Community Partners Spotlight: Sacred Heart & Mt. Pleasant Library

Here at 826DC, we know that it takes a village to help our students grow. We partner with other community-based organizations throughout the year to create a support network for our students wherever they might go in the District. This month, we’re taking some time to shout out a few of the organizations who help make our work so successful.

Mt. Pleasant Public Library, for whom we’ve done a shoutout before, is one of our oldest partnerships. Throughout the year, we offer programming in the library and invite children from all around the Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods to attend.

Recently, D’Real, 826DC’s Community Engagement Manager, led a found poetry workshop at Sacred Heart School in Columbia Heights. Mt. Pleasant Public Library helped organize the event, secured the space, and invited students to participate. Around 25 elementary and middle school students took part in the workshop, where they learned about poetic form, did generative writing exercises, and learned to look for poetry in the words they encounter on a daily basis.

Students wrote their own found poems, utilizing the words from other poets

We had a great time at Sacred Heart and we want to thank the school, as well as Mt. Pleasant Public Library, for continuing to work with us to serve so many young authors.



Staff Spotlight: Brandon and Akshita

Welcome to our ongoing series, where we highlight some of the magic-makers here at 826DC. This month, we chatted with Brandon and Akshita, our two AmeriCorps Service Members, before they complete their year of service. They’ve done incredible work this year, and we wish them all the best on their next adventures!

Name: Brandon Moore-McNew
Job Title: Development Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Hometown: O’Fallon, MO

Name: Akshita Sankepally
Job Title: Volunteer and Intern Coordinator
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Hometown: Naperville, IL

What was your favorite book growing up and why?

BM-M: Growing up, I tore through The Boxcar Children books like nobody’s business. I even had a little cardboard boxcar that would hold the books, which may have been my favorite piece of “furniture!” I spent a lot of time in the ditches and storm drains I wasn’t supposed to be in as a kid, and always loved discovering places that felt like Places, if that makes sense. Looking back, I think the main characters were also learning how to trust adults, and I think that’s something a lot of children can identify with.

AS: My favorite book growing up was the Harry Potter series. Like many young people, I was drawn into a new fantasy world, and I felt a personal connection with the characters. One of the really cool aspects of reading Harry Potter at the age I did was growing up with the characters. As the years went on, the books became progressively darker and the characters grew into themselves, and I felt like I was a part of their journey.

What’s one unusual thing on your desk right now?

BM-M: I have a lot of sticky notes on my computer. Some of them are related to work, and others are personal reminders: a crude sketch of a riverbank, for example, and a note that says “.50 > 0” — a reminder that even on days when I feel less effective than I’d like to be, I’m still contributing more than if I had not done anything at all.

AS: A pink conch shell. On my very first day at 826DC, I discovered the shell behind my desktop, so, naturally, I brought the shell out of hiding and placed it front-and-center. My new colleagues assumed I brought this shell as my very first desk decoration!

What inspired you to get involved with this kind of work, and why do you think it’s so important?

BM-M: Reading and writing skills are some of humanity’s greatest inventions: they can help us understand our past and the world we live in, plan for the future, realize and celebrate triumphs, expand our moral universe, and navigate our low points. Not everyone is going to fall in love with being a writer, but we do live in a world shaped by writing and how we interpret that writing, from ingredient lists at the grocery store to the written laws of nations. I believe that every person who has a chance to develop reading and writing skills is a person who has more opportunities to thrive in such a world, and that’s work worth doing.

AS: Growing up, academics were a huge part of my life. I was fortunate enough to have many dedicated teachers support my writing skills, but I was never confident in my abilities. 826DC makes writing fun and exciting, so I definitely could have benefited from coming to a place like 826DC. I am so thankful to have been part of an organization that puts writing in the forefront of students’ academic careers.

We’re Hiring: Publication Programs Manager

We want you to join our growing team! 826DC seeks a visionary youth development professional to serve as our Publications Programs Manager (PPM) and help to thoughtfully shape the next chapter of our programming.

This individual, in collaboration with partner teachers, develops and executes 826DC’s flagship program, The Young Authors’ Book Project, and oversees the design of its culminating publication on an annual basis. The PPM is also tasked with overseeing 826DC’s Field Trips program, including outreaching to and scheduling visits with partner schools, assisting with volunteer and intern allocation, and leading or supporting the execution of Field Trips.

See full position details here.

Interested in this position? Please email cover letter, résumé, and three references to with “Publication Programming Manager” as the subject. Position open until filled. Expected start date for this position is August 27, 2018.

Welcome, 826DC Summer Interns!

Now that we’ve officially made it to summer, we wanted to take a moment to introduce our Summer 2018 interns. This year, we’ve invited nine individuals from all over the country to help make a difference here at 826DC and to learn about all the work that goes into making 826DC’s programs successful. Our interns are working with our programming team, as well as with our communication/development team behind-the-scenes. They’ll be here for the rest of the summer, so say hello if you see them around.

Thanks for joining the team, everyone!

From left to rightJonathan Ayala, Maddie Baker, Carol Uphus, Cecilia Kane, Quinn Riley, Anying Guo; (Sarah Hansen, Claudia Wang, Minrose Straussman not pictured)

Visit our Intern Bio page to learn more about the unique stories of each of our interns.


Ahora que hemos llegado oficialmente al principio del verano, queríamos tomar un momento para presentar nuestros pasantes del verano 2018. Este año, hemos invitado a nueve individuos de todo el país para ayudar a hacer una diferencia aquí en 826DC y para aprender sobre todo la esfuerza que hace nuestro trabajo con estudiantes exitoso. Ellos están trabajando directamente con nuestro equipo de programas, y también detrás de las escenas con nuestros equipos de comunicación y desarrollo. Estarán aquí para el resto del verano, así que diga hola a ellos si los ves alrededor.

De izquierda a derecha: Jonathan Ayala, Maddie Baker, Carol Uphus, Cecilia Kane, Quinn Riley, Anying Guo; (Sarah Hansen, Claudia Wang, Minrose Straussman no están en la foto)

Visite nuestra página de biografías de pasantes para aprender más sobre las historias únicas de cada uno de nuestros pasantes.