Meet the Staff: Anja Kuipers

Anja Kuipers recently joined 826DC as our Public Programs Coordinator! She’s the magic behind the lowercase, 826DC’s monthly open mic night for local writers, authors, and poets. We hope you’ll all get a chance to meet her at one of our upcoming lowercases, held on the first Wednesday evening of each month. In the meantime, check out this Q&A to get to know Anja a little better:


Role: Public Programs Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii


What drew you to 826DC?

I moved to DC a year ago to intern at a dance organization but was secretly keeping an eye out for ways to connect with the creative writing community. While looking for youth-focused nonprofits, I stumbled across 826DC and was immediately blown away. Their mission was closely aligned with my values and goals, and I knew that I wanted to contribute to 826DC’s work in some way.

Who is your favorite author right now?

Tommy Pico!

If you were a magician, what would be your signature magic trick?

Escaping from chains while locked in a water tank.

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

I’m involved with writing and literature in a number of different ways but feel most strongly about the work that 826DC is doing. In order for the literary community to thrive, we need to make sure that kids of all backgrounds have access to creative writing instruction. By addressing issues of access and providing mentorship for youth, we’re working to create a more diverse, inclusive, and talented literary future.

This Summer, We’re Writing to Save the World

826DC is getting ready for our WHOSE GARDEN WAS THIS? summer writing intensive in July, a free two-week program designed for students in third through sixth grade and all about conservation!

Together, we’ll explore the roles we all have in protecting the Earth and its resources. We’ll learn about what it means to be truly renewable and sustainable, and how these important ideas play out in our community. We’ll take our discussions to the great outdoors through chaperoned field trips to places like Rock Creek Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and Common Good City Farm!

At the end of WHOSE GARDEN WAS THIS?, the student writers and budding earth scientists will emerge with a publication featuring their new written rules for maintaining the natural world.

“Our summer writing intensives offer students the opportunity to dive deep into scientific inquiry,” says Zachary Clark, the Executive Director here at 826DC. “From urban birding to city mapping, our STEM-based writing curriculum provides a dynamic framework for exploring the relationship between writing and science. This year, we’re looking forward to advocating for a healthier world, starting right here in the District! I can’t wait for what our students will teach us.”

Like all of our programs, WHOSE GARDEN WAS THIS? is completely free for these students and their families. Your support makes it all possible—from providing daily breakfast and snack to developing our original STEM curriculum to arranging these field trips. You can help us by donating:

$60 to cover a week’s worth of this program for a local young person

$120 to fully cover a student’s participation in this program

Whatever you’re able to give will help us continue to serve DC’s young writers through engaging, eye-opening, and downright fun learning opportunities like this one.

DONATE HERE

Interested in registering a student for this program, 9 AM to noon on weekdays, July 15th through 26th? Spaces are limited and going fast, so get in touch with 826DC Special Projects Associate Shayna Baggatts-Porter soon to secure a spot.

Celebrating THIS TIME THEY HEAR YOU

The third-grade authors behind THIS TIME THEY HEAR YOU, their families, their teachers, and their illustrators all had a blast celebrating this new title with 826DC! We came together at the True Reformer Building for a night of readings, photos, and crafts.

This is the ninth year that 826DC has worked with local students to produce a professionally-published book through our Young Authors Book Project program, otherwise known as YABP. Each year, YABP connects students from a DC school with writing mentors to draft, edit, and produce an anthology of student writing. This year, the third-grade students at Bridges Public Charter School wrote science-inspired fairytales, exploring empathy and reimagining the world around them.

The authors were proud to share their work with the crowd, and their feelings came through in a THIS TIME THEY HEAR YOU poster that they signed for us.

“I love this book,” one scribbled.

“Lots of love to my fans!” wrote another.

“Thank you for making me a[n] author,” a third added.

We cannot thank these young authors enough for sharing their heartfelt stories, their boundless creativity, and their bright imaginations with us throughout the process of creating THIS TIME THEY HEAR YOU.

Want to read it?

This dazzling $18 book is available for sale here, in our storefront, and in select bookstores across Washington, DC including Politics and Prose and East City Bookshop!

Help us publish more young authors!

YABP, like all of our programs, is 100% free for our students, their teachers, and their families. Your support—through one-time or monthly donations—makes it all possible! We’re currently trying to raise $30,000 by June 30th to help amplify other budding voices. Give today, if you can, to help show DC’s young people that their stories are important and worth sharing.

Workshop Story: Tivoli’s Best Magic Trick

On a sunny Saturday afternoon earlier this year, students ages 6-18 and their families joined 826DC for our Tivoli’s Astounding Urban Legend Writing workshop. We explored the origins and impact of urban legends and then collaborated on a brand-new legend about The Amazing Tivoli, the mysterious magician behind our magic storefront!

Having learned about plot structure, character design, and other storytelling essentials, the group wrote the following story:

Tivoli’s Best Magic Trick

Tivoli chases Zookatoe out of the carrot and packaging peanut-strewn store. Tivoli yells in anger, “You better clean up after yourself!” Zookatoe transforms into a rabbit and dashes away, into the Columbia Heights Farmers’ Market. Distracted by the carrots, he turns into a human and accidentally bumps into a vendor, knocking a carton of Thin Air bottles over.

“That’s what you get, you carrot fiend!” Tivoli yells. Sighing to himself, he mutters, “Now I gotta clean up this mess.” He mumbles a Scamdenavian hex, turning Zookatoe  back into his rabbit state.

Ding Ding! The doorbell rings, and a Yelp reviewer enters Tivoli’s Magic Store. Sweeping carrots into a dust bin, he says, “Oh, I didn’t see you come in! How may I help you?” The Yelp reviewer responds, “I am from Yelp. I deserve the upmost respect, or you will get a bad review and your store will be shut down before you can say ‘Abracadabra.’”

Tivoli is shooketh. He decides that he cannot scam this Yelp reviewer, or his 1-star rating will fall even lower.

At the Farmers’ Market, as the glass falls to the ground, Zookatoe realizes that he’s been hexed. “Oh! A cute little rabbit!” I want to take it to the Fourth Dimension, Momm!” Panicked, Zookatoe hops back to the store, climbs up to the stoop, and tries to ring the doorbell. A crowd forms as people from the Farmers’ Market take pictures.

Tivoli’s nose starts blinking red as he hears Zookatoe crying to be let into his store. Tivoli smiles at the Yelp reviewer and kindly says, “Excuse me for a minute.” As Tivoli walks away, the Yelp reviewer checks their phone and sees a white bunny hopping outside of Tivoli’s Magic Store on Snap story. Tivoli comes in with Zookatoe in his hands as the Yelp says, “Do you know anything about this rabbit?

Tivoli flashes a wry smile, and says, “You wanna see a magic trick?” He quickly grabs a top hat, stuffs Zookatoe into it, and puts him in a suitcase. Tivoli un-hexxes Zookatoe and opens the suitcase. Zookatoe jumps out in his human form, with an aggravated face…

We left the story open-ended so that each student could write their own original endings. You can write and submit your own original ending through the form below. Scroll past the form to learn more about how you can support or get more involved with 826DC’s workshops!

Write an Ending for "Tivoli's Best Magic Trick"

Intrigued?

There are plenty of ways to get involved with our Saturday or Evening Writing Workshops, along with our other programs! You can…

Register your favorite young person for an upcoming workshop

Suggest an idea/topic for a new workshop

Provide support as a volunteer

Donate to help keep our workshops 100% free