Spy of the Month

spy of the month

Agent Name: Vice Grip
Real Name: Jen Vincent

Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?

It feels amazing! I have enjoyed every person I’ve met at 826CHI, from staff to volunteers and the amazing students who put their words on the page so being chosen as spy of the month is a huge honor.

How did you first get involved at 826CHI?

I first visited 826CHI for a Poetry Revolt workshop and I immediately fell in love and wanted to be involved. As an educator who doesn’t live in the city, it’s hard to come after school to volunteer but the summer writing camp was a perfect opportunity for me to get involved.

What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?

As part of the middle school summer writing camp Eat Your Words, we spent a lot of time eating unique foods and writing about our experiences. It was so fun to hear the student writers’ perspectives but the highlight was our revising day when we all worked really hard on polishing up the pieces they would submit for publication. It was a magical day for sure.

What do you do when you aren't working undercover?

My kids keep me super busy! They are active in sports and in clubs at school so I pretty much follow them around and cheer when appropriate. We have a two-year-old puppy, a bearded dragon, and now a betta fish that keep me busy too. Not to mention my sports-loving husband likes to find adventures for us. When I do get some time to myself, I practice yoga, read, and write, write, write. I write picture books and young adult novels and blog regularly.

What sports and team does your family root for?

Believe it or not me, my husband, and my older son are Bears fans...but my youngest is a Packers fan! We don’t quite know what happened there except for that he went to kindergarten and lots of the kids liked the Packers so he became a Packers fan. We decided it’s cool that he loves football even if it’s the Packers he loves. We even took him Packers training camp this summer. I missed the blue and orange while we were in Green Bay though. It reminded me how much I love Chicago and the Bears!

Blogging is a great way to write! What's your blog called and about?

I have two blogs! One blog is Teach Mentor Texts and it’s about sharing books I’ve read and giving some ideas for how to use them as mentor texts. Mentor texts are anything that can be used as an example of good writing for writers. It’s fun because I get to share lots of great books and hopefully give writers some ideas for how to work on writing. My other blog is Story Exploratory where I share a variety of things that might spark some writing ideas.

Our top agents always have the best codenames. What’s yours?

Vice Grip! I specialize in grabbing hold of people with my positivity and growth mindset!

Any words of wisdom for aspiring spies of the month?

In anything you do, put your heart into it and be yourself, even if it’s goofy or nerdy or different.