Spy of the Month

spy of the month

Agent Name: Trini-Dad
Real Name: Ian Harris

Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?
Being selected as Spy of the Month was kinda unexpected -- it has not really sunk in yet. I didn't even know I was being considered until I was asked to take the picture, so good thing I was able to use props from the store to dress up and look a little wacky to be true to my inner Spy (Trini-Daddy). Have you seen the picture yet?

How did you first get involved at 826CHI?
I was excited when my kids Logan and Terence got into the program because I had heard about 826 before and thought it might be cool to be part of it. The first day I dropped them off, I started looking for ways to stay and become part of the action and discovered that volunteer tutors could stay. I'm sort of a big kid myself, so this was my chance to hang out and be a kid again.

What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?
I really dig the writing rallies. I always do them with the students I tutor, and we trade and read each other's stories or pieces before moving on to homework. I hope it inspires them that I'm not only asking them to travel the journey but actually doing it alongside them.

What do you do when you aren’t working undercover?
Geez, where do I begin. I've made a living in the Information Technology world, most recently as an eCommerce Product Manager building things on the "Cloud". When I turn off the computer, I like making tangible stuff like wooden things, exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about new ways to do old stuff. Believe it or not, I read more audiobooks than reading with my eyes, so I often do multiple things at the same time.

Tell us about the last audiobook you listened to and loved.
Who would have thought that Trevor Noah from Comedy Central would be a great writer as well? His subject matter of growing up during apartheid is so serious and foreign that it's hard to believe someone alive today could have lived through the experiences he communicates in his book. He diffuses danger, and paints with words in a way that makes it feel light and like I'm in the story with him.

When you've taken breaks from your work in the Cloud, what kind of wooden things have you made?
I have fond memories as a kid hanging out with my dad while he built things. As I got older, he let me help with more dangerous tools like sanding machines and drills. To this day I delight in wielding power tools with my kids. We've mostly built practical things like a boardwalk from the house to the garage and giant plant boxes for our garden, but by far the most fun thing we've built to date is a tree-fort. We go up there and hang out from time to time.

Our most elite spies always have the best codenames -- what's yours?
If I told you I'd have to kill you -- just kidding, of course. I'm Trini-Daddy, partially because I'm from a small country in the Caribbean called Trinidad, and if you haven't figured it out by reading this far, I'm a Daddy who loves being a big kid.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other aspiring spies of the month?
Have fun, be whimsical, and don't be afraid of being a little bit silly when you mentor. Smile -- it's infectious and probably the best way to get 826 kids to feel comfortable and open up.