About 826DC

826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.


Our Mission

826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. 826DC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation based in the District of Columbia. Our tax ID number is 26-2426166.

Great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention. Click To Tweet

Our Story

Our staff and trained volunteers collaborate with teachers to create project-based learning opportunities appropriate for their specific classroom needs and educational goals. At risk for a zombie apocalypse? We’ve got a writing workshop lesson plan for that. Running for Kid President? We can help students craft their platforms. We also work closely with teachers to design new workshops and long-term projects to suit specific content-areas, special curriculum units, interdisciplinary projects, and after-school programs. Read about The 826 Stand.

Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company

Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company is the District’s only illusionarium and de-lux haberdashery. The storefront stocks everything a budding magician needs to embark on a path to mastery, from Stage Fright Antidote to our Micro Escapes (for starting a career in escapology). Every purchase makes real magic happen– in the writing center beyond the secret door.

826 National

826DC’s programs are modeled after those at 826 Valencia, the inspiration for the 826 National network. 826 National now counts nine organizational affiliates among its members, including 826DC, throughout the United States. 826 National was co-founded by author Dave Eggers and by veteran educator Ninive Calegari, whose experience as a teacher shaped the 826 model. To find out more about 826 locations in other cities, visit the 826 National website.

826 has nine official chapters around the country: 826Michigan, 826Valencia, 826Chi, 826NYC, 826Boston, 826 New Orleans, 826LA, and 826 MSP.

Our Team of Magic-makers

Executive Director

Zachary Clark


Zachary has worked in the youth development, education, and arts sectors throughout the U.S. Prior to joining 826DC, he served as the Director of Early Learning at Sitar Arts Center and led youth-oriented programming in collaboration with DC-based organizations including the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. His research work through Project Zero focuses on the intersection of youth’s creative productions and digital media, and has been published in Creativity Research Journal. He holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a B.A. in American Literature and Visual Arts from Brown University, and a certification in non-profit management from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Zachary is a poor but diligent runner, a renowned doughnut enthusiast, and a forever aspiring limericist.

Director of Education

Andrea Nelson


Andrea has spent her career working with and on behalf of young people. Prior to joining 826DC, she taught elementary school in New York, built partnerships to support children’s play at KaBOOM!, and developed a literacy fellowship for school leaders at Bank Street College. She holds a master’s degree in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College and a bachelor’s degree in political science and art history. Andrea is always in search of a good bagel, a good cookbook, and a good place to swim.

Director of Development

Emma Pred-Sosa


Emma comes from a long line of educators, and is passionate about expanding students’ access to quality writing education and resources. Before joining 826DC, she worked for Arabella Advisors as a Program Associate, and prior to that she spent time in Macau, China on a Fulbright English Teaching Award. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History, focusing on colonial and imperial studies, from Yale University. In her free time, Emma can usually be found reading, listening to her favorite podcasts, or desperately trying to keep up with her Duolingo.

Associate Director of School Programs

Cristopher Lee


Before joining 826DC, Cristopher Lee worked as a resident teacher at a DC public charter school. Prior to this experience, Cristopher served for two years in City Year Detroit, an AmeriCorps program, as both a Corps member and a Team Leader. He has a BA in English Writing with a minor in Biology from DePauw University, and a Master of Education from Lesley University. His love and passion for writing, literacy, education, and students brought him to 826DC. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, playing chess, and checking out new vegetarian and vegan restaurants. He has lived in the DC area since 2014.

Program Administration Manager

Abby Araujo


Abbilemnis Araujo (who everyone calls Abby) has always believed in the power of words and it was her passion for reading and writing that brought her to 826DC. She has worked behind the scenes, supporting organizations that focus on education, specifically reading or writing and has also worked in the classroom. Abby holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, where she focused in Creative Writing and a Masters in Nonprofit Management, where she concentrated in Project Management. When she’s not trying new food or going back home to The Bronx, she’s working on her writing or trying to convince her friends to play Taboo.

Store Coordinator

Daniel O'Brien


Daniel O’Brien’s first great passions were for reading and writing. He has found that stories are sneaky but powerful things. Not only do they reflect our interior worlds, if given the chance, they’ll sneak up on us and rearrange everything in a heartbeat. This love of stories, combined with a commitment to education, brought him to 826DC. Daniel holds a BA in Creative Writing and History and is currently working on his MPA with a concentration on Environmental Policy. In his free time, you can probably find him writing with a cup of coffee or trying to learn new songs on his little blue guitar, Pluto.

Community Programs Manager

Dominique Doonquah


Dominique is a writer from Kingston, Jamaica who has a passion for working with young people. She believes that our lives are all built on narrative and that writing is therefore the art of world-bending. Dominique holds a M.Phil. in Gender Studies from Trinity College Dublin and a B.A. in Global Affairs from Yale University. She is usually cooking, hunting for antiques, playing with her dog Ziggy, or wandering aimlessly around the city.

Senior Manager of Communications and Development

Sarah Richman


Sarah Richman is a writer, author, and poet with a development and communications background across the nonprofit space and the tech industry. She believes that well-told stories can change the world. Sarah holds cum laude degrees in Creative Writing and International Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She loves dogs and feels the most like herself when she’s in a garden.

826DC Interns are the Best

To put in plainly: our interns are the best. Not only do they go above and beyond in their work, they also take the time to teach our students magic tricks and keep us hip on the social media. We’d be lost without them (not to mention bored to tears when the young people aren’t around).

Shyann McDonald

Shyann is a North Carolina native who has a passion for reading, writing, her cat, and Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is currently attending her third year at Howard University and is majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Afro-American Studies. She spends her time outside of school volunteering with a youth justice initiative group and researching within the topics of black diaspora studies. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Shyann wishes to spend some time teaching English abroad before pursuing a Master’s degree in International Education.

Thomas Ohno-Machado

Prior to joining 826DC, Thomas served in the Teach For America corps in San Diego, California where he worked as a special education teacher for high school students and young adults. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Science in Special Education from National University. Currently, he is a graduate student in the Master of Arts program in English at Georgetown University. Outside of school and work, Thomas enjoys reading, studying languages, watching films, nature walks, biking, going to baseball games, and exploring new places both near and far.

Want to join our staff as an Intern?

Learn How Here

Board of Directors


Tom Viehe

Tom Viehe is a strategy consultant for EMD Strategies. In this role, he works with companies’ executive leadership on developing their strategic plan, improving their capture management processes, improving the quality of their pipeline, and building relationships within industry. His expertise is in providing private and public sector businesses with strategies for penetrating and diversifying their share of the federal market. Before joining EMD Strategies, Tom served as the Director of Research for IDS International, where he was responsible for all research and OCONUS-based programs. During his tenure he worked on proposal development, program management of several of the company’s first prime contracts, capture management, and determining PTW and pricing models. He attended the University of St Andrews for both undergraduate and graduate school, receiving a Masters of Arts in International Relations and a Masters of Letters in International Security Studies.

Vice Chair

Miah Daughtery, Ed.D.

Miah Daughtery, Ed.D. is the Executive Director of Literacy and Professional Learning at Odell Education and former Director of ELA and Literacy at Achieve. A focused and passionate educator, Miah has more than ten years’ experience at the classroom, district, and state levels. Miah completed her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, obtaining an Ed.D in Educational Administration and Public Policy.


Matthew Bressler

Matthew Bressler is a Principal at TDF Ventures and brings prior experience investing in and working with startup and growth stage companies. Prior to TDF, Matt worked with GE Ventures supporting investments and strategy in intelligent environments. Matt also served as the Director of Investments for the Wharton Social Venture Fund and as an Associate for FOUNDER.org, investing and assisting early-stage startups. Matt started his career as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman where he focused on growth strategy in a diverse set of industries including consumer electronics, transportation, energy, and healthcare IT. Matt graduated cum laude with a BA in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University and earned his MBA with honors from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Susan Gerock

Susan Gerock is the Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Washington REIT.  In her capacity, she is responsible for the leadership, integrative management and direction for company information systems including corporate-wide planning, budgeting for information technologies and coordination and integration of all company information technology matters.  She has over 25 years of management and information technology experience in commercial real estate, manufacturing, and retail. Susan holds an undergraduate degree in Government from The College of William & Mary and holds a Master of Science, Management of Information Technology degree from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce. She is active in numerous initiatives focused on young people, including having served as a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, volunteering with SafeShores DC, and serving as a Side By Side Investor with ACT for Alexandria.

Programs Committee Chair

Amy Pastan

Amy Pastan is an independent editor, photo researcher, writer, and book producer. She has been responsible for the publication of hundreds of titles. Before starting her own business in 1998, she held staff positions at the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution Press, where she developed an award-winning list of books in photography and fine arts. In addition to creating and producing works in all genres for print publishers, Amy is currently writing features for the Web and providing content for film and digital media. A lover of the written word, the nation’s capital, and children—she has two grown sons who are DC natives—Amy first joined 826DC as a volunteer. She is an avid reader, frequent traveler to Italy, and enjoys walking, yoga, American history, and art. Amy and her husband, Peter, owner of several local restaurants, live in Chevy Chase, DC.

Development Committee Chair

Richard Nash

Richard Nash is a Vice President of PayPal, leading the Global Government Relations Group, comprised of teams based in the North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. Richard leads PayPal’s work on key legislative and regulatory issues across the globe, focusing on emerging FinTech public policy. His work includes collaborating with, and informing global governments on the development of modern financial services regulation and legislation; additionally, his team manages PayPal’s contributions to discussions on consumer protection, cross-border trade expansion, intellectual property protections, cybersecurity and data protection. Prior to joining eBay Inc., Richard ran the Brussels office of European public affairs consultancy Political Intelligence. In addition, he was Secretary General of the European Internet Services Providers Association from 2005-2008. Richard began his career with a German law firm, based in Freiburg (Germany), having studied law in the UK and Austria. Richard speaks fluent German and Spanish. He resides in Washington, DC with his wife and son.

Literary Liaison Chair

W. Ralph Eubanks

W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past (Basic Books), which Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley named as one of the best nonfiction books of 2003. A graduate of the University of Mississippi (B.A.) and the University of Michigan (M.A., English Language and Literature), he is a recipient of a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and has been a Fellow at the New America Foundation. From 1995 to 2013, he was Director of Publishing for the Library of Congress and is the former Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia. He is currently a Visiting Professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, and at work on a book about Mississippi’s literary heritage. Ralph lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three children.

Abigail Smith

Abigail Smith is a partner at Hogan Lovells in Washington, DC. Clients rely on Abigail to advise on a wide range of securities offerings. She helps public companies and foreign private issuers with corporate governance and ongoing discloser obligations under U.S. federal securities laws. Her experience includes public and private U.S. and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and reorganizations. Abigail holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Jennifer Thorpe-Lewis

Jennifer Thorpe-Lewis is a retired senior commissioned officer who served in the active-duty Air Force for over 22 years.  During that time, she held positions of authority within the acquisition career field, nationally and internationally, including contracting officer, joint service officer, and commander.  She also earned a BA in Business Administration from Howard University, a MS in Contracting Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and a MS in Military Operational Arts and Science from the Air Command and Staff College.

In recent years, Jennifer has held positions of leadership within several educational institutions, where her children attend, including parent working group co-chair at a DC public elementary school and president of the parent-faculty association at a DC public charter school, where she has overseen budget execution in excess of $70K.

Jill Dowell

Jill Dowell enjoys a career in federal government relations concentrating on health care, tax, and trade issues. In her 25+ years in DC, she has represented corporations and national trade associations before policymakers both in the Administration and in Congress. When not working, Jill lives for baseball season (cheering on both the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros), reading, and experimenting in the kitchen. She is a graduate of Baylor University and majored in Political Science and Journalism.

Mary Kate Mullaney

Mary Kate Mullaney is the Senior Director, Financial and Executive Communications for GE. In this role, she has worked closely with GE’s executives and teams from across the world to demonstrate GE’s transformation through a period of significant company and market change. She is responsible for communicating with media, employees, and other stakeholders on GE’s strategy, financial performance, and M&A activity, as well as building messaging and engagement strategies for GE’s CEO and leadership team.

Mary Kate has a strong background in media relations, executive communications, public affairs, and thought leadership with experience across GE’s businesses and regions, including leading communications for the planned spin-off of GE Healthcare, developing the external affairs strategy for the merger and public company launch of Baker Hughes and GE Oil & Gas, creating GE Africa’s first region-wide sustainability program, and building research and events on GE’s global public policy priorities. Previously, she supported digital product development at Major League Baseball Advanced Media and editorial content and planning at Global Policy Journal and World Policy Journal.

Mary Kate earned an MSc in international political economy at the London School of Economics and a B.A. in political science from Providence College. She lives in Boston with her husband Mark, son Lincoln, and dog Windy.

Tait Sye

Tait Sye is a veteran communications strategist with more than fifteen years’ experience in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. He is currently a senior director with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Previously, Tait was a political appointee for President Obama, serving at Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Tait also recently co-founded, with his brother, a family foundation that provides impact grants focused on food justice. Tait holds both a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Taryn Fielder

Taryn Fielder is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Washington REIT, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. Prior to joining Washington REIT, Taryn served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for ASB Real Estate Investments, a privately-held real estate investment management firm, from 2013 to March 2017. In this role, she was responsible for all legal affairs of the company, including property acquisitions, leasing, and finance; fund formation; investor relations; compliance matters and human resources. She also served as the principal legal advisor to the firm’s management team. From 2011-2013, Taryn was the Assistant General Counsel of DiamondRock Hospitality Company, a publicly-traded hospitality REIT.

Prior to her in-house career, she practiced corporate and real estate law at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City and Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) in Washington, D.C. and served as Deputy General Counsel of the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Eckerd College.

Advisory Board

  • Joe Callahan (Executive Director Emeritus, Co-Chair)
  • David Wakelyn (Co-Chair)
  • Susan Shreve
  • Sally Bedell Smith
  • Rebecca Sinderbrand
  • Marcela Sanchez-Bender
  • George Pelecanos
  • E. Ethelbert Miller
  • Matt Klam
  • Carol Blue
  • Jessica Anya Blau
  • Marie Arana
  • Katie Hinman