We love our Patchwork Marketplace authors, they’re brilliant and creative… and the whole reason we’re able to offer you such useful resources at such reasonable rates!
So, we thought it would be cool if we all got to know our authors a little better.
Welcome to our new monthly series where we shine the spotlight on one of our authors and find out more about them, like where the store name Corduroy’s Button came from.
September Author Bio – Spotlight on Brenda Salvo
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Brenda (Corduroy’s Button). I spend a lot of time hiking, reading, sitting on the couch with friends, and binging funny TV shows (currently, The Mindy Project). I’m obsessed with the podcast “The Babysitter’s Club Club.” My biggest pet peeves are when people type slowly and when people bring impossibly large bags onto the airport escalator. Pack lighter, people!
How many years have you been involved in camping/ recreation/ any other career you have?
I spent high school and college working and volunteering with youth before joining the ranks of professional youth workers for about 7 years. I was the director of a Boy & Girls Club and coordinated school-based programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters. My work has predominately been focused on youth who are marginalized, and creating spaces where they can express their natural joy without fear, misunderstanding or stigmatization.
I recently began graduate school studying equity in education, and have continued to volunteer. While in school, I work with college students, advising them in event and program planning.
What brought you to Patchwork? Why did you start your store?
It was great timing for me. I was restless, wanting school to start, and Patchwork allowed me to assign myself the “homework”.
The reason Patchwork, in particular, appealed, is that it connects me to my previous work. Patchwork allows me to pass on the things I have learned to those who will put them to good use, even as I make a career pivot.
What is your store’s name? Is there a story or reason behind the name?
The name is related to my philosophy of working with people. Remember the children’s book Corduroy? Lisa saves up her money and adopts the bear that has been sitting unwanted for ages. She gives him a home, she loves him just the way he is, and she helps him sew on a button because he’ll be more comfortable.
So many people feel unwanted, like they’re missing part of what is needed to be a whole and worthy human. Showing love to people who have been encouraged to feel that inadequacy and have been denied the resources needed to thrive requires hard work, patience, perseverance. Eventually, we get to show them they are loved, give them the “home” they have always deserved, and help them identify what they need to be more comfortable, telling them all along that we like them, just the way they are. We’re all Corduroy, and we can all be Lisa.
What is your favorite topic to write about? What inspires your theme ideas?
I LOVE policy writing. You need an emergency plan? Or a mentoring program? Or a staff training binder or behavior policy or field trip protocol? I want to be the one to write it.
Inspiration for creative, program ideas usually comes from unexpected places. Read widely, especially fiction. Mow the lawn. Organize that overflowing supply cabinet. Pick five random objects and make yourself sit for 15 minutes doing nothing but thinking about what those objects are and how they could be used. Ideas and inspiration will come.
What is your writing process?
I’m currently a full-time student, and close to full-time employee (and volunteer, and houseplant mom, etc…). I don’t have much time to schedule writing. When I’m feeling inspired and have time, I’ll sit down and work.
Most of what I have on Patchwork is modified from years past. I have planned a lot of things that other people implemented, so I have things from years ago that are quite detailed. I mostly make them pretty before posting.
What is your strategy when deciding prices for your resources?
I keep things under $5, because who wants to spend money?
What is your favorite resource you’ve created?
Clue: Case of the Missing Birthday Cake. I am SUCH a nerd, and making a logic problem was so much fun!
What is your favorite Patchwork resource someone else has created?
It’s so easy for all of us to operate based on stereotypes and presuppositions. It takes years for us to overcome our biases. I love the idea of naming our problem as a first step to solving our problem. Labeling the youth and parents we work with is definitely one of our problems.
What do you think are the most important things to include in a resource?
I always appreciate it when it is clear that the creator of a resource spent time thinking about the details, edited well, and made it user friendly. I ask myself, if I downloaded this program plan, policy, or staff training, how would I use it? What would I wish was included? What parts would I skim pass or ignore?
What has been your biggest challenge in creating resources for Patchwork?
Time – I have little of it available, and if I had more, I have a laundry list of other things I should be getting done, including my laundry.
What advice would you give someone who’s one the fence about becoming a Patchwork seller?
Do it! It’s easy. You already know your stuff, all you have to do is share that knowledge with others who need it! Making surprise money throughout the week isn’t bad either.
Please provide a way for people to connect with you.
Ah! I’m pretty light on social media, and have 0 active blogs. Email I guess? firstname.lastname@example.org.