Congrats to our February Volunteer of the Month, Erin Ruane! Read our interview with Erin here:
What first brought you to Big Class?
Pizza Poetry! A colleague asked her students to write for the Pizza Poetry day and I was intrigued about who organized this idea. A year later, my students were writing stories about zombies in their neighborhoods with Big Class.
What keeps you coming back?
The endless possibilities to collaborate with young writers. I have fun sharing my passions (like food and photography!) while learning about new ideas through the writing form. Big Class encourages me to think outside the box when dreaming up ideas for a workshop or class.
What are some skills you have that help you out at Big Class?
It’s fun to think of the different ways we can develop ideas, from group brainstorming to independent art gallery walks, I’m always reminded of the creative ways to approach writing.
My skills as a former teacher also helped me develop a kid friendly curriculum for Unfathomable Cities, a New Orleans Atlas--one of my favorite Big Class projects, and one of my favorite books!
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Big Class?
Having a full time job makes it tough to find time for all the excellent programs I want to participate in. It was especially difficult to learn I wouldn’t be able work with former students anymore due to scheduling differences. The good news, I have met dynamic, new ones!
What are some great projects you’ve helped with? Tell us the story behind them if you can.
So many projects to share! My students gave escape plans if a Zombie Apocalypse happened in their neighborhood and shared their selling prowess through Haunted Real Estate Ads. That same year, my students participated in fun workshops like New Orleans food poetry, and directing videos to go along with their original poems.
I wrote a student friendly curriculum for Unfathomable Cities, A New Orleans Atlas so teachers could present real inspiration around New Orleans subjects. I covered the chapter, “Oil and Water,” a section grappling with the oil industry in the Gulf and how it affects greater New Orleans. At the book release party, I saw how the curriculum came to life and even got to meet one of the authors, Rebecca Snedeker!
What are you up to when you’re not volunteering with us?
I work at a French Quarter think tank, GumboLive as a creative and social media strategist. In my spare time, I freelance interior design and work my small business “Baby Jesus”- an essential oil blend consisting of frankincense and myrrh.