Education, writing advocacy, and personal empowerment
are important to us, which is why
we’re proud to support 826LA.
826LA is the local arm of a nationwide nonprofit youth writing and tutoring organization, whose mission is to support students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, as well as make a direct impact within the classroom by helping teachers get their classes excited about writing. 826LA provides a diverse array of stimulating programs, including drop-in tutoring, unique workshops, in-school volunteer support, class field trips, and guidance toward student publication–all free of charge. 826’s programs end with a finished product, whether it’s a newspaper, chapbook, film, or college application essay. In the words of 826 National, this project-based learning, “encourages students to collaborate and make creative decisions, and gives them ownership over the learning process.” For more information, visit www.826la.org or the national site at www.826national.org.
From Vanessa: “Every Wednesday from 8-11am, November 2011-February 2012, I volunteered with 826LA as an in-school tutor for their ninth Young Authors’ Book Project with three classes of juniors at the Academic Leadership Community, a high school near downtown Los Angeles. The students in Mr. Molnar’s class were reading The Catcher in the Rye, and they’d decided to use themes within the book as a launching point to sharing similar personal stories about growing up — in a published book. For most of the students (if not all), life had offered them little to no successful experiences with writing up until this point, and so the challenge was met with some obvious reluctance. Still, student authors reached back into the past to a time of yearning for something: an object, experience, entitlement–that when cracked open, revealed an essential human need: courage, acceptance, respect, love, safety, control, friendship, imagination, or joy from those who are at the center of our young worlds: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and, always, ourselves. The end of the journey marked not only an impressive summation of rewrites, but also a Re-“Vision” of themselves; a realization of the importance and connectivity of their many experiences, challenges, and lessons: the need to be tough, to receive approval, to do well, to be loved, to show courage in the face of danger or cruelty; also, resourcefulness, self-confidence, and, of course, the essential question of Identity. I was so proud of this group of young adults for mustering the guts to tell the truth, in order to understand and be understood. And when they stood up to share their stories in front of friends, family and peers at The Last Bookstore, I could see the pride well up in their eyes. It was a moment they would never forget.
I invite you to read A Ring of Sunshine Around the Moon and witness 74 marvelous eclipses of the heart.”