It’s hard to believe that Donna Williamson, treasured Filed Trip leader, was ever shy about her role as captain of our Storytelling and Bookmaking program. To us her leadership of a class filled with eager, albeit squirrelly, second-grade student-authors comes quite naturally, and we feel so lucky to count her as one of our longtime volunteers and friends. Here’s Donna’s reflection on her time with us, in her own words:
“I have been volunteering at 826 for about 6 years. I started as ‘support crew’ for Field Trips, typing with the old computer system (yikes) and copying with the giant, old machine in the Main Office, which by the way had it in for me and would never work unless I asked for help and then it would magically take all commands. I always knew I wanted to lead the Storytelling but had to work up my nerve and confidence, so didn’t start in that role until year 3. I volunteered in my children’s classrooms for years, but being at 826 has always felt so liberating because I was no one’s mom and could be as enthusiastic as I wanted to be without worrying about embarrassing my kids.
When I was in elementary school, the focus was always on spelling, grammar, and penmanship, so I love challenging the students to go deep into their imagination and create great stories about fantastic characters and settings. It helps me remember to be light-hearted, flexible, and fun.
Now that my ‘nest’ is empty after 34 years, I am trying to find fun ways to fill my time. I am involved in the ‘Tiny House’ movement, hoping to build one for myself someday. I am also pursuing my passion for film by joining a filmmaking group to learn whether that item on my bucket list is feasible.
Being surrounded by the engaged and dedicated interns and staff at 826 keeps me feeling young and connected. Coming to the Mission every Tuesday is one of the highlights of my week and it is rewarding to still be contributing to a student’s learning experience now that my kids have all left home.”
To read about all of our featured volunteers, visit the Volunteer of the Month gallery.