826LA is really something special. Kids leave feeling inspired, and volunteers do, too. It's all about creativity and using writing to empower children in school and in life. Also they have a Time Travel Mart. A TIME TRAVEL MART!
826LA does a wonderful job helping elementary, middle and high school students fulfill their potential as writers and students. The organization provides after-school tutoring for students in a fun, supportive environment. It sends volunteers into high school classrooms to work one-on-one with students on their writing--something their over-taxed teachers do not have time to do. It organizes cultural field trips for students that have a writing component. The organization also provides outstanding fun and educational summer programs for ESL students. Adults with writing skills are able to use those skills in a direct, effective way by volunteering with 826LA.
826LA makes writing and homework less daunting, even fun, for kids, and while it isn't its mission, it makes working with kids less daunting, and definitely fun, for adults. For adults who want to work with kids (or think they might), there are volunteer opportunities of all sorts, at a variety of times throughout the week, and there is solid training to get started and plenty of support at each project. Most volunteers come in for after-school or evening tutoring for students in the community, but some go to nearby schools to help with writing projects, or assist with morning field trips to the center where each student in a class writes and publishes a book in a matter of hours. The center has a quirky atmosphere, which seems to bring out the best in students and volunteers alike. Personally, I have loved volunteering at high-need schools helping high school seniors write their college admissions essays. There is potential for tremendous impact on a student's life in even just 30 minutes of one-on-one discussion about this important piece of writing. I try to inspire the students I meet to push themselves as writers, and many of the stories they share are inspiring to me.
I absolutely LOVE 826LA. They provide their tutors and volunteers with all of the tools they need to make their sessions with students the most effective and productive for the students' benefit. There are all kinds of opportunities available both weekends and weekdays, and there are even evening tutoring sessions available for those who can't make it during "business hours." I can't say enough good things about 826LA - I'm a fan!