826 Seattle Programs
Four afternoons per week we welcome students to drop in and receive help on any homework, projects or to provide a place for students to read or pursue any studious quests. Additionally we invite them to engage in a variety of enrichment activities and clubs that include supplemental writing help. 826 Seattle addresses a number of community needs with this program: we encourage successful homework completion and literacy in a fun, interactive environment for young people, we connect adult community members with children, and we combat the issue of young people with no productive place to spend their time immediately after school while their parents work. We are especially appreciated by the large immigrant community in our neighborhood.
We send trained volunteers into the schools to support the work of teachers teaching writing in the classroom. It is difficult for any teacher with a full class to appropriately guide, edit and support the learning of each student. Our volunteers help young students develop their thoughts around assignments, help shape stories, review grammar and inspire these young writers.
We invite teachers to bring their classes to us for theatrical writing experiences in our writing lab. Students create stories collaboratively, each adding an original ending. The volunteers who help on these field trips include actors who act out scenes from plays created by the students and artists who make illustrations. Each book is 'published' using our bookbinding machine. The students leave with a lovely book under their arms and the feeling that they are, indeed, writers.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
826 Seattle opened its doors in the fall of 2005. Within two short years we were nominated and won the prestigious Golden Apple Award. This award is given to individuals and programs across the State of Washington that provide outstanding opportunities in education for the children of Washington State. In November 2011, 826 Seattle was one of twelve organizations in the nation to be awarded the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. This is the foremost youth arts and humanities education award in the United States. Executive Director Teri Hein and a youth representative travelled to Washington, D.C. to accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
826 Seattle runs on a very lean budget, especially for an organization that assists so many young people. This is thanks to the generosity of hundreds of volunteers as well as our commitment to maintaining a cost-effective program. We are, however, committed to fair wages and health care for our three full-time and eight part-time employees. Our critical need in this time of economic difficulty is simply general support to help us keep doing what we are doing so well.