826 National

About 826 National

826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in seven cities across the country. Our goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our work is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

After the founding of 826 Valencia, the flagship center in San Francisco, educators around the U.S. joined in to pursue the same goals in their local communities. Now 826 Valencia also serves as the headquarters of 826 National, an umbrella organization that coordinates the adaptation of 826’s tutoring and mentorship model in other cities. Already, 826 has sister centers in New York, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. Through volunteer support, each of the seven 826 chapters provides drop-in tutoring, class field trips, writing workshops, and in-schools programs—all free of charge. 826 chapters are especially committed to supporting teachers, publishing student work, and offering services for English language learners.

Because we believe the proof is in the pudding, 826 programs almost always end with a finished product, such as a newspaper, a book, or a film. This teaching model, known as project-based learning, encourages students to collaborate and to make creative decisions, and gives them ownership over the learning process. Working toward a goal, our students are inspired to revise until their work is perfect. They leave with new skills and a newfound passion for writing. And then they come back. Each 826 chapter is a warm, welcoming place where students can get things done. Maybe they’ll produce a chapbook. Maybe they’ll make a movie, or polish a college-application essay. We offer all of our services for free serving families who could not otherwise afford the level of personalized instruction their children receive from 826.

Our corps includes thousands of enthusiastic volunteers who make this all happen. Our volunteer tutors include law professors, college students, authors, retirees, and advertising copywriters. They come from all fields, but have one thing in common: they love to help students learn. The demand for 826’s services is tremendous. At many of our centers, our field trips are fully booked almost a year in advance, and the majority of our evening and weekend workshops have waiting lists. And new teacher requests for in-school tutor support continue to pour in.

We offer:


826 sites are packed five days a week with students who come in for free one-on-one tutoring after school. We serve students of all skill levels and interests, most of whom live within walking distance of our writing centers or near public transportation. During the summer, many of our tutoring programs cater exclusively to English language-learners with a specially designed, project-based curriculum that focuses on basic vocabulary, phonics, reading, and writing skills.

Student Publishing
We know that the quality of student work is greatly enhanced when it’s shared with an authentic audience, so we are committed to publishing student work. In addition to publishing our 826 Quarterly, two student newspapers, many smaller chapbooks, and ‘zines, each year we partner with an acclaimed author to work closely with a teacher and students from a low-income school to create an unique and professionally-made book. This year 826 Seattle created an anthology of essays, poems, and stories on the theme of family by 27 students from John Marshall High School and the American Indian Heritage School called (It’s Not Always) Happily Ever After with a forward by Sherman Alexie. In San Francisco, 826 Valencia worked with Galileo Academy of Science and Technology to produce Home Wasn’t Built in a Day, a book focused on family legends and stories that includes an introduction by Robin Williams.

Field Trips
Up to four times a week, 826 welcomes an entire class for a morning of high-energy learning. Students may experience a roundtable discussion and writing seminar with a local author, or enjoy an active workshop focused on poetry or journalism. The most popular field trip is one we invented called Storytelling & Bookmaking, in which students write, illustrate, and bind their own books within a two-hour period. The field trip is so popular that our schedule is filled almost a year in advance.

It is not feasible for all classes to come to us, so we dispatch teams of volunteers into local schools. At a teacher’s behest, we will send the requested number of tutors into any classroom around the city, to provide one-on-one assistance to students as they tackle various projects — school newspapers, research papers, oral histories, basic writing assignments, and college entrance essays. At Everett Middle School in San Francisco, we even have our own Writers’ Room where every student in the school is served by 826 volunteers and at 826NYC students can get extra help with homework at their writers' room located in the Brooklyn Public Library.

826 offers free workshops that provide in-depth writing instruction in a variety of areas that schools often cannot include in their curriculum, such as writing college entrance essay writing, cartooning, bookmaking, SAT preparation, writing a play, or starting a ’zine. All workshops are project-based and are taught by experienced, accomplished professionals. Connecting inner-city students with these creative and generous mentors allows students to dream and achieve on a grand scale.

At our founding site, 826 Valencia, we award three $10,000 scholarships each spring for students entering college the upcoming fall.

* The applicant must be a graduating senior.
* The applicant must demonstrate financial need.
* The applicant must live in the Bay Area.
* The applicant must demonstrate intent to enroll in an institution of higher learning, which could be a 2- or 4-year college or vocational school.
* The applicant should have an extracurricular interest in the written word.

For more details visit: http://www.826national.org/about/


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.