100 Story Star: Lucas

Life at the Building is a 24/7 ‘All Hands on Deck’ affair. After all, llamas, scheming spiders, selfie-taking aliens, darger dragons make for very tetchy tenants…  One moment you are running to brush the Llamas’ tails, the next you are summoned to polish some magnificent narwhal tusks.

Which is why volunteers play such a critical role at 100 Story Building. They help us keep the Building life in order so that the young writers can find a quiet corner to craft their stories, novels, audio plays and comic books.

In our monthly 100 Story Star series, we will celebrate all the wonderful volunteers and supporters who help keep the Building going with their generous time and efforts.


Meet 100 Story Star: Lucas Testro

Lucas has been a regular 100 Story Building volunteer for so long that no one can even remember when he started visiting the Building. What we do know is that every Wednesday, come rain or shine, he is at the door with his 1000-watt smile – ready to edit our podcasts and videos, help prepare for workshops, mentor young story makers at the Building workshops (and periodically lead lost jumping jellyfish back to Level 65).

We asked Lucas what keeps him coming to the 100 Story Building each week!

Tell us about yourself: your background and interests. 

When I’m not volunteering on Level 100 or taking aqua-aerobics classes down on the Narwhal Level, I love to make podcasts and films. You can find links to all of them on mywebsite, Man With A Jetpack! I also work as a Creative Strategist for a marketing agency because those narwhal aqua-aerobics classes aren’t cheap.

How did you come to volunteer for 100 Story Building? What got you interested?

I’d been aware of Dave Egger’s work with 826 Valencia (even visited the Time Travel Mart in LA), and had so much admiration for it as this incredible work of imagination that in turn championed the imaginations of young people. So when I found out that Lach and the gang had established something similar here, I had to be involved.

What is the best aspect of volunteering for 100 Story Building?

It’s the best morning of my week. The highlight, no question, is hanging out with all the young storymakers who come in for workshops. Helping them explore and shape their ideas is rewarding, but honestly, I get more from them than they get from me. Their unbridled imagination and joy for the ridiculous is so energising, and gives me new enthusiasm and perspectives for my own storytelling – and for life in general.

But even on days when there are no workshops to assist in or podcasts to edit and I’m just stapling together booklets, it’s still an unbeatable feeling. Because it’s one moment in my week when I’m doing something that I know is 100% good, serving no other purpose than just to try to help others. That’s special.

Kids make stories at 100 Story Building. Share one story that really sticks out in your memory.

Ah jeez… so many stories, and such a bad memory! I’ll never forget one boy who had been a bit disruptive in a workshop, but then got really passionate about his story as we started to work on it together. It was about a skeleton who’d lost his toy, which was a bomb. I commented that a bomb seemed a pretty dangerous thing for the skeleton to play with. The boy explained that it was a special reverse bomb that, when it exploded, fixed everything that was wrong.

I’ve also got a lot of love for the detective who busted the evil lobster’s crime ring but then developed a fear of lobsters which had to be treated by her colleagues by bringing a lobster into the interview room for her to touch. You can hear that one in the 100 Story Building Podcast’s Crime Special.

Of the 99 Levels below, which Level is your favourite?

C’mon, it’s the Giant Kitten Level obviously!

Thank you Lucas for being a 100 Story Star!