On Boarding New Staff!

Our mighty team is STILL growing! On our 826 birthday (8/26/19) our crew welcomed Ashley Lustig into the newly created position of Development and Communications Director.

Ashley reading a book by the young authors at 826 NYC at our 8/26 Community Celebration

Ashley reading a book by the young authors at 826 NYC at our 8/26 Community Celebration

Get to know Ashley by reading her answers to the interview questions below.

  1. What is your favorite sea creature?

    A sea turtle! (I am actually terrified of the ocean, so having the option to traverse land in addition to sea is my prime reason. Plus - turtles are awesome.)

  2. What is your favorite book, and what about that book captivates you?

    My favorite book is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This dense and fantastical Russian novel was written (but not published) within the Stalinist regime. It uses absurd and unbelievable images, situations, and characters to demonstrate just how absurd and unbelievable real life at that time in history actually was. Using the extraordinary to comment on the seemingly mundane is a shift in perspective that I find on-point and beautiful.

  3. What brought you to 826 MSP? 

    My most recent position at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center included fundraising and communications. Before that, I was an 8th grade writing teacher, and before that, I got my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing. Writing has always been my favorite way of seeing and understanding the world. In this way, the Development and Communications Director position combines so many of my passions and areas of experience. A week or so into the job, I had a lightbulb moment - I get to write and tell the 826 MSP story so that thousands of kids can write and tell their own stories. This makes me incredibly happy.

    In a different sense, having been a middle school English teacher, I know how endless the priorities and to-do lists are. There is never enough time for all the content areas, standards, topics and current events that you want to cover all while doing the most important job of all - creating meaningful relationships with students. While there is so much to teach, I knew that teaching reading and writing was especially critical, as these skills are prerequisites to success in almost every academic subject and professional field. In this way, by partnering with teachers, schools, and families to provide targeted literacy education that is customized to each young author, 826 MSP fills a critical gap. I am proud to be part of this crew and excited to keep reading and learning from our young authors!

  4. Why is empowering students to think creatively, write effectively, and succeed academically important to you?

    Our young people are our present and future; investing in them is investing in a better world. By giving students the space and tools they need to surpass our already-high expectations, the possibilities are endless, and we should all prepare to be amazed! Just read 826 MSP young author, Yahya’s poem below for an example.


    Remember the sky smiling

    down on you.

    And the earth looking up

    to you.

    Remember the rain washing

    away bad days.

    Also the snow feeding good


    Remember the animals enjoying

    their lives.

    Remember your life, that’s 

    what brought you here.

826 MSP