Last month, I began my editorial internship at 826michigan – early. I jumped headfirst into the swing of things by volunteering in various programs and picking up a store shift. Before I talk about what I’m doing here, I’ll talk about what 826 does/give y’all the less stammer-y spiel I give to newcomers when I run the store each week:
826michigan, possibly more commonly known around here as the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair Store, is a nonprofit organization for students aged 6-18. They offer various creative writing and tutoring programs for these students, all for free, and all awesome. The proceeds from the store go to support and fund those programs, which are run by volunteers and the regular staff. Within these services, there are several publication opportunities for the students: chapbooks, zines, and the big annual professionally-bound book called the OMNIBUS. 826michigan is one of seven chapters across the US (the original one is in San Francisco: 826 Valencia, founded by author Dave Eggers), all with the same mission and different storefronts.
Prior to now, I’d been considering getting involved with this organization for about a year and half. I couldn’t tell you how long the internship application has been saved in my bookmarks. That said, I’m super happy to finally be affiliated with them as an intern and volunteer. I’ll be working this summer primarily on that big publication, but so far, here’s a non-comprehensive list of what I’ve been doing to fill my hours and get the hang of 826:
In-School Programs – I attended a weekly writers club at an Ypsilanti elementary school, helping students write stories.
Field Trips – Classes come down to Liberty Street’s writing lab, which is behind the curtain you’d see if you were in the store, to write stories together.
Publications – Miscellany! I’ve been typing and copyediting plenty of student work, which is so fun to read (and sometimes difficult to decipher), for chapbooks specific to the program/project. I’ve also done the typesetting (putting all of those stories into InDesign, an Adobe program for making books) and assembling of chapbooks. Lately I’ve done loads of folding, cutting, stapling, and binding – essentially, lots of contact with paper.
Soon, I’ll be doing more with helping to select works for the OMNIBUS from the various programs this past year. For now, I’m helping out with what I can, and getting hugs from the younger students who come to the lab and work with me. So far, this has been a rewarding experience, and I hope to become fluent in the languages of InDesign and publications.
Make sure to stop by the store when you’re in downtown Ann Arbor! A volunteer or staff member will be more than happy to tell you all about the organization. I talk to a lot of newcomers who say they’ve walked past several times but never stepped in before that moment, and I used to be in their shoes. It’s a cute place with a great mission and fun robot-themed products. For privacy’s sake, I will not be posting photos of the students/programs in action or their work unless in a completed publication.