ll discuss best practices for working with English Language Learners, break down what skills our summer campers will have, talk about small group management, work through common challenges, and look at the layout of summer camp with weekly themes and daily lesson plans. This training is open to and encouraged for all 826LA volunteers.

in progress) to nudge everyone in the right direction. Sessions often begin with a review and a short refresher on the relevant task that will take place that day and the end goal for the session. After that, volunteers will work with their students for the remainder of the session to complete their work.

FAQ ABOUT JOURNALISM Q: What if my schedule isn’t ideal? (AKA If I can do every session after the mid–point in the cycle—can I still help? or I can do most of the sessions, but every once in a while I’ll have to unexpectedly work late.) There may be opportunities to get involved if you can’t attend regularly through the majority of a journalism cycle, but it depends. We build our tutor/student groups around the schedules of the regular volunteers. It’s usually best to start a new cycle when you know your schedule works out, but if you’re really, really eager to start—ask the Program Coordinator, and there’s a possibility that something can be worked out. Q: What is the ideal Journalism volunteer like? Curious, empathetic, and committed. Your curiosity about the world around you will help you ask students the questions that readers want answered. Empathy is equally important; the perspective of these young journalists is often very different from that of adults, and the ability to understand their points of view will help you help them communicate that with the world. Lastly, your commitment will help create the best possible environment for both you and the student. Imagine how difficult it would be for you to jump in, meet a new student and try to catch up with everything they’ve already done, then help them continue in whatever direction they and their previous tutor were going in. It’s harder for them! Q: What are the student demographics for Journalism? Journalism students are typically a mix of AST and TNT students and students who partake in our Workshops. They’re late elementary and older, and generally, a little more comfortable with writing and sharing than the average 826LA student. (The thrill of publication tends to increase students’ enthusiasm, and publication is central to our Journalism Workshop.) Most students have attended this Workshop for at least a semester if not longer. Q: How many students will I work with? The ratio is usually two or three students per volunteer.



VOLUNTEERING TIPS & GUIDELINES TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUNGER STUDENTS Here are some tips to improve reading proficiency in younger children, courtesy of Karen Friedman and K&M Center, Inc. Set the stage. Use the title and illustrations to create enthusiasm. Ask the reader, “What do you think the book is going to be about?” HOW TO BUILD AUDITORY PROCESSING SKILLS Help with phonics. When students have trouble with auditory processing, they have difficulty knowing the sounds that go with each letter. Help sound out new words. For beginning readers, write down the sounds used in a story and review them before reading. When a child is stumped and starts guessing: Ask them to identify the vowel in the word and then the sound of the vowel. If the child has not mastered a sound, read it. Write the challenging word on a piece of paper. Read the vowel sound first, then the letters which come after the vowel. Then add the letter before the vowel and read the whole word. If a student gets distracted, gently redirect them and refocus his or her attention on the book. Ask questions about the topic.

TIPS FOR WORKING WITH MULTIPLE STUDENTS It is important to evaluate what each student needs; that way you can figure out who needs the most attention and who can work well on his or her own. During this conversation, you can also observe which students will need


more of your time to get them to focus. Situate yourself in the middle of the small group you are working with. Oftentimes, students are content to be working by themselves until they have a question they don’t understand or don’t know the answer to. Focus on students with questions about specific problems as they come up. If students need focused attention from you to help with the entirety of their homework, try this: let the students at your table know that you are there to help them all, but can’t be in three places at once! Set a number of problems to work on with each student, and alternate. 5 problems with Miguel, 5 problems with Eva, etc. If you do have a student who will take more of your time getting them to focus, then feel free to call over a staff member for help.

AVOID THE FOLLOWING BEHAVIOR Some of this may seem obvious, but it’s important that we be explicit about what is inappropriate behavior around the students and in our centers. Volunteers may not bring, consume, or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while volunteering for an 826LA project (on- or off-site) or while on 826LA premises. Volunteers may not bring any weapons to 826LA or to any of our off-site projects. In order to ensure our students’ safety, we require that two or more adults be present whenever student programming is in session. If at any time you find that you are the only adult in the room during tutoring, field trips, Workshops, or In-Schools projects, please notify the staff as soon as possible. Volunteers may not set up appointments or have any contact with students outside of the center (in person, by email, online, over the phone, etc.). We require that correspondence and communication between volunteers and 39

students or parents go through us.


Volunteers may not drive the students anywhere at any time or leave the premises with the students. Volunteers may not exchange email addresses or phone numbers with students, befriend students on Facebook, or contact them through other social networking sites, like Instagram, Snapchat, Xbox Live, etc. Do not follow students on any sites, and if they follow you, block them and let us know. Volunteers may not take photographs of 826LA students or their work at any time. Volunteers may not put photographs of students online. Our students look up to all of our volunteers. As a result, it is important to pay attention to what you say around them and keep conversations to kid-friendly and PG subject-matter. A good rule to follow: if you think the child’s parents would be uncomfortable if they were present, then you’re in inappropriate territory. This means no cursing and no talking about sex, drugs, or violence, unless the conversation relates directly to the work you two are doing. Also, there should be no talking about students within earshot of other students. We’ve worked hard to create a welcoming environment for our students and our volunteers. We expect everyone who enters our doors to respect the organization and one another. We trust that all of our volunteers will use their best judgment—but if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to speak to a staff member immediately. In rare circumstances, a student may mention something to you or write about something that sends up a red flag. If you are ever concerned about anything, please come to a staff member immediately, and we’ll take it from there. If you ever feel uncomfortable in a situation with a student or a volunteer, immediately speak to a staff member. By volunteering, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Volunteers at 826LA are also expected to follow the guidelines provided by 826 National. These guidelines are provided to you during the Volunteering 101 orientation.


826LA is an organization that works with children and needs to be represented as such. That said, during working hours we expect the employees, interns, and volunteers at 826LA to dress in a professional manner consistent with their responsibilities. Exposed midriffs or undergarments are examples of outfits that are inappropriate. There may also be times when you are asked to respect a school’s dress code. In those cases, a staff member will touch base with you. EMAILS Once you join the 826LA team, you’ll be getting lots of emails from us telling you all about the many, many opportunities available to you as a volunteer. But we don’t want you to be e-overwhelmed! If you’d like to unsubscribe from a particular mailing list (let’s say your work schedule changed and you can only volunteer in the mornings now), just email Jennie Najarro (Jennie@826LA.org) or Mariesa Arrañaga Kubasek (Mariesa@826LA.org) to update your preferences. Every Sunday, we send out a volunteer newsletter detailing volunteer opportunities, new programs and projects, appreciation events, special requests, and important announcements. If you only read one 826LA email a week, make it this. As soon as you know you can participate in an activity, sign up on the Projects Calendar and let us know you’re in. STAYING CONNECTED There are many ways to stay connected to 826LA and keep up with the many goings–on of our organization. If you’re into the world wide web, like and follow 826LA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@826LA) and Instagram (@826LA). We’re also always looking to connect with you outside of the volunteering environment, so stay tuned for information about our bingo brunches, potlucks, board game nights, and more! 41

GENERAL FAQS Q: I’m ready! What’s next? You’ll need to complete a DOJ and FBI Live Scan background check off– site. Live Scan results can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to get back to us, so please get it done as soon as you can. We will contact you when the results come in. You can find all necessary information at 826LA.org/livescaninstructions and 826LA.org/livescanform. If you have any questions about the Live Scan process, just ask!

rewarding (for both the students and themselves). If you want to come once a week to a program like tutoring, you’ll become a member of our Centaur Club and receive things like a permanent name-tag, invitations to parties, and more. And if you want to come more than once a week? We love your enthusiasm, but we also want you to be with us for a long time. Truth be told, we’ve found that volunteers who come more than twice a week often burn out, and that is the exact opposite of what we want. When you’re first starting out, limit your time here to once or twice a week, and within a month or so, you’ll know if you’re able to take on more. Q: What if I can’t come once a week?

Q: How do I sign up for a project? After we receive your Live Scan results, we’ll send you a welcome email containing a link to our online Projects Calendar. This is how you tell us you’re volunteering. You can sign up a day, a week, a month in advance! When you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email, as well as a reminder email 24 hours before the project.

Remember that heart–eyed emoji we mentioned in the above question? That’s how we feel about you, too. We have many projects going on— mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends—and we need lots and lots of volunteers to make them happen! So even if you can’t commit to a weekly schedule just yet, come in and check out a field trip, or tutoring, or

Q: How do I cancel for a project? So you/your kid/your dog caught a cold and you need to cancel. Bummer! Please call the Mar Vista or Echo Park center (or the Manual Arts contact), or email the person in charge of the program. Please try to give at least 24 hours notice for cancellations, so that we can try to find another volunteer to fill your place. Q: I have the morning/afternoon/evening free, should I just come in? That’s really thoughtful of you, and the answer is, most likely, yes. But just to be sure, give us a call or shoot us an email; that way we can let you know for certain. (And, remember, you can always sign up for any still-inneed-of-volunteers project on the Projects Calendar!) Q: What if I want to come once a week (or more)? You know that emoji with hearts for eyes? That’s how we feel about you, volunteer asking this question. Weekly volunteers make us swoon, sure, but they also make our programs more consistent, more stable, and more 42


an In-Schools, or a Workshop, and then whenever your schedule allows, you’ll be able to pop back in and spend a morning/afternoon/evening/weekend with us!


Q: What should I do when I arrive to volunteer? The first thing you should do when you arrive at any of our projects is to check in with the 826LA staff or intern running the show. It’s important for us to know that you’re here so that we can count you in our records and give you a run-through of the day’s activity. Then, take a few minutes and introduce yourself to your fellow volunteers and to the kids you’ll be working with that day. It’ll make the day even more productive and fun!

Q: Do I need to speak a language other than English? Nope! Though most of our students are English Language Learners (ELL) and speak another language at home, the target language at 826LA is English. In some cases, we’ll work with students who speak very little English and look for a bilingual volunteer to work one-on-one with them. If you’re interested in learning tips and techniques for working with our students, attend our yearly ELL training! Q: Are you hiring? We post any and all job opportunities on our website (826LA.org/jobs). We also offer unpaid internships each quarter, which are a great opportunity to learn more about how we operate behind-the-scenes. For more information about internships visit 826LA.org/internships. Q: What else can I do to get involved and support 826LA? So glad that you asked! Look on the next page to see the plethora of ways we can use your help!


Interested in what other ways you can support 826LA and our students? Does your roommate’s girlfriend run a local brewery that might donate beer for a volunteer celebration? Do you know a florist who might provide flowers at a discounted rate for a big event? Do you love InDesign, drawing, translating, baking, proofreading, organizing, talking to people, or sharing knowledge? There are so many ways that you can get involved– and so many ways that you can get other people involved. Folks are more willing to help out an organization when someone they know personally is invested in the cause, so your passion for 826LA’s work is a great asset! HERE ARE JUST A FEW IDEAS... • Donate to 826LA (826LA.org/donate). Donate $100 or more and you can become a Partner in Time and receive special benefits • Set up a corporate volunteering connection with your employer • Write a blog post for our website about why you volunteer • Join our Design Team to create chapbook covers and interiors • Transcribe stories for our chapbooks • Copy-edit chapbooks, annual reports, and other publications • Translate student publications and organizational outreach materials into Spanish • Help wrangle kids during Family Advisory Board meetings • Take photographs at an event or during a program • Design and produce a window display for the Time Travel Mart • Organize the libraries in our writing labs • Bring a stack of volunteer flyers to your workplace, school, or favorite coffee shop • Curate your own Time Travel Mart gift guide! Tell your friends online about your favorite student-written books and time travel supplies, and what their purchase would support • Help 826LA make vendor and sponsor connections • Coordinate a drive for school supplies at work (we always need looseleaf paper and erasers!) • Donate money to purchase snacks for kids in tutoring • Lead trainings for staff, volunteers, and interns 45

• • • • • • • • • •

Join our creative roundtable and help us create new store products Clean up our computers and make sure our software is up-to-date Represent the Time Travel Mart at store-centric events and fairs Find professional development resources for staff Offer wellness practices for staff, volunteers, and students (yoga, therapy, meditation, nutritional guidance, etc.) Revitalize our offices and writing labs with interior design, spatial organization, and decluttering Tell a local teacher about our field trips and in-school programs Ask a college professor if they’d like to send service learners to 826LA For more information on these, or any other ways to get involved, just email Jennie Najarro (Jennie@826LA.org) in Mar Vista or Mariesa Arrañaga Kubasek (Mariesa@826LA.org) in Echo Park.


FINAL THOUGHTS We need you. Yes, really. YOU. We work with over 9,500 students in Los Angeles every year, and the only way that we can continue to provide free creative writing and educational support to our kids is through the generous gift of your time. Our doors would be shut, our books closed, and our stories unwritten without your help. Whether you give your time weekly, monthly, or whenever you can, 826LA has a spot for you. We want to cultivate a community of volunteers who are prepared, enthusiastic, and committed. We want the whole city to know about us and what we do, so tell your family, friends, and the person sitting next to you at the movies. We want you to shop in our store, come to our events, and make our giant city feel just a little smaller. We want you to be supported and to be supportive. We want you to be flexible, friendly, and focused. We want you to come cheer on our kids at book release parties. We want our writing labs to be productive and fun. We want everyone to be here because they want to be here. We want to hear your ideas, your feedback, and your observations. We want to make this a home for students and adults alike, a safe space to share ideas and stories. We want you to find yourself here, in this community of creators, from all generations and walks of life. We want you to volunteer. We need you to volunteer! And, of course, we want you to have a great time working with us, so if you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let us know.



Executive Director Joel@826LA.org

We’re thrilled to have you on our team at 826LA and we hope that you find the experience as rewarding as we do. Please feel free to contact any of us at any time with any questions, concerns, or helpful ideas and suggestions.


Director of In-Schools Programs & College Access Marisa@82LA.org SHAWN SILVER

Director of Advancement & Events Shawn@826LA.org BEATRIZ GARCIA


Senior Programs Manager Mar Vista Beatriz@826LA.org L AUREN HUMPHREY

Institutional Giving Manager Lauren@826LA.org CHERYL KLEIN

Development & Communications Manager Cheryl@826LA.org MARIESA ARR AÑAGA KUBASEK

Volunteer Manager Echo Park Mariesa@826LA.org


Store Manager Carinne@826LA.org


Program Coordinator In-Schools LaTesha@826LA.org


Program Coordinator Workshops in Mar Vista Russel@826la.org CYNTHIA AGUIL AR

Program Coordinator Tutoring in Echo Park Cynthia@826LA.org REBECCA ESCOTO

Program Coordinator Tutoring in Mar Vista Rebecca@826LA.org PEDRO ESTR ADA

Program Coordinator Tutoring & Workshops in Echo Park Pedro@826LA.org CATHY MAYER

Program Coordinator Field Trips Echo Park Cathy@826LA.org JENNIE NAJARRO

Volunteer Coordinator, Mar Vista Jennie@826LA.org ANGELICA BUTIU - CORONADO

Design Manager Rachel@826LA.org

Program Coordinator Writers’ Room at Roosevelt High School Angelica@826LA.org



Program Manager Writers’ Room at Manual Arts High School Tsarmina@826LA.org MIKE DUNBAR



Senior Programs & Operations Coordinator Field Trips Mar Vista Mike@826LA.org

Marketing & Communications Coordinator AmeriCORPs VISTA Andrea@826LA.org MARICRUZ POOL- CHAN

Volunteer Coordinator in Echo Park Public Allies Maricruz@826LA.org


12515 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066

ECHO PARK W W W. 8 2 6 L A. O R G

1714 W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

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