News & Events

Summer Programming (Already!)

February 1st—

Community groups and local partners interested in collaborating during summer 2016—please visit our Partnership Request Form and let us know what you have in mind! The deadline to submit a partnership request for programs beginning in June, July, or August 2016 is Friday, March 18th. We can't wait to hear from you!

DNAinfo Coverage: Monster Book Project

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January 27th—

"Young people are just the smartest and weirdest people I know,” [volunteer] Parsons-Twesten said. “They’re so creative at this age, and it’s the same time the world is starting to tell them it’s not OK to be weird. When [826CHI] comes in and tells them to be creative, you see them light up with a nonstop stream of awesome ideas.”

DNAinfo Chicago​ covered our Young Authors Book Project, which features the Monster stories of 5th grade students at Brentano Elementary. CLICK HERE to read the piece. Thanks for the coverage, friends!

Speakers & Snacks

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January 27th—

This week, ASTW #SpeakersAndSnacks welcomed two Chicago actors,  Liz Bagby, a regular 826CHI volunteer, and her colleague Matt Holzfiend to share their theatrical prowess and stories of the stage with our students.

Both Matt and Liz discussed their love of stories and how acting allows them to creatively explore what it’s like to be someone else. Of course, our students were a bit starstruck and eager to learn about both actors’ experiences with stage plays, film, and television. They explained the differences between acting for stage and film, along with the process of auditions and rehearsals. Matt also treated our students to a Shakespearean monologue, complete with swashbuckling sword-fighting moves!

Both actors told students how they could benefit from joining theatre while young, even if they don’t want to make acting a career.  By participating in theatre students can increase their confidence, learn how to speak in public, and practice collaborating with a team—all important skills on and off the stage.

In addition to their drama chops, Matt and Liz are accomplished musicians. They closed out their time with our students by playing a duet both actors composed a few years back.

Thank you Matt and Liz, for inspiring our students to dream big and embrace their creativity!

“Who Wants Love?” Screen Print Show

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January 11th—

When she was in 4th grade, 826CHI student Quinn W penned the now-legendary poem, Who Wants Love? (watch her read it on-camera—now an 8th grader—here!). This piece has been read before the Library of Congress, on first dates, inside the White House, and as part of at least three weddings...and now, a one-of-a-kind screen printed poster, inspired by Quinn's insightful and heartwarming words, could be yours!

A Who Wants Love? Pop Up Print Show is Monday, February 8th, 2016 at Workshop Chicago, from 6-10pm. Twenty Chicago designers and illustrators have crafted original, 8x10" screen printed posters, all inspired by this beautiful, whimsical story about love. Entrance to the show is free and all sales and donations will benefit the creative writing programs of 826CHI, so that many, many more magnificent poems can be written by our young authors. Posters are $20, but holding a token of 826CHI history is (as the cliché suggests) priceless. RSVP here!

Love is a great thing because it’s made out of hearts and beauty and prettiness and handsomeness and awesomeness. And POW!
   Loves goes slow. Love is ridiculous. Love is fast like a pony with a wizard costume on and a green mustache. Love is sad. Love is crazy. Love is around the world. Love is a deck of cards. Family Love is happy and cool—boyfriend and girlfriend love is yuck and nasty.
   When it comes to love, a man has to have a job, a good diploma, and has to have an eight-pack. And he has to cook and has to look handsome. He probably has to be in his thirties.

“The State of Stories” - Special Topic Training for Volunteers

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January 8th—

Volunteers! Join 826CHI for our two-part “Vol/loquium” special topic training, “The State of Stories,” which will focus on the convergence of civic engagement, violence in youth writing, and our work as writing mentors.

>> (1/29, 5:30-7pm) PART 1 is in collaboration with the national poetry and storytelling project The People’s State of the Union, where we’ll paralell the POTUS’s State of the Union address with stories of our own, as they relate to writing, citizenship, and working with young people.

>> (1/30, 1-3pm) PART 2 is a round-table discussion about how to respond when violence comes up in students’ writing. We’re revising our blanket NO VIOLENCE policy to better reflect the reality of our students' experience with violence and want your input. Join us as we raise questions, discuss best practices, and consider our roles as compassionate and responsible writing coaches.

Please RSVP on the volunteer calendar. We hope to see you!

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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.

Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, weekend workshops, in-schools tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their individual voice.


826CHI shares its space with The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co.—run by the neighborhood's only spy supplyists—which outfits its spy-entele with the latest and greatest in espionagical wares. All funds raised through sales in the store go to support 826CHI's free programming. Visit us in Wicker Park and pick up a fresh grappling hook, carrier pigeon, envelope X-ray spray, hollowed-out can of shaving cream, or weather-resistant notebook, or shop online