What is the best strategy for surviving the robot apocalypse?
Rachel: Adopting a pet robot dog.
Lauren: Frankly I think everything will be the same except my stomach will adapt to eating nuts & bolts instead of walnuts & raisins.
Naitnaphit: A power outage.
Favorite 826 memory?
Rachel: Some of my favorite memories are when students share how much they care about their writing and its impact on others. Recently, I asked a student what he wanted to include in his author bio, and I was touched to hear that what he really wanted readers to know was how hard he had worked on his writing and how much he hoped they liked it.
Lauren: Every time a student's sibling has joined in on a virtual workshop! The beauty of virtual programming.
Naitnaphit: Walking into 826 Valencia for the first time and marveling at the pirate gear and supplies. Made me want to be a writin and rhymin pirate.
Please describe your ideal pizza.
Rachel: Fluffy crust, with tikka sauce and cheese, topped with roasted garlic, onion, red peppers, okra, and paneer.
Lauren: Bubbly crust, spicy red sauce, mushroom, black olives, fried egg, non-dairy daiya parm and (trust me on this one) lemon zest.
Naitnaphit: Detroit style, pepperoni, pineapple! (haters gonna hate)
Tell the world a little bit about your 826 volunteering so far:
Rachel: I love field trips and in-school programs! It has especially been a blast getting to work behind the scenes on the Young Authors Book Project this year. I love spending quality time with the amazing 826 staff, and it's been a joy getting to know Ms. Islam's third grade class so well.
Lauren: When I was an intern the summer of 2020, I loved designing and running a virtual workshop on food and poetry (part of 826's "Lunch Poems" series!). We met over Zoom and talked about recipes not just for food, but for ourselves, for art, for our loved ones - we imagined a tasty world, past, present, and future, at our fingertips. Then, for the past couple of months, our team has been coordinating workshops on a "book of advice" for the Young Author's Book Project. It's been so exciting to see young students write about their expertise, and/but it makes me wish even harder for the day we can write and think with classes and students in person again!
Naitnaphit: I started volunteering for 826 as an after-school tutor, and worked on some behind-the-scenes stuff. This was my first time designing curriculum and planning lessons for the Young Authors Book Project!
Naitnaphit: Easy: fennel. Wait, maybe garlic? Is lemon a spice?
What are you superstitious about?
Rachel: When I'm playing catch, I always have to end on a completion. It would definitely be bad luck to end on a drop or throwaway!
Lauren: The postcards my friends send me are good luck charms.
Naitnaphit: I can't leave basketball practice without making all my end-of-practice free throws!
Lauren: I can flip pancakes without a spatula.
Naitnaphit: I can fold fitted sheets into neat rectangles.
Rachel: Atonement by Ian McEwan.
Lauren: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich.
Naitnaphit: Of all time?! You're asking impossible questions. Okay, if I had to choose, Matilda by Roald Dahl.
What was the best Halloween costume you ever sported?
Rachel: When my friends were dressed up as Bubbles and Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls, I dressed up as Buttercup -- but I added a crown, so I could also be Princess Buttercup to my boyfriend's Westley.
Lauren: Apple tree.
Naitnaphit: My partner and I once went as Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox!
Words of wisdom to fellow and future volunteers?
Rachel: To quote one of the students I worked with this week, "Never try to outdo a grizzly bear!" In layman's terms, this roughly translates to: never underestimate the imagination of a young writer.
Lauren: 1) Writing in pen colors other than black and blue really adds zest to life and 2) You're awesome (gimmicky, I know), but I hope you have moments to remember how much you matter, how much your presence is felt and appreciated in workshops and tutoring sessions - especially in a virtual world where our "matter" (physically and symbolically) is so much harder to register.
Naitnaphit: Kids love people who love them too! Also, they're smarter than we are. xo