January 2013

Archana Dutta‘s first acquaintance with the United States was two years ago at the beginning of her married life, when she landed in Los Angeles. She was teaching at an engineering college for about two years. During that time she was involved in a non-profit tutoring program. She helped the school-going kids from the neighboring rural areas, with the help of fellow colleagues and college students. Since then she developed an interested in tutoring school students.

After six months of working as a research assistant at UCLA, she was looking for something through which she could have some wonderful experiences. Her searching then ended up at the door of 826LA. On the first day she was kind of confused and a bit nervous, because she didn’t have any tutoring experience in the USA. She began the first day with a kindergartener and a 10th-grade student, and the experience was pretty good.

Sometimes kids are a bit confused by her Indian English accent, but with her three months of tutoring experience Archana has realized that tutoring is more than homework: it’s a special student-tutor relationship where accent is no big deal. She loves to write as a hobby, mostly limited to the pages of her diary, although during her school days some of her poems were published in local magazines.

Christine Frey has worked as a journalist and policy analyst, and recently completed a short documentary film about the Griffith Park mountain lion. She enjoys worked with the young authors of Echo Park’s 826LA Good Times and helping high school seniors with their college application essays. When Christine is not volunteering with 826LA or one of her other favorite LA non-profits, she can be found hiking the secret staircases of Los Angeles, tending to her vegetable garden, or reading with her tabby cat Mr. Archibald T. Buttons.

Songvit Kiatpiriya (or Song, as the cool kids call him, mostly because Songvit is kind of hard to pronounce) is a Los Angeles native and generally cool person. He is a volunteer at 826LA’s after-school tutoring program. While initially unsure if he was up to the task, he says tutoring the kids at 826LA is easily one of the coolest, most fun things he’s done all year. Songvit lives in Burbank and commutes to 826LA in Echo Park, but he finds the experience of volunteering worth the drive. He encourages anyone with even the slightest interest in doing cool, fun things to volunteer, saying, “826LA is a place of learning, creativity, and fun. Also time travel. There is time travel…you’ll see.”

Lynne Mangione is from Los Angeles, although she has wandered far and wide and throughout various epochs with the aid of her time travel machine. She has dined with dinosaurs, cavorted with cavemen, slayed dragons, and solved mysteries. Lynne happened upon 826LA while on a mission to find people who are caring and kind, and question the spelling of vicissitude. There she discovered that the secret to happiness lies west of the 405 in a small but mighty building on Venice Boulevard. Lynne loves alliteration and can be found at 826LA every Wednesday evening with pencil and paper in palm, shouting, “Viva Mar Vista!

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