David, smiling in front of a brick wall
November 21, 2019

An Interview with David Pintor, Our Volunteer Manager

826CHI is currently seeking applicants for a Volunteer Manager. This week, we sat down with beloved 826CHI Volunteer Manager and Office Dad, David Pintor, to reflect on his two years and three months at the helm of the 826CHI volunteers department. This is David's last week at 826CHI, and while it's hard to see him go, we are excited to cheer him on from the sidelines as he tackles his next mission: working with the Academic Service Learning Department at DePaul University, an 826CHI partner.

1. What brought you to 826CHI, and how long have you been here?

I feel like no one comes to 826CHI by mistake. 826CHI is a sanctuary for those looking for a supportive, mission-based nonprofit community with the right amount or transparency, advocacy and kindness. Before 826CHI, I'd been a teaching artist, performer, community mobilizer, and arts administrator, and, thus far, 826CHI has been the only place to honor my experience as a whole and validate all the skills I've acquired—that's what brought me and kept me at 826CHI these last two years and three months.

2. What's one achievement you've accomplished here that you're particularly proud of?

I was 826CHI's very first Volunteer Manager and charged with structuring and formalizing a volunteer program that would front-load our values and expectations for holding space for youth. We've gotten lots of compliments about our New Volunteer Orientation, where we cover the basics (history, program overview, how to sign up for shifts, etc...) but also guide new volunteers through activities to reflect on their communication skills, identity power dynamics, and how to be better adult allies to youth. Apparently, we're one of the few organizations with this, and while I hope others catch up, I'm proud of the work we've done to make sure the adults that come into this space know to keep it as the creative sanctuary it needs to be for our students.

3. Can you describe a favorite day you've had on the job?

Each summer, all nine 826 chapters get together in one of the chapter's cities for a Staff Development Conference. My first year it was in Chicago, and as hosts, we got to make suggestions for facilitators and speakers. I didn't fully fall in love with 826 until this conference, when I saw that they brought on speakers who other organizations would have called too radical. There was a speaker who called us out for having white people in capes hovering over POC students on our websites, a facilitator who paid youth from her own stipend to co-facilitate the breaking down of adultism and how to be a better youth advocates, and a session on restorative justice that had some in tears. Even better was how engaged everyone was and their willingness to make changes. Transformational days like these were my favorite.

4. What is something you're going to miss about 826CHI?

That 30% store discount! ...JK! That discount is nice but even nicer is the level of thought, research and care that 826CHI puts into developing programs and spaces that properly hold space for youth to be the creative selves the universe intends them to be.  

5. Do you have any advice for candidates applying to join the volunteers team at 826CHI? What disposition and expectations should this person bring to their work?

You must truly care about youth and willing to put them first in any decision that you make. Be ready to know what it feels like to be supported in nonprofit work. Be ready to keep learning and pushing the limits of your comfort for the sake of providing the best arts education possible.  Be ready to fall in love with 826CHI.

6. What’s next for David Pintor?

I'll be working in the Academic Service Learning Department with the Steans Center at DePaul University. They're actually a 826CHI partner!

Want to join our team as a Volunteer Manager? Find out more about the position & apply here.