Help 3,000 DC Youth Find Their Voice

Oct 15, 2013

Fall 2013 Report

During the 2012-2013 school year, 826DC hosted a number of storytelling and bookmaking field trips, author visits, and writing workshops for local DCPS students, and provided homework and writing assistance during our after-school tutoring program. With the help of a dedicated group of interns and volunteers, writers, and teaching artists, we were able to keep students engaged and excited throughout the school year.

            This fall started off strongly when a record 41 students attended the first day of after-school tutoring. We had 114 students register and were at capacity with an average of 35 students coming to after-school tutoring four days a week. Reading All Stars, our Saturday one-on-one reading program at Tubman Elementary School, served 65 students each week. Students read with their tutors and received help with reading and writing skills.

            This past year, we hosted 62 Field Trips, including 52 Storytelling & Bookmaking field trips for and 10 author visits, with 1550 students from 30 different schools. During our Storytelling and Bookmaking field trips, a class of students comes to 826DC to collectively write, edit, and illustrate their own books in the span of two hours. Each student takes home a copy of the finished product. In December, we also hosted our first Storytelling & Bookmaking field trip in Spanish with a class from Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, and since then have hosted 10 more for Oyster and other bilingual schools in the District.

            Our in-school sessions have also been in high demand. Last fall, through the Embassy Adoption Program, we worked with three different 5th grade classes at Aiton, Miner, and Thomson elementary schools. The classes worked on articles to a newsletter about the experience of partnering with the Embassies of Japan, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia. We also provided two second-grade classes at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School with a six-week series of creative writing lessons in partnership with two service-learning classes from the George Washington University. The college students worked with the second graders one-on-one and published their work on a blog (

            Our in-school programs have not been limited to elementary school students. Last fall, we worked with sophomores and juniors in the Simon Scholars program at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School – Parkside Campus on essay writing skills. We also provided 60 students with an in-school college application personal statement writing workshop at Cardozo High School and Duke Ellington School for the Arts.

            In addition, we launched the fifth iteration of our flagship program, the Young Authors’ Book Project. We worked with two English classes at Wilson HS, the poetry club at Ballou HS, and a journalism class at Duke Ellington School for the Arts. In November, the participating students at Wilson HS wrote novels for National Novel Writing Month and excerpts from these novels were published in our student anthology. We started our work with Ballou and Duke Ellington in January. Students from the Ballou poetry club contributed poetry, and the students from Duke Ellington contributed nonfiction essays to the anthology. The anthology titled The Weight of the Day Surrounds My Body was released May 22. We were very excited to have award-winning author Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, contribute the forward for the book. We also created a podcast that is available online with poems from students and interviews with local poets.

            Over the summer we hosted multiple field trips for summer school and summer camp classes, writing workshops and provided drop-in tutoring and writing help. Thanks to our dedicated group of interns and volunteers, we were able to keep students engaged and enthusiastic about writing. We held different summer weekend workshops on Saturdays in July and August. At these workshops students worked on a different writing activity. Some of the writing activities included writing a “how to” guide to writing a short story for their pets. In the summer months were served more than 250 students.

This past summer we also collaborated with DCSCORES for our Who am I? photo workshop from July 23rd to July 25th. This workshop is a worked with elementary school-aged students on their storytelling and narration skills. We partnered with professional photographer Joshua Cogan for this project. Students looked at fantasy (photo-shopped) portraits of themselves and wrote a story to match the picture. The final pictures and stories were featured on our website. Overall, we served 2,820 students this school year through our various programs. 


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Washington, DC, United States

Project Leader

Joe Callahan

Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Help 3,000 DC Youth Find Their Voice