About 826DC

826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.


Our Mission

826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.

826DC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation based in the District of Columbia. Our tax ID number is 26-2426166.

Great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention. Click To Tweet

Our Story

Our staff and trained volunteers collaborate with teachers to create project-based learning opportunities appropriate for their specific classroom needs and educational goals. At risk for a zombie apocalypse? We’ve got a writing workshop lesson plan for that. Running for Kid President? We can help students craft their platforms.

We also work closely with teachers to design new workshops and long-term projects to suit specific content-areas, special curriculum units, interdisciplinary projects, and after-school programs.

Read about The 826 Stand.

Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company

Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company is the District’s only illusionarium and de-lux haberdashery. The storefront stocks everything a budding magician needs to embark on a path to mastery, from Stage Fright Antidote to our Micro Escapes (for starting a career in escapology). Every purchase makes real magic happen– in the writing center beyond the secret door.

826 National

826DC’s programs are modeled after those at 826 Valencia, the inspiration for the 826 National network. 826 National now counts seven organizational affiliates among its members, including 826DC, throughout the United States. 826 National was co-founded by author Dave Eggers and by veteran educator Ninive Calegari, whose experience as a teacher shaped the 826 model. To find out more about 826 locations in other cities, visit the 826 National website. 826 has chapters around the country including: 826Michigan, 826Valencia, 826Chi, 826NYC, 826Boston, 826 New Orleans, and 826LA.

Our Team of Magic-makers

Executive Director

Zachary Clark


Zachary has worked in the youth development, education, and arts sectors throughout the U.S. Prior to joining 826DC, he served as the Director of Early Learning at Sitar Arts Center and led youth-oriented programming in collaboration with DC-based organizations including the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. His research work through Project Zero focuses on the intersection of youth’s creative productions and digital media, and has been published in Creativity Research Journal. He holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a B.A. in American Literature and Visual Arts from Brown University, and certification in non-profit management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Zachary is a poor but diligent runner, renowned doughnut enthusiast, and forever aspiring limericist.


Director of Development

Areesah Mobley


Areesah Mobley has been working in nonprofit development since 2005 for organizations that promote human services, human rights, and youth development. A graduate of George Mason University in Communications, Areesah joins us from Martha’s Table, where she held several roles, including Grant Writer, Executive Assistant and Assistant Director of Development. Before Martha’s Table, she was Director of Development at Kid Power, Inc., and Development Officer at the Marijuana Policy Project. Areesah spent many years in the performing arts, including dance, music, and theater, and is a black belt in Shaolin Wu-Shu.

Development Systems Specialist - AmeriCorps VISTA

Brandi Shorts


Brandi has worked as a fiction editor of the national undergraduate literary anthology plain china. She recently served with Reading Partners DC as an AmeriCorps Site Coordinator. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a bachelors in English Literature and Creative Writing. In her free time, Brandi is usually at an art gallery, at a show, or sleeping. She enjoys designing small chapbooks and zines. She is currently learning about educational software development using MOOCs and self-paced resources.

Deputy Store Manager

Cedric Brown


A public relations exec from 9-5, Cedric comes from Detroit, MI, where he volunteered as a freelance consultant for local youth-serving nonprofits for five years; this while balancing full-time jobs doing marketing, PR, social media, and digital analytics. His success leading nonprofits’ PR and social media strategies led him to DC, but not before earning his master’s degree in PR from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Using his combination of professional experiences – and improv skills – Cedric provides an enjoyable experience for our customers at Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Co. When not working, you can catch Cedric at a movie, concert, game, or hitting bombs at social softball leagues.

In-School Programs Manager

Before joining 826DC, Cris Lee worked as a resident teacher at a DC public charter school. Prior to this experience, Cris served for two years in City Year Detroit, an AmeriCorps program, as both a Corps member and a Team Leader. He has a BA in English Writing with a minor in Biology from DePauw University, and a Master of Education from Lesley University. His love and passion for writing, literacy, education, and students brought him to 826DC. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, playing chess, and checking out new vegetarian and vegan restaurants. He has lived in the DC area since 2014.

Community Programs Manager

D'Real Graham


D’Real Graham has helped inspire students to develop zany stories across the 826 National network of writing and tutoring centers since 2007. A former in-school volunteer and full-time staffer, D’Real has five years of hands-on experience managing programs at 826michigan. Before relocating from the midwest to Washington, D.C., late-Spring 2017, D’Real served as a Commissioner on Human Relations, a Community-Police Relations Task Force sub-committee member focused on incentivizing residency for first responders, and an advisor at Radical Washtenaw in Ypsilanti, MI. He is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of civic engagement and public service at the George Washington University.  D’Real enjoys designing hashtags, traveling by bicycle, and eating pistachios.

Publication Programs Manager and Interim Public Programs Coordinator

Emily Moses


Emily has worked for 826DC in (almost) every capacity possible, from Publishing Intern in spring and summer of 2016, to volunteer, to Interim Programs Coordinator in spring 2017. She is proud of her involvement with over five book projects in the last two years, including her role in curating, editing, and producing You Will Be Able to Say A Thousand Words in 2016. Emily holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from American University, and is the former editor in chief of Cafe MFAFOLIO, and The Shinnery Review. When she’s not reading, writing, or stalking her favorite writers on Twitter, you can find Emily combing the neighborhoods of DC, looking for beautifully overgrown secret gardens.

Volunteer Engagement Specialist - AmeriCorps VISTA

Kelsey McClure


Kelsey McClure moved to DC from Michigan in the summer of 2018 to join 826DC. Prior to moving, Kelsey worked in a variety of educational settings. Kelsey has worked as an Academic Tutor at a community college, a volunteer recruiter, an English Teacher for refugees, and as an English Teacher in Cambodia with the Peace Corps. Kelsey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Western Michigan University and is continuing her education at The George Washington University in International Education. When Kelsey is not reading for school, she usually has a sci-fi or fantasy book in her hands or she is eating some kind of food.

Development and Communications Manager

Sarah Richman


Sarah Richman is a writer, author, and poet with a development and communications background across the nonprofit space and the tech industry. She believes that well-told stories have the power to change the world. Sarah has cum laude degrees in Creative Writing and International Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She loves dogs, bad science fiction, and the Oxford comma.

826DC Interns are the Best

To put in plainly: our interns are the best. Not only do they go above and beyond in their work, they also take the time to teach our students magic tricks and keep us hip on the social media. We’d be lost without them (not to mention bored to tears when kids aren’t around).

Max Davidson

Max Davidson was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, where he enjoyed his time playing soccer and percussion. He now attends The George Washington University, where he double majors in Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. In addition to his work at 826DC, Max works as a research assistant at GW’s Neuroscience of Language Laboratory. During Max’s free time, he enjoys listening to 60’s and 70’s rock, nation-conscious rap, and instrumental hip-hop.

Jesse Eisenstein

Jesse Eisenstein is a recent graduate from George Washington University with a B.A. in Religion and English, with an emphasis on disability studies and Elizabethan works. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, reading thrillers, and pretending that she knows how to cook. Jesse looks forward to learning more about nonprofit education work and seeing the creative products of our students this semester.

Soojung Lee

Soojung Lee, currently a junior at Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea, double majors in English Literature and Global Korean Studies. She has a huge passion for education, especially for diverse education methods across age groups and cultures. At Sogang, she engaged in youth mentoring sessions, English campus tours, Literature society and worked as a university honorary ambassador for about two years. She also served as a volunteer of Save the Children Korea and SK SUNNY. In her free time, she loves to search for and visit nearby cafes, have some coffee, and read books.

Izzy Perez-Lugones

Izzy Perez-Lugones studies English and Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns. Izzy is from Laurel, Maryland, where they reside with their family and a small zoo of pets. In their spare time, they enjoy reading and writing poetry, creating visual art, and spending mindful time in nature.

Soemi Photavath

Soemi Photavath grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to DC last year to attend college at The George Washington University. She has worked with students and young people for the past four years, usually through nonprofits and university-sponsored educational programs. She loves being in the education field and hopes to get her teaching license when she graduates in 2021. In her free time, Soemi enjoys pottery and creating stop-motion shorts. She also enjoys crocheting little characters and writing songs for them to sing! Soemi currently can only play the ukelele, but is thinking of bringing a guitar into the mix soon.

Sophie Raim

Sophie Raim is a senior at Georgetown University pursuing a major in Justice and Peace Studies and a double minor in Arabic and Spanish. She is passionate about equal access to quality education for each and every student. Through Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, Sophie has volunteered at schools in DC, focusing on supporting youth literacy skills. In her free time she loves reading, going to the beach, and participating in her school’s dance showcases.

Molly Riegert

Molly Riegert is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying Communications, Political Science, and Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, writing, and exploring all that DC. has to offer. As a preschooler, Molly pretended to be a teacher, subjecting her mother to her many extensive lesson plans. Now, she is incredibly excited to begin her time here at 826DC as an Educational Programming and Publishing Intern working with the creative young writers of DC.

Kennerley Roper

Kennerley Roper, a transplant from Las Vegas, is a graduate student at Georgetown University’s English MA program, studying American literature. She previously studied English at Brigham Young University and has interned at organizations like Ashoka Changemakers, HELP-International, and the Millennial Trains Project. Kennerley also volunteers with her local Cub Scout troop. When not reading or writing, Kennerley enjoys watching hockey, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and teaching herself to paint.

Madeline Sklar

Madeline Sklar is a senior at the George Washington University majoring in journalism and mass communication. A former AmeriCorps member and intern with other youth-oriented organizations, like Playworks of Greater Washington and the Headfirst Companies, Madeline is super passionate about working with kids and teens! When she is not writing articles and editing videos for school, you can find Madeline talking people’s ears off about Pittsburgh and see her zipping around D.C. on her bike.


Paloma Sterrett

Paloma Sterrett is an English major with dual minors in Business Administration and Philosophy at Marymount University. She is graduating in December of 2018. Paloma really enjoys writing and reading, in any genre, especially work about sailing and the environment. She has a zoo at home: two cats, a dog, and a fish!

Want to join our staff as an Intern?

Learn How Here

Board of Directors


Howard Yoon

Howard Yoon is a literary agent and partner at the Ross Yoon Agency. The agency represents top New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer prize winning authors in popular categories such as narrative nonfiction, science, religion, politics, business, history, memoir, pop culture, and food. As an agent, he works closely with writers to help them find their writing voice, and assists in developing and commercializing their book ideas. He negotiates book deals on their behalf with major publishers, consults with authors on their manuscripts, and advises clients on marketing and publicity plans for their book launch. He has more than 21 years of experience in publishing, speaks regularly on the publishing business, and has served as a ghostwriter and book editor. He also has served as a freelance writer of food and travel articles, most notably for a food column for NPR.org. Yoon collaborated with Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen, on his book, Begging for Change (HarperCollins).

Yoon is also an award-winning professor of narrative nonfiction writing for the Masters of Journalism program in the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University.

Yoon graduated from the University of Virginia with degrees in English Literature and Religious Studies. In his spare time, he and his son Ian love to hike, cook, and make fast cars out of Legos.

Vice Chair

Joyce A. Cowan

Joyce Cowan, a partner in Morgan Lewis’ Healthcare Practice, has more than 25 years’ experience counseling healthcare organizations on transactions, regulatory, compliance, and public policy matters. Her clients include managed care plans and other health insurers, device manufacturers, investors, and other businesses in the healthcare sector. Joyce advises clients on healthcare financing, delivery, Medicare, Medicaid, fraud and abuse; she also represents private equity firms, other investors, and emerging businesses in mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Joyce was a partner at another international law firm, where she focused on the healthcare industry.

Joyce received her BA from the University of Washington, and her JD from the George Washington University Law School.


Amy Pastan

Amy Pastan is an independent editor, photo researcher, writer, and book producer. She has been responsible for the publication of hundreds of titles. Before starting her own business in 1998, she held staff positions at the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution Press, where she developed an award-winning list of books in photography and fine arts. In addition to creating and producing works in all genres for print publishers, Amy is currently writing features for the Web and providing content for film and digital media.

A lover of the written word, the nation’s capital, and children—she has two grown sons who are DC natives—Amy first joined 826DC as a volunteer. She is an avid reader, frequent traveler to Italy, and enjoys walking, yoga, American history, and art. Amy and her husband, Peter, owner of several local restaurants, live in Chevy Chase, DC.

Development Committee Chair

Amy Tejral

Amy Tejral is a partner at Avenue Solutions, a DC-based government relations firm, which provides strategic legislative, policy and political expertise. Prior to this, Amy served as Legislative Director for Senator Ben Nelson, overseeing the development and implementation of the Senator’s legislative agenda.

During Senator Nelson’s tenure as Governor of Nebraska, Amy worked as Education Policy Advisor, and as the Governor’s education liaison to the Nebraska Department of Education, as well as the Western and National Governors Associations.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska College of Law, Amy and her husband Mike live in Chevy Chase, MD and have two little boys, Finnegan and Grady.


Tom Viehe

Tom Viehe is a strategy consultant for EMD Strategies. In this role, he works with companies’ executive leadership on developing their strategic plan, improving their capture management processes, improving the quality of their pipeline, and building relationships within industry. His expertise is in providing private and public sector businesses with strategies for penetrating and diversifying their share of the federal market. Before joining EMD Strategies, Tom served as the Director of Research for IDS International, where he was responsible for all research and OCONUS-based programs. During his tenure he worked on proposal development, program management of several of the company’s first prime contracts, capture management, and determining PTW and pricing models. He attended the University of St Andrews for both undergraduate and graduate school, receiving a Masters of Arts in International Relations and a Masters of Letters in International Security Studies.

Matthew Bressler

Matthew Bressler is a Principal at TDF Ventures and brings prior experience investing in and working with startup and growth stage companies. Prior to TDF, Matt worked with GE Ventures supporting investments and strategy in intelligent environments. Matt also served as the Director of Investments for the Wharton Social Venture Fund and as an Associate for FOUNDER.org, investing and assisting early-stage startups. Matt started his career as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman where he focused on growth strategy in a diverse set of industries including consumer electronics, transportation, energy, and healthcare IT.

Matt graduated cum laude with a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University and earned his MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Miah Daughtery, Ed.D.

Miah Daughtery, Ed.D. is Director, ELA and Literacy at Achieve. In this role, Miah leads the work of ensuring states maintain high college-and-career standards for ELA and assessment systems that align to those standards. Miah provides guidance to states reviewing and revising their state standards and assessments. A focused and passionate educator, Miah has more than ten years’ experience at the classroom, district, and state levels. Miah completed her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, obtaining an Ed.D in Educational Administration and Public Policy.

Katherine Feeney

Katherine Feeney is a Case Team Leader at Bain & Company, where her experience spans industries including retail, pharma, industrials, and private equity. Based in Washington, DC, Katherine has also spent significant time in Bain’s Johannesburg, South Africa office. Prior to Bain, Katherine worked at two consulting firms focused primarily on education finance, and philanthropy strategy and impact investing. She has additional experience in the edtech startup space as both an investor and consultant. In addition to her involvement with 826DC, Katherine serves on a local grantmaking committee focused on homelessness and social justice, and is involved with a DC-area fellowship focused on spirituality and leadership formation for young professionals. In her spare time, Katherine is an avid hiker, reader, and yoga practitioner and teacher. She received a double Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in English Literature and Studio Art, and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

J.C. Fulse

As Assistant Vice President / Private Client Group Regional Marketing Manager, J.C. is responsible for managing AIG’s Private Client Group’s broker relationships and Business Development Managers in the Capital Region consisting of Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia and Virginia.

After graduating from Drew University in 1999, J.C. began his insurance career with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.  While at Chubb, he worked as an Underwriter in their New Jersey and New York City Personal Lines service centers, as well as a Marketing Representative in their Washington, DC branch office.  In 2005, J.C. joined AIG PCG in the New York City as a Business Development Manager where he managed some of the company’s largest broker relationships.  He transferred to Washington, DC in 2008 to assume his current position.

Taryn Fielder

Ms. Taryn Fielder is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Washington REIT, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. Prior to joining Washington REIT, Ms. Fielder served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for ASB Real Estate Investments, a privately-held real estate investment management firm, from 2013 to March 2017. In this role, she was responsible for all legal affairs of the company, including property acquisitions, leasing and finance; fund formation; investor relations; compliance matters and human resources. She also served as the principal legal advisor to the firm’s management team. From 2011-2013, Ms. Fielder was the Assistant General Counsel of DiamondRock Hospitality Company, a publicly-traded hospitality REIT. Prior to her in-house career, she practiced corporate and real estate law at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City and Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) in Washington, D.C. and served as Deputy General Counsel of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. Ms. Fielder is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Eckerd College.

Tom Lawler

Tom has 20 years of experience in energy and environmental policy.  He ran Lawler Strategies, an advocacy firm; managed the Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety for the Environment and Public Works Committee for Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware);  was Deputy Director of State-Federal Relations for Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts), and was Director of Public Policy for Natsource, a provider of asset management, origination, and advisory services in both global renewable energy markets and carbon emissions trading.

Richard Nash

Richard Nash is a Vice President of PayPal, leading the Global Government Relations Group, comprised of teams based in the North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Richard leads PayPal’s work on key legislative and regulatory issues across the globe, focusing on emerging FinTech public policy. His work includes collaborating with, and informing global governments on the development of modern financial services regulation and legislation; additionally, his team manages PayPal’s contributions to discussions on consumer protection, cross-border trade expansion, intellectual property protections, cybersecurity and data protection.

Prior to joining eBay Inc., Richard ran the Brussels office of European public affairs consultancy Political Intelligence. In addition, he was Secretary General of the European Internet Services Providers Association from 2005-2008. Richard began his career with a German law firm, based in Freiburg (Germany), having studied law in the UK and Austria.  Richard speaks fluent German and Spanish. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife and son.

David Pryor

David Pryor, Jr is an Arkansas native who has spent the last 30 years in DC. He works for Microsoft’s Government Affairs operation, where he manages the relationships for all Senate Democrats. Prior to Microsoft, he spent nine years at FedEx managing House and Senate Democratic relationships in addition to overseeing the FedEx Field Corporate Suite for football games, concerts and other events. He was raised in a political family and has spent a lifetime in politics and campaigns. Prior to his corporate life, he formed a consulting practice to create and execute unique special events for political campaigns, inaugurals, and conventions. His signature event, The Blue Jeans Bash, was a celebration of Bill Clinton’s first inaugural and featured performances by Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Clarence Clemmons, Dr. John, Stephen Stills and Little Feat. In addition to helping in family politics, he enjoys volunteering for campaigns including those for Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Harold Ford.

David is married to Judith Pryor and they live next to the Zoo in Mt. Pleasant with their son, Hampton. When time permits, David enjoys yoga, photography, live music and fishing (sometimes in Rock Creek Park). He serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a non-profit charter school catering to the needs of more than 400 children and adults with cognitive disabilities. He was also recently selected to serve on the board of the Yoga Alliance, a non-profit entity which fosters accreditation and standards for yoga teachers.  He has a BA in Speech Communications from George Washington University. He still drives a 1963 Ford Futura convertible.

Advisory Board

  • Joe Callahan (Executive Director Emeritus)
  • David Wakelyn
  • Susan Shreve
  • Sally Bedell Smith
  • Rebecca Sinderbrand
  • Marcela Sanchez-Bender
  • George Pelecanos
  • E. Ethelbert Miller
  • Matt Klam
  • Carol Blue
  • Jessica Anya Blau
  • Marie Arana
  • Katie Hinman