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Finding a natural solution

Charity Spotlight: 826 National

826 National

Photo courtesy 826 National

This issue’s charity: 826 National

Why they’re crucial: According to the National Summer Learning Association, for every one line of print read by low-income children during the summer, middle-income children read three. 826 National, a network of writing and tutoring centers, is working to close that gap. Located in seven cities across the U.S., each 826 center provides individualized attention to the low-income youth involved in its programs. 826 centers also work with a dedicated team of volunteers to develop, host and run its core programs, which encourage a love of creativity, writing and learning. All programs are free of charge and aim to use the power of creativity and personalized academic support to transform a student’s relationship with writing.

In addition, the writing centers are each fronted by unique, themed stores (such as a magic shop in Washington, D.C., and a superhero supply store in Brooklyn) that generate revenue and interest from curious visitors.

What they do: 

• Run creative writing and tutoring centers in Boston; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Detroit/Ann Arbor; New York City; and San Francisco.
• Design and host creative writing workshops for low-income elementary, middle school and high school students.
• Partner local schools with professional writers and editors for the Young Authors' Book Project, a three- to four-month project guiding students through the writing, editing and publishing process.
• Create resources for educators and parents to encourage creativity in the classroom.

Did you know...

• 90% of white-collar workers and 80 percent of blue-collar workers say that writing is important to job success.
• 826 served more than 30,000 students during the 2014 to 2015 school year, and ran 208 in-school projects in 72 schools.
• 86 percent of 826’s after-school tutoring students say the writing centers have helped them become better writers.
• Students who cannot effectively communicate thoughts and ideas through writing are more likely to receive lower grades.

How we can help: Throughout the duration of this issue, we’re collecting donations to this important charity. To join our efforts, visit Or mail donations directly to 826 National, 44 Gough St., Ste. 206, San Francisco, CA 94103. Include the fundraiser name, Mother Earth Living Gives Back, on the envelope or check, if you wish. It’s our goal to collect $2,500 for 826 National.