Tag Archives: 826 Boston

Volunteering Is Not For Scaredycats

In my quest to Be A Better Person and Change The World and Find Some Way To Use My Skills For The Betterment Of Mankind and Get Out Of The Apartment and Not Rely On My Boyfriend For Fulfillment I decided to volunteer at 826 Boston.  826 is a great organization that was started in San Francisco by Dave Eggers because he wanted children to learn and he didn’t know what else to do with all his money.  Did everybody know I have a huge boner for Dave Eggers?  Have you met me?  My name is Emily.  Dave Eggers is my hero.  So.  Yesterday was the June information session and tutor training.  826 Boston is located in, quite possibly, the worst neighborhood in all of greater Boston.  Egleston Square in Roxbury.  I’d driven through Egleston Square a million times when we lived in Roslindale because it’s a direct way to get into Boston from the south.  And even in a car it’s a little scary.  But I biked there yesterday.  And I learned something.  Places that are a little scary in a car are Very Scary on a bike.  Especially if your bike is a butter-yellow cruiser with flowers on it and a basket and you have a bright pink bike helmet with matching pink sunglasses and backpack.  I was asking for it.  But I thought, no, I’ll be fine.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, Emily.  As I walked my bike down Washington Street looking for the storefront (Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute) I noticed a few men gathering in the street.  One of the men was wielding what I can only describe as a very heavy tennis ball attached to a fabric belt-type thing.  And he was swinging this tennis ball-y thing on the fabric belt-y thing in the middle of Washington Street and yelling “Hombre!” over and over again.  And then I thought I’d stop walking my bike and start riding it instead.  And then I came upon 826 Boston, locked up my bike, and called Billy as sirens started blaring and cop cars started materializing and I think I saw a Paddy Wagon, too.  Here’s a summary of the conversation we had:

Me:  Oh hi.  I just wanted to call to say hi and tell you that there is probably a street fight happening in the middle of Egleston Square right now.
Billy:  Oh yeah?
Me:  Yeah.  Hear those sirens?
Billy:  Yup.
Me:  I just think it’s funny that my life is always such a cliche.
Billy:  Huh?
Me:  Earnest white girl in the inner city trying to teach underprivileged kids how to write.
Billy:  Is Gangster’s Paradise playing?
Me:  Yeah.  Coolio is here.
Billy:  Maybe you drive to Roxbury next time.
Me:  Good idea.

Anyway.  Then we had the info sesh and it was great and I am really excited to get started helping out over there.  I already have an idea for a playwriting workshop I can run with older kids and a possible improv/silly plays workshop for younger kids.  It’s actually great that they are located in Roxbury because that’s where it’s most helpful for kids to have free tutoring and fun learning opportunities.  So it’s all good things.

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