What We Did This Summer

Summer 2020 has, to put it mildly, been rough. Throughout everything, 826DC has continued to serve young writers and to offer the creative space to either escape from or take on what’s weighing heaviest on young people right now.

826DC connected with local teachers.

Throughout the summer, 826DC has also been in conversation with our partner teachers about what they need, what they’re concerned about with distance learning, and how we can help them provide the best writing education possible in this new school year.

We explored the stars.

As it turns out, you don’t have to leave your house to explore the stars and the universe. Students at 826DC’s ReWrite the Stars summer writing camp investigated the lives and origins of stars, explored constellations and mythology, and wrote out-of-this-world stories of their own. Pairing science and stories, they covered everything from ekphrastic poetry and comics to character design and setting.

The students even got to learn with two scientists who study Earth Science, to work with an illustrator who brought the students’ imagined worlds to life, and to dive into classic myths with the Library of Congress on a virtual field trip.

You can check out one of the poems the students wrote, “The Galaxy of Earth: Full of Joy,” here in our writing gallery.

826DC made space to process.

The past few months have been traumatic for many young people, especially young people of color. We partnered with students from Jubilee Housing on writing reflections to support their processing, well, *gestures at the world.*

The curriculum we used was adapted from the “Life in the Time of Coronavirus” activities from 826 Digital. You can access tons of other writing resources from 826 Digital by signing up here. It’s free!

We wrote with young environmentalists.

826DC partnered with the Rock Creek Conservancy for a virtual writing workshop with Rock Creek Conservation Corps students. 826DC guided the young environmentalists through writing exercises all about nature, as well opinion-editorial writing and journaling as tools for self-reflection and engagement.

826DC dove into digital activism with teens from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).

826DC also worked with teens from the local Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) for Hashtag Activism, a virtual workshop all about speaking up and out online.

After brainstorming things they wanted to change in DC, soliciting feedback on those issues from the community via social media, and learning with the Library of Congress about Rosa Parks’ early activism, the students wrote and designed original digital content about the concerns they would have about an in-person school year during the pandemic.

The project offered real practice with key elements of digital activism: identifying problems, suggesting what could be done about it, and presenting that information in a compelling way. 


Want to help us set students up for success this fall?

Growing up, developing your creative voice, and working toward your academic goals is enough of a challenge without a global pandemic, climate change, and ongoing police brutality! No matter what 2020 throws at us next, 826DC is committed to making these tough times easier for DC students.

You can help by getting involved as a volunteer (everything will continue to be virtual) or by supporting 826DC with a donation, if you’re in a position to do so.