Operation Day’s Work: Burritos, Blogging, and My First Day in Publishing

Categories: Chelsea Green News
Posted on Monday, May 25th, 2009 at 4:16 pm by dpacheco

Guest post by Harmony Spencer (Age 17; Chelsea, VT)

One of the first things I was told when I walked into Chelsea Green Publishing was, “Today is burrito day!” This was one of the many indications that Chelsea Green Publishing was not like any other publishing company. Not that I’ve been in any other publishing house before: I’m still in high school.

My name is Harmony Spencer, I am seventeen years old and in my junior year of high school at Chelsea Public School in Chelsea, Vermont. (No, it is not just a coincidence that they have the same name—Chelsea Green Publishing started in a building next to the green in Chelsea, VT, in 1984.) Today I worked at Chelsea Green for the Operation Day’s Work program that Chelsea (the high school) is a part of. Operation Day’s Work (http://www.usaid.gov/odw/) is a volunteer program where students take off from school for one day, and engage in various jobs in the area. The money we make is donated to a cause of the school’s choice. A lot of schools in the Upper Valley participate in ODW, and I think it is a really great program, not only because students like myself help out local businesses, but they also raise money for developing countries (Africa, in my case).

I support the idea fully, but I have to be honest—it was not volunteer for me. Not that I was forced into it—more that I was volunteered last minute because the girl who signed up got sick. I guess the teacher thought I would be interested because I am one of the editors of The Chelsea Chronicle (the Chelsea high school newsletter.) But I’m not going to complain, because while most of my friends are out doing yard work and moving furniture, I get to miss school and sit in a comfortable air-conditioned office!

All kidding aside, I have done much more than sit since I got here: first I helped look through books for ideas for Chelsea Green Publishing’s blog, then I tore apart about half a million invoice sheets and stapled and filed until my thumbs were sore, and finally I switched to packing books into mailing boxes, sticking on labels, and writing, “To so-and-so from Taylor [their Publicist]” so many times that I almost forgot my own name.

Okay, that was me complaining a little bit, but in all seriousness, I have had a wicked fun time while I was here, and they did buy me a burrito from Boloco! Everyone who works here is super social and nice, and the environment is much more laid back then what I thought a publishing house would be like. I am very glad to have had this experience, and hopefully the money I made will help to make someone’s life better.

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