Volunteers of the Month: January 2017

From 826LA in Echo Park: Jim Newberry is a fine art and commercial photographer who was born and raised in Chicago, and relocated to Los Angeles in 2014.

When he’s not shooting assignments for record labels, magazines, and other clients, he can be found wandering neighborhoods like Chinatown, Westlake, Hollywood, and the Fashion District, shooting street photography.

Jim began volunteering for 826LA at the end of 2014, doing a bit of after school tutoring, but more often shooting pro bono pictures that 826 uses for marketing and PR.

From 826LA in Mar VistaMarcia Gresko recently retired from her job as Director of Product Development for Educational Insights, a toy company in Gardena. A former teacher and literacy volunteer, she learned about 826LA while googling “Los Angeles” “volunteer” “writing.” She has enjoyed all the 826 field trips she has participated in and recently acted the part of the curmudgeonly Mrs. Barnacle.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Marcia is also a published children’s book author with more than a dozen non-fiction titles to her credit on subjects from castles to Canada. She holds a B.A. from SUNY at Buffalo and an M.A. from the University of Rochester.

From 826LA at Manual Arts: Maribel De Anda is the College Access Counselor for LA Promise Fund at Manual Arts High School. She has collaborated with 826LA to plan the annual Great L.A. Personal Statement Weekend and Scholarship Day (GLAPSW). Maribel received her BA in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and a Masters in Education from Cal State Long Beach (Go Beach!). She remains motivated by her parents’ words: “La educacion es algo que nadie te puede quitar” (Education is something nobody can ever take away from you). During her free time, Maribel enjoys concerts, dancing, road trips, and spending time with family and friends.

Amy Rivas works at Manual Arts High School as a Site Coordinator for a drop out prevention program known as Communities in Schools, Los Angeles. Amy partnered with 826LA and a USC English Course to highlight MAHS student voices. This fall with 826LA’s help, she also developed support services for undocumented students on campus, as well as volunteered for the 7th annual GLAPSW. She received her BA in Sociology and Education Studies and her Masters in Social Welfare at UCLA — a proud DOUBLE BRUIN in USC Territory! Her greatest inspiration is the feminist scholar and writer, Audre Lorde, who once said: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” During her free time, she enjoys endless amounts of green smoothies (with extra ginger!), delicious pupusas, and attempting to master hot yoga!

To check out last month’s amazing volunteers, click here.

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