Part of my year has been devoted to volunteering in a variety of contexts. First and foremost, I’ve been working with the Wednesday Wonderfuls at 826 Seattle.
826 is a non-profit that provides free after-school tutoring and conducts a variety of writing-centered workshops and field trips for kids. The spirit of 826 is fun, friendly, and quirky and there are several different branches in various cities across the US.
I was initially vaguely jealous and irritated by how many volunteers I encountered at 826 Seattle. I had never had nearly enough help as a public school teacher, so it seemed odd to join an organization that already had so many resources. But here’s the thing: 826, or more specifically, Steve the (awesome) Programs Coordinator (see rug), provides a well-organized, thoughtful, and highly structured experience for volunteers. The Wednesday team is a kind and dedicated group of people who care a great deal about their work with kids. In short, there are excellent reasons that people want to volunteer at 826: it’s fun and rewarding. I’m hoping to continue there next year.
In other news, I volunteered a (tiny) bit for SCBWI-WWA and just finished reading and critiquing as a judge for the PNWA literary contest in the YA category. I also spent a fair amount of time mentoring one of my former students as she completed her senior project (a novel of her own!). It was lovely to go back to my old school last week and see old students and staff members. I still miss those guys.
My next volunteer project will be helping the Sirens Conference folks with their Reviewer Program. I’m thrilled to be joining that team and already looking forward to the conference this fall.
So I’ve been busy, but never too busy to write. I’ve finished the first draft of my WIP(!) and am now gathering feedback for revision. And, I don’t want to jinx it, but I might also be gathering ingredients for an entirely new story. And there might be spaceships...