"My time at 826CHI taught me to value thoughts and trust my voice. There is something so powerful about a community of young writers. I feel that that experience fueled my confidence in my writing but also in myself as a person worth sharing her story."

— Kara Kowalski, student, 826Chicago

At 826 we understand the power of a good story. We know what it is like to read or create a great story. Similarly, the mission of the 826 National Research Team is to help 826 tell its data story, showing the impact of our work on students first and foremost, and also on educators and the communities we work with. We research to measure the impact of our programs network-wide and locally at each chapter. Through our research process, we support the continual improvement of our evidence-based programs, identify best practices as well as lessons learned, and disseminate our findings to the larger field. We tell our data story not just to strengthen our work but also to help move the field of writing education forward.


Students Served


Total Instructional hours


Educators served via 826 Digital


Student publications


Teaching Artists


Educator collaborators


Active Volunteers


Students of color


Students from low-income families

We design our programs to provide meaningful student experiences that help them to grow in the following areas: voice, writing skills, and social-emotional learning. For more detail, take a look at our Theory of Change.

Voice Writing skills Social-emotional learning

I feel safe at 826.

their child receives better grades in school with the help of 826.

their students are engaged in the program .

“826, by design, is a creative space, and the ethos of 826 centers is to encourage creativity. Within 826, there is a ‘culture of creativity’ driven by a set of norms which infuse daily activity, from the tone set by staff to the way in which tutors work with students to the inventiveness of young people once given the okay to explore.

These norms include: experimentation and risk-taking for student writing; respect for diversity of learning styles; honoring diversity of opinion, race, ethnicity and culture; and experimentation for tutors in working with students on homework and writing.”

~Arbor Consulting Partners

After-School Tutoring Evaluation

In October 2013, 826 National contracted Arbor Consulting Partners to conduct a national study on the impact of the 826 network’s after-school tutoring (AST) program on participating students.

Young Authors’ Book Project Evaluation

Beginning in the fall of 2012, Arbor Consulting Partners observed and evaluated one of the network’s hallmark programs, the Young Author’s Book Project. The evaluation was conducted with a group of 826 Boston students out of the Boston International High School.

Independent Reports

Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts

In the fall of 2013, the Wallace Foundation featured 826 National (along with 826NYC and 826 Valencia) as one of eight “exemplary” after-school programs. Contained in their report and research are the ten success principles they outlined as contributing to highly effective programs.

The stories below illuminate narratives of a few inspirational, key players across the 826 network who contribute to our mission in different ways. Written by independent researcher/evaluator, Mindy Fried, PhD, of Arbor Consulting Partners, “826 Stories” share perspectives from teachers, students, volunteers, and staff.


Marisa Urrutia Gedney | EDUCATOR. LEADER. MENTOR.

Marisa Urrutia Gedney’s story highlights how she evolved in her role at 826 to eventually become a Director of Education at 826LA. Marisa reflects on the importance of making an impact on a community you feel deeply connected to, the … Continue reading


In the spring of 2015, seventh and eighth-grade teacher Jenn De Leon partnered with 826 Boston on their Young Authors’ Book Project (YABP). Her involvement with 826 during this project is explored in this story. As an author herself, Jenn … Continue reading


Rashawnda Williams is just one of the many students that came to 826 and blossomed into an empowered writer. She shares about discovering her passion for spoken word, becoming a Youth Writing Ambassador, and the role 826 played in her … Continue reading

Miles Portek | 826NYC Volunteer

826NYC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our belief that great leaps in learning can … Continue reading