826DC is recruiting an AmeriCorps VISTA!

826DC is seeking a creative, experienced, dynamic, and highly organized AmeriCorps-VISTA service member who will support the development and growth of our various programs as our next Volunteer Coordinator.

The Volunteer Coordinator will report to the Programs Director and will require close collaboration with program staff and the Executive Director.

826DC is dedicated to teaching creative and expository writing to underserved students ages 6 to 18, and to helping DC Public School teachers inspire their students to write. We believe that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. 826DC is the newest member of the national network of 826 chapters, co-founded by the award-winning author Dave Eggers, which was voted one of the top 30 companies to work for by GOOD Magazine.

826DC is an equal opportunity employer committed to being a multicultural organization. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

For Full Position Description, Click the Link Below.

Volunteer Coordinator Job Description

Application Instructions:

1. Review the VISTA Assignment Description (search 826DC in the Program Name field at this link).
2. Submit your application through the AmeriCorps website.
3. Email a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to Lacey Dunham (hr@826dc.org).

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, May 31. Please, no phone calls.

Writing Memes with Teens at “It’s L.I.T.” Event

Recently, 826DC took a trip downtown to Martin Luther King Memorial Library for the “It’s L.I.T. Teen Hangout” supported by the DC Public Library! Alongside other organizations including Project Create, the Smithsonian Institute, and Reach Incorporated, “It’s L.I.T.” gave DC teens the chance “laugh, imagine, and think” while they were on spring break.

We asked students to write their own memes, or funny captioned pictures popularized on the internet. Not surprisingly, the teens impressed us with their sharp humor and broad knowledge of pop culture. 

“It’s L.I.T.” emphasized creativity, community connection, and fun, and the students’ hilarious and unique work shows that sites like Buzzfeed can inspire rather than stifle future writers. A few of our favorite memes are shared below, but be sure to check out 826DC’s Instagram and Twitter over the next few weeks as we reveal more hysterical memes!

Janae Charles meme
One of our budding humorists, Janaé, comments on a habit that definitely won’t win any friends in a crowded Metro station.

While Janaé used observational humor to make her meme appealing to other DC pedestrians, a few other teens wrote memes inspired by their favorite literature or media phenomenon like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Leo, a student at School Without Walls, made it clear that he (like many people his age) did not “simply become” Harry Potter a fan, he was born into it!

The students who stopped by the 826DC table to write memes, interact with other students in the community, and write poetry for the Mount Pleasant Poetry project shared an experience that hopefully reminded them of the universality and community aspects of literature and culture. Humor and culture are constantly evolving, but there will always be writers and 826DC will be here to give them the chance to express themselves!

Teens interested in exploring their own writing more can join our Teen Writing Lab that meets Wednesdays from 5:30-7:00pm.

April Community Partner of the Month

We’d like to express our deepest gratitude to The Kimsey Foundation for their continued support of Paddlestar Galactica, our annual Ping-Pong tournament benefitting 826DC. The event was a huge success, due largely in part to the Foundation’s decision to once again to match all Paddlestar donations up to $25,000. All told, fundraisers and sponsors collectively raised over $48,000 to benefit 826DC’s free writing programs for DC youth. Hooray!


April Volunteer of the Month

When Claire first started volunteering, students called her “Neekta’s sister” — apparently seeing a resemblance to our on-site programs manager, who they still think lives in the writing center. Since then, Claire has developed lasting relationships with our students and continues to make after-school tutoring a space where “I know you can do this!” is the mantra. 826DC has been so lucky to have her with us and we wish her all kinds of success in her future endeavors!

How long have you volunteered with 826DC, and how did you get involved?

“I’ve been an After-School Tutor since January 2015 – nearly a year and a half, now! I had just moved to DC the preceding September, and I knew that I wanted to find a way to get involved in my community. I’ve long wanted to be a schoolteacher, too.

“Taking all of this into consideration, I began searching for volunteer opportunities with three criteria in mind: I was looking for an organization that 1) focused on education and children, 2) served my neighborhood of Columbia Heights/Petworth/Mount Pleasant, 3) would provide me with a chance to practice my teaching and tutoring skills.

“Clearly 826DC fit the bill, and, after finding the organization through an internet search, I signed up as part of the After-School Tutoring team.”


What will you take away from your time volunteering with 826DC?

“As I prepare to leave DC for a teacher preparation program in the Midwest, the biggest lesson I’ll take with me is this: show up, be present, be patient.

“There were some days of tutoring when I felt like I wasn’t making a difference, like I didn’t know how to be an effective tutor. And that was scary, especially for someone considering a teaching career! But the more I attended AST and the more I got to know 826DC’s amazing students, the more I learned to have faith in the slow pace of things. A concept that didn’t make sense one week suddenly clicked the next. A student that seemed unwilling to engage one afternoon would be focused and animated the next. Over time, I was able to learn new habits of how to speak to and encourage students.

“But I wouldn’t have witnessed this slow change if I didn’t show up. Even when I felt like a day hadn’t gone as planned, I learned to appreciate the small things that had gone right. These small things – a smile of recognition when I walked in the door, a conversation with a parent – were the building blocks of my connections with the students of 826DC. And these connections, in turn, made it easier for me and a student to work together on a difficult homework problem or a long assignment.

“As I prepare to become a high school teacher, I hope I can always remember this: that the slow work of connecting with a student is sometimes hard to perceive, but always worth the wait.”


What do you see as 826DC’s impact on our community?

“I believe that 826DC provides students with something very important: a place where reading, writing, and homework aren’t bound by the typical “rules of school.” I appreciate how 826DC encourages students to approach homework and with the same playful and confident spirit as their creative writing. I see tutors helping students build this confidence in their own abilities. “I know you can do this!” is one of the most common phrases of encouragement I hear at After-School Tutoring.

“I believe that this confidence can extend beyond the classroom and 826DC to many other areas of a student’s life, and that can have far-reaching impacts on their families and communities. Plus, a magic shop in Columbia Heights? That’s pretty awesome, too.”