In the 826 National Network, we believe that writing is an act of joy and freedom. Through our pencils, pens, markers, and keyboards, we can conjure universes, build understanding and empathy, and catalyze change. As our communities are sheltered in place to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19, we know that our students are experiencing any number of feelings right now. They may be anxious, overwhelmed, bored, full of ideas, stuck, grateful, uncertain— all feelings that writing can help process.
This is why we believe now is a good time to write, and why we’re providing community, encouragement, and resources, to help young people write and publish through the A Good Time to Write project:
Community: Share your work with the world.
We’re building a writing community with students anywhere. We’re sharing student writing online and through video readings from well-known friends, amplifying the essential voices of young people in this historical moment. Students can submit your writing here and it could be published in our writing gallery, posted on our social media, shared with frontline healthcare and food workers, and celebrated by guest authors in YouTube videos.
Encouragement: Ignite a spark.
Through the #agoodtimetowrite video series you’ll find videos that encourage writing from 826’s friends like Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the US Amanda Gorman and author Daniel Handler (often mistaken for Lemony Snicket). You’ll also find lessons and prompts from 826 chapter staff from across the country. We’re sharing these videos on our social media and collecting them on our YouTube channel.
Resources: Hone your ideas.
We know educators, parents, and students need support writing during this shift to remote learning. On 826 Digital, our ever-growing free collection of powerful writing resources, you’ll find remote learning kits for quick downloads, writing prompts to help students process the moment, tools to write letters to community members in the frontlines of this crisis, guidance during National Poetry Month, and much more.
We’re highlighting all of the #agoodtimetowrite’s resources on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’ll also keep you posted on what’s new throughout the pandemic through 826 National’s monthly newsletter, as well as 826 Digital’s weekly newsletter for parents and educators.
Want to dig more deeply into our resources? You can find more tools to inspire, deepen, and amplify student writing at https://826national.org/agoodtimetowrite/. You can also search #agoodtimetowrite on social media for a chorus of voices, including 826 chapters, sharing their good work with writing in this moment. Add to the chorus by posting yourself!
The need for these resources is vast, and is made possible through the generosity of people like you. We’ve launched The 826 Today and Tomorrow Fund to support this work for the tens of thousands of students and teachers learning at home today, and to enable 826 Network chapters to be prepared for the moment when students once again fill our schools and youth writing centers. We know there is a lot of need in our communities in this unprecedented moment, and we deeply appreciate your consideration of a donation of any size at this link.
As the largest youth writing network in the country, 826 works towards a nation in which the power of writing is accessible to every student in every classroom. Though our learning spaces look very different these days, our mission remains the same. Our students share necessary and too-often underrepresented stories of community and lived experiences, outline indispensable visions for change, and remind us that creativity and wonder are boundless. We believe their voices are needed now more than ever.
Let’s take care, stay safe, and write on.