Mission: 826CHI is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
Geographic areas served: Chicago
Programs: After school tutoring and writing: it is our belief that great leaps in learing happen when students receive individual attention, which is why 826chi offers free drop-in tutoring monday - thursday from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm during the school year. While the main focus of the majority of our programs in writing, our volunteer tutors are able to work one-on-one with students on their homework in any subject. Each day, however, begins with a trip to the writing tables, where students respond to a creative writing prompt. Every six weeks students revise one piece of writing, which is then published in a chapbook. Families and community members are invited to join us as we celebrate the release of each chapbook with a student reading. After-school tutoring and writing would not be possible without hundreds of volunteers who commit their time each year.
field trip: on weekday mornings, we welcome classes from schools accross the city for creative field trips hosted on-site, where we work with students to create original compelling stories in just a couple of hours. 826chi can work with teachers to design custom field trips that compliment their curriculum, but in most cases we offer a standard menu of field trip options: memoir writing, images and imagination, choose your own adventure and our most popular field trip, storytelling and bookmaking. During the latter, students are charged with the task of writing a story for admiral moody, our cranky, never seen publisher. Students work as a group, aided by our enthusiastic 826chi volunteers to decide on the characters, setting and plot, until the story reaches a cliffhanger moment - at which point each student writes their own original ending, satisfying the demands of admiral moody. In the end, each student leaves with a bound copy of their own story complete with their author photo. This field trip teaches students about collaborating, self-editing, the bookmaking process and elements of successful storytelling. And it's really a good time for all.
in school support: while we strive to make our center available and accessible to students throughout the community, it is sometimes difficult for students to make it to our programs during the day. Thanks to our amazing dedicatin of our volunteers, we are able to make it to them. Groups of volunteers are available to work one-on-one with students to provide guidance and feedback for research and writing projects, including literary journals, newpaper articles and college application essays. We work with teachers throughout the year in projects of varying length - from a couple of weeks to an entire semester - to support their writing and literacy curriculum. During 2010, 826chi provided 1,214 students with writing support in the classroom.
education, general/other: tutor children ages 6 to 18 in their creative and expository writing skills
826CHI is one of the most impressive organizations I have ever seen in action. The staff are some of the hardest working and enthusiastic people I have ever met with the added bonus of being funny, inventive and just plain unstoppable. The volunteers are a class by themselves in their dedication and versatility. The organization works with thousands of children each year during after school tutoring, in-school sessions, field trips to the 826CHI center itself and writing workshops on weekends. The student written publications are great reading for all ages - hilarious, surreal, touching and sometimes wise beyond the author's years - and are a tangible accomplishment for the young writers who are included. Also, using the TOWL, 826CHI has evaluated its programming and shown that what 826CHI does makes children better writers, period.