Shannon David and Austin Hoffmann took to the helm of the Valencia Bay-farer in Spring of 2012. They hardly knew each other back then (and hardly knew what they’d gotten themselves into!), but after teaming up to plan and teach the last 10 or so issues of this beloved in-house newspaper, they operate like a well-oiled machine almost all of the time. The Bay-farer is a mainstay of 826 workshops, and while it’s quite a task to keep the legacy alive, this dynamic duo has assumed the responsibility with courage, grace, and a respect for deadlines. If you had to pigeonhole them, you could say that Austin keeps things interesting and Shannon keeps them on track.
The two have even revamped our existing curriculum with new writing and reading exercises, plus guest lessons by reporters from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek. And thanks to teams of consistently stellar volunteer tutors and some seriously inquisitive kids, the result has been issue after issue of hard-hitting and often hilarious student journalism, culminating in the publication of our special 50th issue last month.
Shannon started volunteering with 826 in 2010 as an intern, and has been hanging around ever since. In addition to Bay-farer, she’s especially enjoyed serving on the editorial board for two Young Authors Book Projects. She loves the 826 community and is proud to play a part in such an awesome news publication, always tickled to see what the kids come up with next. Shannon encourages everyone to pick up a copy of the next Bay-farer because it is the factual world as seen through 8-to-13-year-old eyes and she thinks that’s something we should all be paying attention to. By day, Shannon works at VolunteerMatch where she spreads the gospel of volunteering and community involvement. You might also find her reading on the bus, swimming at the Y in Chinatown, or strolling around her Lake Merritt neighborhood in Oakland.
Austin has also been volunteering with 826 Valencia since 2010, after an accidental introduction to the organization while attempting to travel through time in Echo Park, Los Angeles. In addition to Bay-farer, Austin has participated in the English Language Learners Summer Program, Straight-up News, the inaugural issue of Slick Magazine, and after-school tutoring. When not at 826, Austin works as the Office Manager and Sustainability Coordinator for the oft-cited Union of Concerned Scientists, and spends his time growing tomatoes, exploring places out of cell reception range, and documenting typos from SF Chronicle. The last time Austin has laughed the hardest he’s ever laughed was during the reading of “Rats, Raccoons, and Skunks, Oh My!” at the Bay-farer 50 release party. He encourages you to stop by the next release party so you can have a laugh too, learn a thing or two, and leave with the conviction that this generation is the most enlightened yet.
To read about all of our featured volunteers, visit the Volunteer of the Month gallery.