Gabriel “Gabe” Montefiore first entered the WordPlay Cincy building two years ago looking for after school programs for his younger sister, Mimi. After registering her for one of WordPlay’s programs, Gabe inquired about volunteer opportunities for himself. Gabe was preparing to enter his freshman year at Oberlin College and had recently been awarded the Bonner scholarship. The scholarship would provide Gabe with a yearly stipend for completing ten hours of service per week for local communities.
Inspired by the vast collection of books and antique typewriters that line the WordPlay walls, Gabe began volunteering and has been an active member of the WordPlay family ever since. Gabe cherishes the memories he’s made at WordPlay working with and learning about the children in the Northside community.
When he’s not in school or volunteering at WordPlay, Gabe, or “Moose” as he’s known by friends, can be found reading fantasy novels, playing Magic: The Gathering, or helping Mimi with her schoolwork.
“I don’t have a lot of experience being an animal,” says Gabe, “but moose are huge and even though they’re only eight feet tall, they look giant in any situation, which I guess I sort of resonate with.” The bearded, 6 foot 1 inch college junior speaks politely, calmly but firmly about what he’s learned during his two years working at WordPlay.
Gabe is a self-proclaimed perfectionist studying to become a speech language pathologist. He hopes to work with individuals struggling with vocal cord and speech production issues. His interest in language mechanics began during his childhood as a singer and music-lover.
He knows first-hand how hard it can be to have your voice heard. “I’ve always been kind of high maintenance about my performance,” says Gabe, “and I have a lot of trouble asking for help, even today.”
His advice to his younger self serves as sage advice to Wordplay students and volunteers, too. “Calm down,” he says, “and speak up when you’re in trouble or need something.”