Frequently Asked Questions

How did 826 National start?
826’s first chapter, 826 Valencia, opened its doors in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2002. Author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari co-founded 826 Valencia as a place where students, parents, and families from the under-resourced schools nearby could access after-school tutoring, workshops, field trips, and writing programs — all free of charge. Soon after, 826NYC and 826LA opened their doors in Brooklyn and Echo Park to offer the same programs to their communities. Due to the popularity of the model and the opening of four additional chapters, Eggers and Calegari then co-founded 826 National in 2008 to support the existing chapters and manage the opening of future chapters.

Where are the current 826 chapters?
Check out our chapters page to read about our network of seven chapters located in Ann Arbor/Detroit/Ypsilanti, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

What does it mean to be an 826 chapter?
The seven chapters of 826 National are bound by a chapter affiliation agreement. This agreement defines the relationship between each chapter and 826 National, outlines 826 National’s standards, and also details what each 826 core program entails. Only official chapters are allowed to use the 826 name.

Can we use the 826 name either during our planning process or as a part of the name of our potential organization?
The 826 name can only be used by official chapters, such as 826NYC and 826CHI. It cannot be used as a “place holder” name for individuals meeting to discuss a particular community’s needs or proposed projects. 826 is a registered trademark and the use of names and logos are limited to chapters. If you have started a new writing or tutoring center in you community, please avoid group names such as 826 San Francisco and substitute San Francisco Writing Center or something unique and creative instead. However, feel free to refer to your exploration and plans as inspired by 826 Valencia or other nonprofits that move you to make a difference in your community. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to let us know what your organization is doing. We’re always inspired to hear from other educators and writers!

Can I visit an 826 chapter to learn more about the work you do?
Since 2008, the 826 National office has coordinated visits through our 101 Seminars, during which 826 enthusiasts and community leaders from around the world visit our writing lab and learn how we do what we do. Check out the link above to see when the next seminar is and sign up!

How do you train your volunteers?
Each chapter offers trainings for its volunteers that are tailored to each specific program:

  • For after school tutoring, volunteers learn best practices for tutoring students including keeping students inspired, tackling tough assignments, finishing homework, and forging a positive bond.
  • Training for tutoring English Language Learners focuses on learning techniques and tools for how to meet the more complex needs of those students who are learning English as a second language.
  • For field trips, volunteers learn best practices for working with a full class, fielding difficult questions or suggestions, drawing out quiet students, and keeping the experience fun and productive.
  • For workshops, volunteers develop new workshop ideas, refine class schedules and goals, rework rough drafts of lesson plans, and receive general tips for teaching.
  • In the Young Authors’ Book Project trainings, volunteers learn the ins and outs of 826 book projects — from tips for working with students one-on-one to helping students edit their writing, to handling questionable material that students write.

I want to help! How can I support your work?
Thanks for your interest in 826 National! If you live in the same town as an existing 826 chapter, consider volunteering, or, if you’re in San Francisco, consider interning with us. We also encourage those that can to donate money or supplies. (It’s tax deductible!)

What if I still have questions?
Send any questions to information@826national.org and we will try our best to help. Thanks for your patience!