Congrats to our November Volunteer of the Month, Kelly Jones! Read our interview with Kelly:
WHAT FIRST BROUGHT YOU TO BIG CLASS?
When I moved back to New Orleans in 2010 I began looking for organizations down here that were similar to the writing programs and artistic communities I had been part of in Seattle and Raleigh. Eventually I got in touch with Big Class. Their project-based model made sense to me and seemed doable. So I’ve been doing what I can to help out ever since.
WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?
As Big Class has grown so has its programming, and I love working on special projects and events. Exploring writing and the arts with youth is great fun, and it provides an appreciated break from the collegiate environments I work in.
WHAT ARE SOME SKILLS YOU HAVE THAT HELP YOU OUT AT BIG CLASS?
I’m a poet, editor, and educator, which helps me communicate with Big Class students and assist them with developing and finalizing their stories. It probably also helps that I’m big on meeting deadlines and have a background in theater and improv, so changing things up as I go is pretty second nature.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU’VE FACED AT BIG CLASS?
One of the great things about kids is that they are high-energy. Sometimes it can be challenging to match that after a full day at work. Luckily, their energy is often contagious.
WHAT ARE SOME GREAT PIECES OF WRITING YOU’VE HELPED WITH?
I think all the writing is great! I’m hooked on writing because of the process, the challenge, and the practice; whenever students engage with that I am impressed. But, a favorite publica- tion of mine is And Nothing Else Bad Happened, New Fairy Tales. I’ve loved Fairy Tales for as long as I can remember, so I really enjoyed reading and editing the new fairy tales that 2nd graders at ARISE Academy came up with. And I love how these stories were accompanied with illustrations from artists all over. However, as someone who can’t stop buying, hording, and sending postcards postcards, I also was really stoked to be teamed up with a pen-pal from Akili Acade- my’s Stamp Champs last year. Letter writing and storytelling are two of my favorite things, so To Pen is to Pal was a really exciting publication for me.
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT VOLUNTEERING WITH US?
If I’m not Big Class-ing then I am likely either teaching, tutoring, writing, putting together the next issue of The Gambler Mag, biking, baking, dancing, making silly animations, covering something with glitter, walking Mr. Beaux Jangles (my pit bull pup), or drinking coffee. Actually, I am often engaged in a combination of two or more of these things at once