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 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.
826DC’s programs are modeled after those at 826 Valencia, the inspiration for the 826 National network. 826 National now counts nine 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.
Our Team of Magic-makers
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 a certification in non-profit management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Zachary is a poor but diligent runner, a renowned doughnut enthusiast, and a forever aspiring limericist.
Director of Advancement
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.
Director of Education
Andrea has spent her career working with and on behalf of young people. Prior to joining 826DC, she taught elementary school in New York, built partnerships to support children’s play at KaBOOM!, and developed a literacy fellowship for school leaders at Bank Street College. She holds a master’s degree in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College and a bachelor’s degree in political science and art history. Andrea is always in search of a good bagel, a good cookbook, and a good place to swim.
Public Programs Coordinator
Anja Kuipers is a reader, writer, and mover from Hilo, Hawaii. Since graduating from Middlebury College with a B.A. in English and American Literatures, she has been living and working in DC. Outside of 826DC, you can find Anja selling books at East City Bookshop, dancing, moonlighting as a trapeze school office associate, and spending far too long grocery shopping.
Deputy Store Manager
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.
Publication Programs Manager
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 MFA, FOLIO, 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.
Development Systems Specialist - AmeriCorps VISTA
Harini Kadambi moved from Western New York to DC to join 826DC. She holds a B.S. in Biochemical and Food Process Engineering and a Master’s in Water Resource Engineering. Prior to 826DC, Harini worked in Civil Engineering and Consumer Products in technical roles. She has also coached with Girls on the Run, taught STEAM in Syracuse City Schools in New York, and tutored with Project Reads in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In her free time, Harini enjoys hiking with her dog, baking, and reading.
Volunteer Engagement Specialist - AmeriCorps VISTA
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 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.
Community Programs Manager
Shayna is a visual artist and native Washingtonian. She attended DC Public Schools from Kindergarten through high school graduation and spent five years working and serving in DC Schools as an Americorps member, Team Leader, and Program Manager with City Year DC. Shayna left the education world in 2017 to pursue a dog training career after welcoming the cutest pit bull puppy, Quimby, into her life. Through her work in education, Shayna has determined that allowing young people the space and resources to explore and define themselves on their own terms is the greatest and kindest gift. When not walking or cuddling her dog, Shayna is most likely painting, sculpting, lazily teaching herself French, dyeing her hair, or eating red onions.
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).
Brianna Hall is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a freshman at New York University. She is majoring in Education with a double minor in Writing and Politics, and is pursuing a career in Education Reform and Education Policy. In her free time, Brianna enjoys painting, watching football, and trying new foods. She hopes to have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world. She is passionate about the 826DC mission and is excited to be part of it.
Brianna McDermott is from Seneca Falls, New York. She is a sophomore at Nazareth College, double-majoring in Early Childhood Education and American Studies. This is her first semester at 826DC. She is thrilled to be joining this team and to be supporting all learners, no matter where they come from or what they have gone through. When Brianna is not at work or at school, she likes to watch Netflix, read a good book in her apartment, or play her Nintendo Switch. She has also been enjoying traveling around the DC area and visiting local museums. Brianna is very excited for this opportunity and is ready to take anything that is thrown at her.
Jean-Cédric Kouame was born and raised in Abidjan, Ivory coast. He moved to the United States to pursue his studies in graphic design. He is currently a junior student at the University of the District of Columbia. This is his first semester interning at 826DC and he is loving it! He is a creative individual with ideas that are outside of the box. He is passionate, ambitious, and he aspires to use design to impact his world. When Jean-Cédric is not at work or at school, he likes to draw, to watch anime, to learn a new skill, and to go to the museum.
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.
Santiago Fernandez is a Montgomery College student from Medellin, Colombia. He is studying Computer Science, has plenty of experience in the IT field, and is very excited to continue supporting nonprofits in the education field with their technology. Before his time at 826DC, Santiago worked with DC schools, assisted other area nonprofits, and served in the Colombian army.
Sinclair Cox is in her senior year at Marymount University, studying English. She’s had a passion for creating both art and written work from a young age, and hopes to pursue a career that involved either one or both! Sinclair’s favorite pastimes are re-reading books from her childhood, writing, and doodling. This is her first time working with a nonprofit, so she’s excited to learn more about the amazing work that 826DC does for the DC community.
Sophia Shepard is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, studying Public Policy and Nonprofit Leadership and Social Innovation. She is a member of the CIVICUS Living and Learning Program, which focuses on community service learning, political engagement, and leadership development. Sophia does monthly community service projects and was a member of the program College Mentors for Kids. She is passionate about tackling issues of education inequity and food insecurity. Sophia plans to work in the nonprofit field after college, so she is extremely excited for this opportunity to work with 826DC and to get a closer look at how nonprofits run.
Want to join our staff as an Intern?Learn How Here
Board of Directors
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, Taryn 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, Taryn 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. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Eckerd College.
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.
Miah Daughtery, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of Literacy and Professional Learning at Odell Education and former Director of ELA and Literacy at Achieve. 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 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.
Programs Committee Chair
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
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.
Governance Committee Chair
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.
Literary Liaison Chair
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past (Basic Books), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. A graduate of the University of Mississippi (B.A.) and the University of Michigan (M.A., English Language and Literature), he is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation. From 1995 to 2013, he was Director of Publishing for the Library of Congress and is the former Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia. He is currently a Visiting Professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, and at work on a book about Mississippi’s literary heritage. Ralph lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children.
As Vice President/Marketing Manager, J.C. is responsible for managing Chubb’s distribution relationships in the Mid-Atlantic Region consisting of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded P&C insurance company and the largest commercial insurer in the USA. Chubb combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the very best insurance coverage and service to individuals and families, and businesses of all sizes. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb takes seriously its role as a global citizen, driving positive change and making a long-term impact in communities around the world. After graduating from Drew University in 1999, J.C. began his insurance career with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. During his first tenure 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 Private Client Group in NYC as a Business Development Manager where he managed some of the company’s largest broker relationships. He moved back to Washington, DC in 2008 to assume the role of Assistant Vice President, Capital Region Marketing Manager for AIG PCG. He served in that capacity until rejoining Chubb in October 2018 in his current role.
Jill Dowell enjoys a career in federal government relations concentrating on health care, tax, and trade issues. In her 25+ years in DC, she has represented corporations and national trade associations before policymakers both in the Administration and in Congress. When not working, Jill lives for baseball season (cheering on both the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros), reading, and experimenting in the kitchen. She is a graduate of Baylor University and majored in Political Science and Journalism.
Kurt Wimmer is a Partner at Covington, where he is the current U.S. chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. He previously chaired the Privacy and Information Security Committee of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section. He is rated in the first tier by Legal 500, designated as a national leader in Chambers USA, and is included in Best Lawyers in America in four areas. Kurt represents major social media companies, global technology companies, and multinationals on privacy, cybersecurity, and technology law issues. Sources for Chambers USA describe him as “a leading person in the field” and “extremely gifted at what he does.”
Susan Gerock is the Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Washington REIT. In her capacity, she is responsible for the leadership, integrative management and direction for company information systems including corporate-wide planning, budgeting for information technologies and coordination and integration of all company information technology matters. She has over 25 years of management and information technology experience in commercial real estate, manufacturing, and retail. Susan holds an undergraduate degree in Government from The College of William & Mary and holds a Master of Science, Management of Information Technology degree from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. She is active in numerous initiatives focused on young people, including having served as a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, volunteering with SafeShores DC, and serving as a Side By Side Investor with ACT for Alexandria.
Tait Sye is a veteran communications strategist with more than fifteen years’ experience in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. He is currently a senior director with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously, Tait was a political appointee for President Obama, serving at Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Tait also recently co-founded, with his brother, a family foundation that provides impact grants focused on food justice. Tait holds both a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
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.
- Joe Callahan (Executive Director Emeritus, Co-Chair)
- David Wakelyn (Co-Chair)
- 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
HOLLY JONES (CO-FOUNDER) JULIA SMITH (CO-FOUNDER) KIRA WISNIEWSKI (CO-FOUNDER) JOE PETERS (FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER) MIKE SCALISE (FOUNDING STAFF MEMBER)