Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?
I'm thrilled and honored! I went to the Spy Museum in D.C. once and after taking the 'test,' they said I would be hearing from Langley shortly. Well, I'm still waiting but I'm hoping they hear about this and push me up their wait list.
How did you first get involved at 826CHI?
I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius after a friend of mine quoted the snowshoe analogy in his high school graduation speech. That piqued my interest in Dave Eggers and the work he was doing, and a few years later I decided to find volunteer opportunities with 826CHI.
What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?
I just love every time I get to see the students share their work. I enjoyed the after-school tutoring when I did it but I started to discover how limited my math/science skills were. And I've always had a great time working closely with the students and their writing via the virtual tutoring.
What do you do when you aren't working undercover?
I do user experience design at Marsh (an insurance broker and risk advisor). When I'm not doing that, my friends and I have a 'mystery meal' club where every few weeks we travel around the city to discover new and different food/restaurants. To work off that food, I love to play soccer, flag football, and spikeball (and go on walks with my partner, Martha).
Have you found a restaurant that the club likes the most?
Great question. Not sure if we have a consensus yet but some favorites have been: Johnnie's Beef, Moon's, and Afghan Kebob. Somewhat related, the same group organized a pizza tour and we had Vito & Nick's for the first time. Unbelievable. Best Chicago thin crust pizza (it exists!).
What is spikeball?! It sounds interesting!
Spikeball is kind of like volleyball (but not really) except the net is on the ground. You may have seen people playing on the beach or in the park. I may have been one of them.
Our top agents always have the best codenames. What’s yours?
Rufus T. Firefly
Any words of wisdom for aspiring spies of the month?
Leak an occasional dossier - you never know who's paying attention.
But really, speaking of words of wisdom, I came across this recently and have been trying to live by it as much as possible. Adulting isn't easy!
And always find time to volunteer!
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.