As we wrap up another busy summer, one fact that transcends the season is how dedicated our volunteers are. Rain or shine, they’re always making time to support our students on field trips, summer camps, or workshops. Among those fantastic folks is Dan Doherty, our summer Volunteer of the Month! Dan’s commitment to our mission inspires us all, whether he’s supporting small groups of young authors at YAW or consistently supporting our Tenderloin after-school workshops, his presence always makes us smile. Keep reading to learn more about him (including his love of fishes!)
What is one of your favorite moments (memories, experiences, or anecdotes!) from volunteering with 826 Valencia?
I tutored two brothers—Luis, 11, and Carlos, 6, who came from Raphael House for a Podcasting Field Trip. The older brother proved to be an imaginative and skillful writer. The little one was struggling a bit until I suggested he write about Mr. Nibbles. Mr. Nibbles is his small, stuffed lamb who is his confidant and companion. He made a truly remarkable podcast with his limited writing skills. His brother was profuse and profound in thanking me for helping them. This was a great way to spend and celebrate my 75th birthday.
What led you to become part of our volunteer community?
I saw a bit on the news about the Pirate Supply Store, how it was the necessary anchor allowing the Writing Center to exist in a property zoned for commercial use. I checked out 826 on the internet and saw that it fit with my desire to help students in my retired days. Finding the Tenderloin Center was a real bonus since I walk there every day with the purpose of exercising. Exercise for mind and body that is, helping to keep me healthy and going forward.
Do you prefer pirates or pufferfishes, and why?
Being born a Pisces, I have always had a pescatarian preference in my life choices, so it’s pufferfish for me. When I was in the Navy, too, I had four aquariums of various sizes with fresh water, tropical fishes, and turtles.
What would we find you doing when not volunteering at 826?
I have an abiding interest in history. The past being prologue, I am always reading history books—particularly naval history. I watch a lot of History Channel and PBS programming on all aspects of the past. I have traveled to many of the important port cities to visit historic ships. I also like watching movies and attending ballet performances—and musicals, too.
What is a piece of advice you would give a new 826 volunteer?
I would advise new volunteers to be patient with themselves and the students. These curious and insightful young people have a wide range of thoughts to share. Many times, they will tell you a great story but need some help to write it down.
Feeling inspired to join Dan and our amazing volunteer community? The new school year is fast approaching, and we need many tutors to help our students, especially in the first months of fall. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities and sign up!
Read more about our previous Volunteers of the Month.