Winding Down | #5

From typing the boundless imagination in messy student writing to listening the robot reciting digits of pi in the storefront x amount of times on Friday afternoons, my summer has been fulfilling and fun–all of the work I completed made me feel important as a valuable intern, which is how I was hoping I’d feel during the experience. I started by volunteering in student programs and working with 6-11 year-old students, getting my feet wet in 826michigan’s enthusiastic waters. Since then, save for Art Fair, the nature of my internship quieted down to mostly remote work and the hum of the office printer.

In my reflections, starting out with the student programs (in-school and field trips, primarily) was a perfect idea when I think about how the rest of the summer panned out in terms of the work I did. While I sat nearby for support, those students wrote stories which I later typed, some of which were then chosen for publication in our annual professionally-published OMNIBUS. I won’t be around for the release of the book, but I have been excitedly and supportively here for its process of growth. I’ve helped organize and maintain the book’s backmatter, contacted families to strengthen our students’ voices in the book, and located several student consent forms. It’s the work that goes on in the background of a publication being put together, but extremely important to the process. Without that work, this book (and our other publications) could not happen.

I’ve gathered a helpful perspective of the publishing and editorial process and the non-profit organization world. Our small, robot-themed storefront is only a glimpse into the rest of the space, as new visitors learn on a regular basis and as I learned not long ago. It’s a hidden gem of Ann Arbor, and of the United States, considering the other 826 chapters spread all over the country. I’ve loved 826michigan since before I even starting getting involved, and thus I have a new appreciation for the inner workings of non-profits. As for the publishing and editorial field, I think I have unformed plans to look further into jobs of this sphere. We’ll see where I am in a year, after I graduate.

After three and a half months, I’m writing this from my last store shift. This past week has nicely wound down–on Tuesday, the intern supervisor and a program manager took us to lunch at Jerusalem Garden, where interns were awarded with paper awards and gift cards to a nearby cafe. We ate hummus and talked about where we’re all going after the internships end (each of us heading back to our respective schools; I’m heading abroad for a semester) and reflected on funny/memorable moments from the summer. Weekly on Wednesdays, I typically meet with the supervisor to go over the previous and upcoming tasks, and this week I was fortunate to receive positive affirmations, good luck, and resume revisions and additions. It’s strange to think that this is my last time in the writing lab as an intern, but I’m excited to return next winter as a volunteer. Until then, I’ll be spreading the word about this amazing organization across the Atlantic in broken Italian.

Haley W

Rising LSA senior studying Creative Writing & Literature hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Summer editorial intern at 826michigan, a non-profit organization that provides free writing and tutoring services for students ages 6-18 in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit.

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