Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?
It feels fantastic, I’m very excited to have been chosen.
How did you first get involved at 826CHI?
I actually used to be a student at 826CHI, and I had some of my favorite experiences in High School because of it. I decided to come back as a volunteer and help students in the same way I was.
What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?
The High School Writers Camp will always have a special place in my heart, and my very first time volunteering there I remember being able to work with a student one on one each day to tackle a comic they were drawing. I was really glad that I was able to help give this student the kind of help they needed to finish the amazing comic they made.
What do you do when you aren't working undercover?
I’m currently finishing up my degree in English and Animation at DePaul University, and I spend the rest of my time working at the front desk of a local preschool.
Tell me more!
It’s at the Academy of Creative Thinking. It’s a bit of a family business, I work there with my siblings and my father owns it. It’s always fun to go in in the mornings and be greeted excitedly. They’re the most excited about the world and to learn at that age, and so it’s amazing to work with them.
And how about your degree - can you talk some more about what you’re studying?
I’m just starting animation, but I’m working with storyboarding. I like to do a lot of anthropomorphic art. I like making short films that can get a good laugh. As for Creative Writing, I tend to prefer either full fantasy or creative nonfiction, total opposites. My least favorite is horror. I’m working right now on a realistic VR novel idea. The reason I got into writing was actually 826, when I was a student during my senior year at the High School Writer’s Camp. I stayed up until 2 AM finishing a short story and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. And that’s how I decided that writing was what I wanted to do.
Our top agents always have the best codenames. What’s yours?
You can call me Agent Oddfish.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring spies of the month?
When you write, have fun, because that’s the point of writing. More practical advice? Always keep a writing notebook. They’re good to have with you.
Our 826 Day event on the roof of Ace Hotel Chicago was a beautiful celebration of our community from our donors to our students and everyone in between (pictured above is 826CHI supporter TASHA’s performance). Our book P.S. You Sound Like Someone I Can Trust was available in the hotel’s suites, Ace Hotel Chicago has hosted our annual love-themed print show featuring work by local artists inspired by our students writing on love, and their Senior Sales Manager, Tenasha Wilcoxon, spoke to our students in After-School Tutoring & Writing’s Speakers & Snacks series about what it’s like to work at a hotel.
The partnership between East Village Youth Program and 826CHI is a yearly collaboration to help students achieve their goal of being accepted into their college of choice and for many to be the first in their family to attend college. This fall, 826CHI staff and 12 volunteers worked with 13 high school seniors on their personal statements for college applications. The partnership continues in the Spring when 826CHI and volunteers will return to EVYP to support students as they apply for scholarships.