I connected with my agent through a volunteer opportunity. I was helping with clean-up after a big event and ended up working alone with a writer who is much further up the “food chain” than I am. She’s a warm and gracious person, and we had a lovely conversation. Eventually, our talk drifted to our current works-in-progress. Although I felt a bit shy about sharing my still-flickering hope over a manuscript that had been rejected several times, she coaxed the details out of me. Then, she told me about an agent she was sure was a good match for the project and gave me permission to use her name when I wrote to him. The rest, as they say, is history! I sent my manuscript to the agent, he took it on, and within a few weeks of submitting it, he called to tell me that my first novel had been accepted for publication. Not every volunteer job is going to have this kind of fairy tale ending, of course. But I have made many positive connections through volunteer jobs within the writing/kidlit community. Could you volunteer in your child’s school library? At a local arts center? With a regional writing organization? Think about the possibilities near you!