As you may have read in our blog post last week, we worked closely with film director Dennis Liu to produce our “Id3a01ogy” video series as part of a larger “Free The Ideas” campaign. Since then, we received some questions from people wanting to know more about “Free The Ideas” so we’re excited to bring to light the experiences of some of the people featured in these videos.
They’re from 826 National, a network of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students with expository and creative writing. Here’s what one member had to share about growing network of 826 chapters and his time in the spotlight with Office for Mac:
Since the founding of the original 826 Valencia writing center in 2002, fostering creative and whimsical spaces for students to get excited about learning has been a critical component of our work. When students walk into 826 Valencia in San Francisco, they’re not greeted by posters of sentence diagrams but by the curiosities of the Pirate Supply Store. After they pass through the store, they come to the writing lab. Designed to feel not like a classroom space but the inside of an old pirate ship, 826 Valencia’s student workspace is overflowing with books, inspiration, and dedicated staff and volunteers ready to roll up their sleeves and help. This same setup has been replicated, under multiple themes, in each of our eight writing centers across the country, reaching more than 24,000 students a year. We infuse our rigorous programming with fantasy and play so that students feel welcome and inspired to use their imaginations and work hard.
Our collaborations with technology partners, including Microsoft, help these atmospheres thrive. Our emphasis is on project-based learning, wherein programs end with a tangible product like a book or a movie – something students can take home with them at the end of the day and show their families and friends. We can’t do this without platforms that allow us to develop, design, and publish these works. When students know they can see their work in a bookstore or online, it empowers them, excites them, and encourages them to come back again and again.
It’s an exciting time for 826. Our newest chapter, 826DC, is just opening its doors this fall. As we grow, we look to technological innovations as means for us to share ideas across all of our chapters and to harness the creative ideas that pour from our students’ imaginations.
-Ryan Lewis, Operations Manager, 826 National
Don’t forget to check out the new “Free The Ideas” tab on our Facebook page and stay tuned for more on our work with 826 National!