Twenty years ago, 826 opened its first writing & tutoring center, 826 Valencia, in San Francisco, CA.

Co-founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari, 826 was started to provide access to writing education to students K-12 through after-school tutoring, creative writing programs, and student work publications. Today, the 826 Network has grown to nine chapters across the country and online at 826 Digital.

Recently, Dave, Ninive, and 826 Valencia Executive Director, Bita Nazarian, talked to San Francisco’s NPR station, KQED, on 826’s beginnings and the importance of celebrating student work.

“From the beginning, Ninive and I thought we had to honor student work,” said Dave. “I mean, students were writing poems, writing short stories, writing their own narratives, and we wanted to codify them, make them worthy of being in a library, sold in stores, give them the professional treatment to honor the work and amplify.”

“What happens also when we celebrate the book after is the youth walks around at least 10 feet tall. Becoming a published author is an incredibly big deal,” Ninive shared.

Watch the full interview below: 

Dave, Ninive, Bita, and 826 Valencia alum and board member, Bianca Catalan, also joined KQED reporter, Alexis Adrigal, to share how 826 uplifts student voices and on 826 Valencia’s programming.

To hear students read their work and learn more about 826 Valencia, click here

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