Name: Ann-Kathrin Bomkamp
Role: Copy Editor
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Ann-Kathrin started volunteering as a teenager by participating in church programs as a group leader for young girls and serving as an instructor at summer camps. After leaving her hometown for university then graduating and moving to Hamburg for a career, she reached a stage of life where she had the time and skills to give back. “After a while, I felt like there was something more that I could do with my skills than just help companies sell more products, so I started looking for volunteering opportunities, and Random Acts happened to be looking for someone like me!”
Joining Random Acts as a copy editor in August of 2019, Ann-Kathrin recently had her role expanded to join our talented writing team in addition to her editorial duties.
How she came to Random Acts
Ann-Kathrin first took notice of Random Acts on Twitter, via another organization she followed (To Write Love On Her Arms) that was also a supporter of the IMAlive Crisis Support Network venture. Checking us out, she immediately loved the vision. She noted that she did not know Co-Founder Misha Collins or Supernatural at the time, though. Since she began following Random Acts (even before she volunteered here), she began participating in GISH (a scavenger hunt co-founded by Misha) and started checking out the show! Ann-Kathrin had considered a couple of roles with Random Acts before, but when the copy editor role came up, it seemed natural since she is a writer and copy editor in her day job.
“There are so many amazing things happening at Random Acts, it is great that we have so many writers now to get the word out,” Ann-Kathrin enthused. Her role is a crucial one as Random Acts continues to expand. As she described, over the past couple of years, our writing team has grown exponentially, and we are publishing increasingly about the things our organization and supporters have been involved with.
This high volume of content we are sharing means that a professional copy editing team is a must have, and that is exactly what Ann-Kathrin is: a professional. As previously mentioned, writing and copy editing is also her day job, and amazingly, she performs this role in multiple languages – English and her native German. Her company is international, so a lot of the content she deals with is in English, but locally, at her own headquarters, they write more in German.
“It can be a little bit confusing at times,” Ann-Kathrin says in regard to switching between the two languages as a writer and editor. “In German, we love our commas and really long sentences. English grammar seems a bit easier to me. I have been switching languages since I went to university. I studied in the Netherlands, and the classes were in Dutch, the books were in English, and my study group were mostly fellow Germans. I grew up at the Dutch border and took Dutch lessons at school, so it felt really natural to me.”
So just exactly how many languages DOES she speak?
“Define speaking! I am fluent in German, English, and Dutch. I know a little bit of Spanish, Finnish, and French (enough to get me by on holiday). I also took a Norwegian class and am currently trying to learn Scottish Gaelic on the Duolingo app but failing miserably! I guess I am a bit of a language geek.”
As one of our three copy editors, Ann-Kathrin receives the written content the Random Acts writing team produces (our blogs, articles, and newsletters) to read over it for any errors – spelling, punctuation, live links, and a little bit of fact-checking. She also checks in with the writer about any needed clarifications or potential misunderstandings, and then she hands back her edits to the team for publication.
A Heart Called to Help
Newly tasked with writing about our live events, the writing part of her job has been put on hold a little due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. But in addition to helping us spread our message via her much-needed writing and copy editing skills, Ann-Kathrin was able to further Random Acts’ mission statement and perform a really cool act of kindness in Germany last Christmas by contributing to a famous and established resource, borne of a great community spirit, for homeless people in Hamburg.
“There is this amazing initiative here in Hamburg called ‘Gabenzaun,’ which translates to ‘giving fence’. A bit of backstory: Hamburg Central Station has always been a meeting point for people living on the street, and there was a tiny wall where they would sit. The owner of that area, the German railway service, didn’t like that (too much noise and trash) and put a fence on that wall so that it couldn’t be used as a seat anymore. The people kept coming to the Central Station despite the fence. Instead, some volunteers used that fence and put gifts on it. Canned food, socks, underwear. I always liked that initiative and contacted one of the volunteers about how I can help, and she said that they always need a lot of socks. I was able to buy more than 100 pairs of warm socks and donate them.”
In the future, Ann-Kathrin would love to get involved with more Random Acts campaigns fighting childhood hunger and poverty. Another issue close to her heart is mental health. But in terms of what else 2020 might hold, we are on uncertain ground.
“Everything is pretty chaotic now, so I have a hard time planning anything (even if it’s just goals). I hope that the Random Acts support program can help as many people as possible during the COVID situation, and personally, I want to do another staff act and hopefully make a difference in someone else’s life. I am just super excited to be part of the amazing Random Acts team.”