I used to spend my Thursdays away from the bookstore finding creative ways to nap. Morning naps! Outdoor naps! Riverside naps! Shady naps! Sunny naps! Name a place and there's a 80/20 chance that I napped there.
Then I became involved with the Rock Star Supply Co., a non-profit organization inspired by the writing centers author Dave Eggers has established in various parts of the country. Named after the street address of its original location in San Francisco, 826 Valencia Street, the 826 centers provide writing support to students ages 6-18. And they do it with an enduring mix of hijinks and hard work. (See, for example, their Pirate Supply Store.)
Here in the Twin Cities, we started the Rock Star Supply Co. to engage creative artists and other community leaders in improving educational outcomes for teens. We provide support to teachers so they can more effectively engage their students in their curriculum. Our tutors ("rock stars") provide support to at-risk students so they can catch up on assignments, develop a passion for learning and meet creative and interesting adults along the way.
As a group, we marvel at Dave Eggers' mission and are striving to create a culture around in-school volunteerism in the Twin Cities. Eggers has long been a supporter of public school teachers. We loved his April 30th editorial in the New York Times, "The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries." And we agree that it should be a national priority to recruit top graduates to the profession, to pay them well, and to provide them the support and encouragement they deserve.
The moral to the story: there's no time for napping. Our public schools need the support of their entire communities. And that includes me. I now spend most of my Thursday afternoons tutoring 9th and 10th graders at St. Paul's Como Park High School in Algebra, English and Science.
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