By Emily Benn, 826DC Intern, Spring 2015/Fall 2016
826DC’s Young Authors’ Book Project (YABP) aims to help students see themselves as writers by providing them the opportunity to become published authors. Students work, once a week in class, with an assigned 826 volunteer writing mentor to help develop and revise essays around a pre-determined topic. After months of writing and revising, students submit final drafts to 826DC staff who then compile the most powerful pieces for publication. YABP culminates in a book release party, celebrating students for their hard work and great writing.
This year, student essays focused specifically on social justice issues and cultural traditions. 826DC had the pleasure of hosting its Young Authors’ Book Project at Bruce Monroe Elementary–working with 5th grade students–as well as the SEED School of Washington, DC–working with 9th 10th, and 11th graders. 826DC worked in collaboration with Bruce Monroe and SEED teachers to develop these themes–wanting to give students a space to explore their identities, reflect on their experiences, and celebrate their cultures. Throughout the fall semester, students worked with their teachers and 826 volunteers to develop pieces on their names, family, Thanksgiving customs, and times they felt they had been judged prematurely. We are excited to use this blog as a space to share some of the activities we did with students–delving deeper into identity and intersectionality.
Emily Benn interned with 826DC in Spring of 2015 and again in Fall of 2016. She is a recent graduate of the George Washington University where she double majored in English and Human Services. Ultimately, Emily hopes to pursue a career in secondary education. In her free time, Emily enjoys curating music for her GW radio show, cooking with friends, and dancing.