News & Events

Fall Workshop Update

October 28th—

826CHI's fall Workshops are off to a fabulous start! So far, we've hosted a a "Meet the Author" session with Jessie Ann Foley, author of The Carnival at Bray, and a volunteer-led slam poetry Workshop entitled Write, Snap, Slam. We're also thrilled to partner with Chicago Public Library's One Book, One Chicago program, leading "Superheroes of the Imagination" Workshops at their Greater Grand Crossing and Gage Park branches. Last weekend, we welcomed folks from The Empowerment Project, who led a Workshop inspired by their film that asks the question, "What would you do if you weren't afraid to fail?" And! In the coming weeks, we'll host a zine-making Workshop and kick off the year with our Youth Advisory Board scholars. For timely updates of what our volunteers and students are up to, visit 826CHI's Facebook page.


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October 23rd—

Stay tuned this fall as we present a brand-new project, #INTERNviews, designed to share news of our amazing, incredible, unbelievably talented interns with YOU.

This week, Megan and Brian discuss which memories they'd bottle up forever, their required reading for everyone on the planet, and "feeling rawish pink; on the verge of weeping."

Name: Megan Lantz
Code Name: Mooch
Intern track and future goals: Programming Intern - I hope to one day be an elementary school teacher and published novelist.
Your favorite word: Defenestrate

If you got to make one book required reading for everyone on the planet, what book would you choose? Why? I would choose The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I never got to read it in high school, but I read it in an afternoon my freshman year in a coffee shop and sobbed. It's incredibly written and a true coming of age story. I read it at the beginning of each year of college now and always take something new away from it.

If you could bottle up a memory and re-experience it fully each time you uncorked the bottle, which memory would you choose? What color is it, when it's inside the bottle? My first night in Paris! We were walking over the Seine on a bridge and the Eiffel Tower lit up and started twinkling and glowing. I'd wanted to go to Paris for so, so long and to just be there and see it that way for the first time was incredible and overwhelming. I cried - tears of happiness, of course. It would be purple.

6-word memoir: I left my heart in Paris.

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Name: Brian Dragon Martin
Code Name: Gabo #2
Intern track and future goals: Programming Intern with ends in mastering liberatory pedagogy, emphasizing process over product, and thus becoming a SUPER secondary school teacher (minus the certification heh heh heh).
Your favorite word: Taco

If you got to make one book required reading for everyone on the planet, what book would you choose? Why? The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers by Bhanu Kapil, because it unpacks all the traumas of Indian women, of colonized people, and makes me feel rawish pink and on the verge of weeping.

If you could bottle up a memory and re-experience it fully each time you uncorked the bottle, which memory would you choose? What color is it, when it's inside the bottle? For the twentieth time, my dad turns from an open door: "This is the first day of the rest of our lives." Oregon is green and pale blue, so the liquid would be green and pale blue-- it's a coke bottle, glass.

6-word memoir: Today, there are not enough hours.

826CHI’s Compendium on Tiny Bold’s Blog

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October 20th—

826CHI's Compendium Volume IV was featured on Tiny Bold Creative's blog! Learn more about the book's atlas-inspired design, featuring beautiful watercolor paintings by Marnie Galloway of Monkey-Rope Press HERE >>


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October 14th—

Tuesday, October 14th marked the first day of After-School Tutoring & Writing in our new digs. There's still plenty of decorating and nesting to be done, but the minute our students walked through the door, 1276 N Milwaukee felt like home. Check out the pictures here >>

Virtual Tutoring Kickoff

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October 7th—

This evening, to kick off our Virtual Tutoring program, 826CHI volunteers met with 90 Pritzker College Prep sophomores and juniors for an evening of pizza and icebreakers.

Each week, via the magic of Google docs, our volunteers will provide these students with personalized, detailed feedback on their AP World History essays, becoming an integral part of an expanded feedback loop that includes not just their teachers, but a wider community of people who care. Increased performance over the past few years has confirmed that this kind of support results in phenomenally higher AP test scores and more confident writers.

And, just so you know: If these students could share a meal with any historical figure, living or dead, they’d choose the likes of Andre the Giant, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Stalin—and they’d ALL deem tacos their cuisine of choice.

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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 drop-in tutoring, after-school 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 his or her individual voice.


826CHI shares its space with the Boring Store, Chicago’s premiere secret agent supply store. The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. (coming fall 2014!) outfits its spy-entele with the latest and greatest in espionagical wares. 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. All funds raised through the store go to support 826CHI’s free programming.