826 Boston is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing organization where students in grades K-12 and beyond can share their stories, amplify their voices, and develop as leaders in school and in life.

Our services are structured around the 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 understanding in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, field trips, creative writing workshops, in-school Writers’ Rooms, college essay assistance, help for English Language Learners, and in-depth publishing projects.

Each of our free programs seeks to empower students to express their ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their individual voices.

826 Boston’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Statement
At 826 Boston, we honor and actively work toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across our organization. We are committed to centering the voices of the students who we serve, to creating inclusive spaces, and to incorporating feedback from our community into our decision-making processes. Our DEI lens is always evolving through the courageous conversations in which we participate and the relationships that we build through our work and service. We strengthen our cultural competency through experience, training, and feedback, which informs the development of all new organizational practices and goals and the evaluation of all existing procedures.

826 Boston is dedicated to providing a platform for student advocacy through writing and publishing opportunities. In our work and mission, we are committed to dismantling white supremacy culture by recognizing that we are complicit in systems of racism and oppression. We will work to hold ourselves accountable in addressing these harmful structures and behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement
We would like to acknowledge that the land where the 826 Boston center, offices, and partner schools are located is on the original homelands of the Massachusett Tribe. We honor and pay our respects to the ancestral bloodline of the Massachusett Tribe and their descendants who are still inhabiting this land on which we work and serve today.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Action Plans
Please read on to learn how our organization has applied a DEI lens to our work at 826 Boston in the development of team action plans. You can find our plans here.


F.A.Q.

How many students do you serve each year and where do they come from?
826 Boston provides free writing and tutoring programs for Boston students ages 6 to 18, serving more than 4,500 students and forming supportive partnerships with 150 teachers annually.

How much does it cost to attend 826 Boston?
All of our student programming is free!

When did 826 Boston open?
The late Mayor Menino cut the ribbon in front of the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute in 2007.

How many volunteers are involved with 826 Boston and who are they?
826 Boston maintains a network of more than 2,500 volunteers from the Boston community—including professional writers, artists, and teachers. More than 700 volunteers regularly devote their time and talents to our programs. These qualified and compassionate individuals are involved in each and every program 826 Boston offers.

Why is it called 826 Boston?
The flagship chapter of 826 (826 Valencia) opened its doors at 826 Valencia St. in San Francisco. Founded in 2002 by internationally acclaimed author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia inspired a network of creative writing and tutoring centers now nine cities strong: Boston, San Francisco, Ann Arbor/Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The 826 National office was established in 2008 to serve the growing educational network by providing strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of the 826 network.

826 Boston aims to build communities of empowered young writers who will succeed in school, attend college, and carry with them a lifelong love of writing and reading.

Our programs are designed to motivate students to complete their schoolwork, improve confidence in their writing skills, and foster positive relationships with adult mentors.

To gauge the impact of our programs, 826 Boston uses a variety of metrics, including third-party evaluations and pre- and post-program surveys.

Read our 2020 Annual Report for more information about what we accomplished together.

See what students and parents say about our programs:

93% of students agree that 826 Boston has helped them become more comfortable in school.

85% of parents report that their child is getting better grades with the help of 826 Boston.

Since working with 826 Boston, my daughter has become motivated and excited to write. I’m in awe of how 826 Boston staff and volunteers achieve such greatness from these scholars.”

-Josette W., after-school parent

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Kris Atienza
Marketing and Communications Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA
Kris (they/them) is someone who has lived in some of the most popular Northeast cities in their lifetime, if their eccentric accent is any hint. The Philadelphia native graduated with a degree in Mass Communications from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Kris has found the most fulfillment in working with others to celebrate and embrace their true selves. When not yelling about sports, Dungeons & Dragons, or food, Kris is probably attempting to thwart the shenanigans of their cat Pierogi.
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Gena Barenholtz
Finance Manager
Prior to joining 826 Boston, Gena (she/her) held positions at HarbourVest Partners, LLC as a Senior Tax Accountant, Commercial Union as a Senior Accountant and Fidelity Investments as an Accountant. Gena graduated from Bentley University with a Masters in Taxation and a Graduate Certificate in Accountancy. Undergraduate she studied at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. Gena enjoys people, traveling as well as being outdoors running, biking and being active.
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Leah Bognanni
Out-of-School Time Program Coordinator
Leah (she/her) is a screenwriter and educator born in South Korea and adopted by Italian Americans in Malden, Massachusetts. She has worked with numerous nonprofits in Los Angeles as a juvenile justice teaching artist, leading creative writing workshops in detention centers and alternative education environments. Leah is a television writing fellow in Lena Waithe’s 2021 Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab and has an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. She can’t wait to share her passions for storytelling, curriculum development, and youth program coordination with everyone in the 826 Boston family! 
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Charlene Browne
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Charlene (she/they) flew the coop for a B.A. in Linguistics modified with Classical Languages and Literatures from Dartmouth College. Her extra-curricular work on campus focused on social justice initiatives and amplifying marginalized voices within the student body. Now, having returned to her home state, Charlene seeks to continue these efforts through the amazing opportunity of service at 826 Boston’s Writers’ Room. As an arts aficionado, she enjoys writing stories, exploring new art forms, baking, and listening/singing to Broadway musicals. She often daydreams about the next country she will visit or the next fantasy world she will encounter in a book.
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Miranda Burel
Publishing Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA
Miranda (she/her) is a Michigan native who discovered her passion for amplifying student voices during her undergrad at Aquinas College. There, she studied Community Leadership, English, Writing, French, and Irish Studies, and learned the importance of intersectionality in all aspects of life. She loves the nuance of language and feels most joyful when talking to others about writing and editing. In time spent away from writing and reading, she can be found baking bread, building a cheeseboard, and quoting hundreds of movies.
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Kara Deese
Communications Manager
Kara (she/her) grew up in a tiny town in the Adirondack Mountains and earned her B.A. in English at Middlebury College in Vermont. She’s worked in a variety of digital and communications roles, most recently at the ONE Campaign where she wrote stories of passionate poverty-fighters and helped designed campaigns to increase public engagement to advance poverty reduction in Africa. Kara regularly misses Scratch bagels in Maine, loves reading The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen, and is a big fan of after-dinner walks.
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Sabrina Diaz
Administrative Assistant
A Boston native and strongly passionate about education and students, Sabrina (she/her) dedicates her time serving in the Boston Public Schools and Greater Boston community. She recently graduated with a BA in Early Childhood Education. Her passion for equity and inclusion has driven her to focus on her master’s degree in Special Education, where she teaches students in K-5. She previously served four consecutive years in AmeriCorps through the non-profit organization Jumpstart, giving back to the community that she proudly grew up in. She enjoys building relationships and long-lasting partnerships that support students and their families. You can catch Sabrina listening to Salsa, or enjoying the company of 826 Boston staff and service members.
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Jessica Drench
Executive Director
A Greater Boston native, Jessica (she/her) began her career as a certified English and Special Education teacher in The Boston Public Schools, and has worked in education and youth development nonprofits throughout her career. Jessica earned a B.A. in English from Brown University and an M.A. in Teaching English from Columbia Teachers College, and was certified by the Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership in 2013. In her spare time, she can be found weeding her wild garden and cooking up a storm.
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Kassy Edouard
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Kassy (she/her) is a Bostonian, born and bred (go Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox!). She recently graduated from University of Massachusetts, Lowell with a B.A. in English Literature. Her passion for writing and reading started with a scholastic book fair catalog and a half-empty piggy bank stash. Drawn to 826 Boston’s mission of transforming students into published authors and empowering them to find their voices, Kassy intends to support students on their journey becoming confident storytellers. When Kassy isn’t reading multiple books at a time or spitting poetic wax on paper, she is a pretend sleuth watching true crime television or spending quality time with her friends and family in the city.
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Karina Enriquez
K-12 Programs Coordinator
Karina (she/her) is a Los Angeles native and daughter of Mexican immigrants. Before moving to Boston, Karina managed youth programs for elementary and middle-grade students. She is pursuing her MA in Children’s Literature and MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons University. As a Latinx writer, her stories center on identity and self-acceptance, inter-generational conflict, depression, and self-worth. At 826 Boston, Karina is thrilled to combine her passion for youth services, writing, and diverse voices. When she can find time to relax, Karina enjoys exploring the outdoors and all the historic sites Boston has to offer.
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Mark Gartsbeyn
Volunteer Engagement Specialist, AmeriCorps
Belarus-born and Massachusetts-raised, Mark (he/him) studied media production and journalism at Emerson College and is absolutely refusing to leave the city that he loves. He spent a few years writing and producing for the Boston Globe and Boston.com before landing as an AmeriCorps member at 826 Boston, and he’s excited to dive into nonprofit work and the world of education. Mark is into biking, board games, bar trivia, bagels, bunnies, and bad alliteration.
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Catherine Gomez
Impact and Operations Manager
Catherine (she/her) graduated from Hollins University in 2012 with a degree in Spanish and International Studies. She completed two years of AmeriCorps, first teaching English to immigrants and refugees in New Bedford, and then advocating for children in foster care as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Boston. Most recently, she was the Site Manager with Jumpstart for Young Children, working with both college students and preschoolers in Roxbury. She is currently working on completing her Masters of Education at Northeastern University. She is passionate about service, books, and social justice.
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Maddie Hager
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Maddie (she/her) is a Rochester, New York native and studied urban planning at Haverford College. In addition to her love of studying and exploring cities and the communities they contain, she is passionate about writing and the connections it creates. Maddie is looking forward to connecting with students through their stories and growing with them.
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Ariel Heim
Community Engagement Coordinator
Ariel Heim (she/her) is a Sacramento native with a passion for writing. Her goal is to tell as many stories as possible and to give kids from historically silenced backgrounds the tools to tell their own stories and create change in the publishing world. After completing her B.A. in English, Creative Writing, and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, Ariel moved to Boston. She is currently pursuing her M.A./M.F.A. in Children’s Literature and Writing for Children. When not working, she enjoys reading, video games, and knitting.
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Nakia Hill
Director of Youth Writing Program Innovation and Partnerships
Nakia (she/her) is a published author and journalist. In 2018, she was named a Boston Artist-in-Residence for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. During her residency she published two books, including her debut collection of poetry Water Carrier and I Still Did It, an intergenerational anthology featuring remarkable stories of resilience written by women of color. Nakia received her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism at Howard University and her Masters in Print and Multimedia Journalism at Emerson College. She currently teaches non-fiction creative writing classes focused on how women of color can use writing as a tool for healing and self-care.
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Isata Jalloh
Writers’ Room Manager
Isata (she/her) is a Boston native who grew up just blocks away from 826 Boston (If only it had been 826 Boston during her childhood…). She received her B.A. in communications with a concentration in digital journalism and a minor in sociology from Newbury College. Isata fostered her relationship with 826 in the spring of 2016 as a program intern, volunteer, service member, and now staff member. If Isata had to choose one author whose work changed her life it would be James Baldwin.
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Alison Kronstadt
Writers’ Room Coordinator at the Rafael Hernández School
Alison Kronstadt (she/they) grew up in the D.C. area, on the traditional territory of the Pamunkey and Piscataway tribes. She is the daughter of a writer, and has loved words all her life. Alison attended Oberlin College, where they studied Creative Writing and Education, and co-founded a slam poetry club and team. She is active in the Boston poetry community, currently serving as a slam-master for the Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam (FEMS). They really like pickles.
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Matt Languedoc
Volunteer Engagement Specialist, AmeriCorps
Matt (he/they) is a writer, artist, and video editor who is passionate about using art and writing to address larger social issues. In 2016, Matt served as a City Year Corps member in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 2021, he received his BA in Communication at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has had some of his writings published in the student-led publication The Amherst Wire. They believe that writing is the most essential tool for communication and self-expression, and believe that anyone can become a great writer. Matt has also seen every movie ever made, and loves discovering new music.
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Francie Latour
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director
Francie Latour (she/her) is a writer, educator, mother of three, and daughter of Haitian immigrants. Francie grew up outside Philadelphia and lived in New York and Virginia before moving to Boston in the mid-90s to write for the Boston Globe. In 2012 she began her diversity, equity, and inclusion training at MIT, where for 7 years she coordinated a summer diversity initiative that prepares and inspires Black, Brown, Indigenous, and first-generation college students for careers in STEM. In 2015, Francie co-founded and now runs Wee The People, a social justice project that develops innovative, arts-based programming for children and antiracism workshops for caregivers, educators, and non-profit organizations. When she’s not working, you can find Francie at a museum obsessing over Black artists like Bisa Butler, Ebony Patterson, Philomé Obin, and Yinka Shonibare.
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Jenna Leschuk
Development Director
Jenna Leschuk (she/her) got her foot in the door with writing as a student tutor at Dartmouth College’s Composition Center. After graduation, she used the power of words (and recruitment!) to help find and train the next generation of environmental leaders with Green Corps. She worked in communications with Public Interest GRFX and as a freelance writer and graphic designer before joining the development team at 826 Boston.
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Chris Logue
Deputy Director
Before joining the team at 826 Boston, Chris (he/him) worked as an attorney at a small nonprofit law firm where he trained and advised nonprofit organizations across the country. Prior to that he managed a team of attorneys at Casa Myrna Vázquez, a local organization providing services to victims of domestic violence. A proud Massachusettsan and lover of words, Chris’s first poems appeared in Everett High School’s inaugural poetry anthology.
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Cynthia Lopez
Bilingual Program Assistant
Cynthia (she/her) is an alumna of the Rafael Hernández School and served as an after-school group leader at the school for six years. She began her journey at 826 Boston as an intern, and for the last two years, she has served as an AmeriCorps Fellow with the Blanca Burgos Writers’ Room. She is overjoyed to continue her work with 826 Boston as the new Bilingual Program Assistant.
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Lauren Lopez
Writers’ Room Coordinator at the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
Lauren (they/them) is a native New Yorker who graduated from Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program in 2018. They started with 826 Boston as an AmeriCorps VISTA working closely with university partners on the volunteer team. At any given time, they’re probably running around Boston volunteering with nonprofits like Writers Without Margins, Brink Literacy Project, or Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam. When they’re not doing all things writing and publishing, you can find them missing New York bagels, cross stitching on public transportation, or planning ridiculous spreads for their bullet journal.
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Yoshiko Lynch
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Yoshiko (she/they) is a Colorado native who developed a passion for serving youth when she worked as an outdoor educator during the summer of 2019. Since then she has helped assist an after-school youth program for her work-study at Carleton College, ran a cooking class with the Boys & Girls Clubs last summer, and interned as an assistant teacher at the Boston Outdoor Preschool Network. She spends her free time reading, baking, and pursuing creative projects like writing poetry and personal essays.
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Will Marshall
Publishing and Programs Manager
A former 826 volunteer and service member, Will (he/him) brings his passion for education and young adults to the Writers’ Room at the John D. O’Bryant High School. Will is a graduate of New York University’s Journalism School and has worked in newsrooms, production studios, and in higher education. He has a special knack for resolving disputes between feuding middle schoolers and if you run into him, be sure to talk horror movies and Italian restaurants.
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Shannon McKeever
Family & Community Partnerships Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA
Shannon (she/her) is originally from Connecticut and recently graduated from Franklin Pierce University where she earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Shannon has a passion for advocating social justice and hopes to one day achieve a master’s degree in social work. She also has a deep love for writing, reading, and her dog, Lola! Shannon is incredibly excited to begin her journey with 826 Boston, and can’t wait to see what the future holds. 
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Carolyn Navikonis
Director of Programs, Impact, and Evaluation
Carolyn (she/her) joins 826 Boston with more than ten years of experience in education as a classroom teacher and nonprofit program leader. She began her career teaching English at Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA, opening the school’s first writing center. Upon relocating to Boston, Carolyn joined the team at Citizen Schools. She first served as Director of Civic Engagement, recruiting, training, and engaging hundreds of volunteers across the private and public sectors. She then transitioned to Director of Eighth Grade Academy and Alumni Services, launching and leading innovative programs to support students through their middle to high school transition. A New Jersey native, Carolyn can often be seen pumping her fist and driving down the Turnpike with her husband and daughter in tow.
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Heather Nelson
Writers’ Room Coordinator at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science
Heather (she/her) grew up in Charlottesville, VA, but considers Cambridge to be her true home. She is a poet, a bookworm and the mother of three children. Before finding her dream job at 826 Boston, she worked as an attorney and as a high school English teacher. In her spare time, Heather remains a true word-nerd, participating in book discussion and writing groups. She also likes to cook, bike, explore the city, and meet new people, especially writers, teachers, and teens.
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Genielysse Reyes
K-8 Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Originally from California, Genielysse (Genie) Reyes (she/her) joins 826 Boston after completing her M.F.A. in Writing for Children at Simmons University. She is an aspiring children’s book author who writes picture books and middle-grade fiction, and she has been previously published in Pomona Valley Review and Intersection Stories. She loves many forms of storytelling, from spoken word to musical theatre to animation, and she draws and co-writes a comic series with her best friends. Her day is always made when she gets to witness young people celebrating their own beautiful stories.
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Kately Rivero
K-8 Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Kately (she/her) is from Miami where she was raised by immigrant parents from Cuba (who still don’t understand what she wants to do). She moved to Boston in 2019 and earned her BA from Emerson College, where she studied publishing and aspires to be an editor one day. She previously worked for TRIO Student Support Services at Miami Dade College’s North Campus and it was there that her love for working with other writers and students was solidified; she naturally gravitated toward 826 Boston afterward. When she isn’t editing or pet sitting, Kately is trying to finally sit down and read a book since she now has time (but then she gets distracted by her Switch instead).
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Skyler Robinson
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Skyler (she/her) is a trans woman from Connecticut who is currently studying early childhood education. She has faced a variety of struggles the majority of her life including homelessness, mental illness, and abandonment. It was with the help of the LGBTQ community and Skyler’s mentor, Jeannie, that she was able to move to Boston. Today, it is her goal to help every single person regardless of their background achieve stability and comfort in their lives. And Skyler believes that starts with the youth.
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Karen Sama
Out-of-School Time Program Director
Karen (she/her) grew up in Queens, New York, and earned her B.A. in Religion from Colorado College. After graduating, she moved to Denver and worked directly with preschoolers with special needs in homes and Head Start classrooms.
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Fiona Stevenson
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Fiona (she/her) grew up outside of Boston and is a recent graduate of Scotland’s University of St Andrews, where she studied English literature. She is thrilled to combine her interests in writing and education this year at Boston International Newcomers Academy  Writers’ Room. In her free time, she explores the woods, does ballet, listens to the Armchair Expert podcast, stares at a blank page hoping it will turn into a short story, eventually starts actually writing that short story, and reads. She loves workshopping writing with others, and looks forward to being inspired by students’ creativity this year!
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Maya Stroshane
Institutional Giving Manager
A native Bostonian and former Boston Public School student, Maya (she/her) is excited to bring her nonprofit grant writing experience and her lifelong love of fiction writing to the 826 Boston mission. After studying literary arts at Brown University, Maya cobbled together a career as a content writer and editor for various companies, with her most recent venture being a grant writer for UTEC, Inc., which provides support services to gang-involved young adults in the Merrimack Valley. She hopes to continue to learn and thrive in the nonprofit world at 826 Boston. In her natural habitat, you will likely find Maya with earbuds in, lost in an epic fantasy soundtrack or a Broadway musical, daydreaming about the exploits of fictional characters (including her own).
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Jeileny Tenorio
Data & Donor Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA
Born and raised in Wyoming, Michigan, Jeileny (she/her) studied mathematics and business administration at Aquinas College. She had previous experience as a Summer Volunteer Engagement VISTA at Dwelling Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jeileny is fluent in Spanish and is passionate about people and numbers. When she’s not enjoying time with friends and family, Jeileny also likes going for a run or singing Beyoncé. 
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Kate Varteresian
STEM Literacy Specialist, AmeriCorps VISTA
Kate (she/her) was born and raised in central Massachusetts. While earning her BS in Biology & Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she discovered a love for STEM education. As a physically disabled woman, she sees value in creating spaces within STEM where all students feel welcome and valued. She is currently earning an EdM in Science Education from Boston University, and plans on becoming a high school biology teacher after completing her VISTA service year. In her free time, Kate enjoys reading (mostly science fiction) and cross-stitching.
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Otto Vock
High School Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Otto Vock (they/them) is a Jewish, Nonbinary poet and educator hailing from Jersey City, NJ. They hold a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College. They hope to foster artful academic environments that encourage a growth mindset towards writing and creative risk-taking. Otto has a deep passion for poetry curricula aimed at facilitating students to recognize the assets of their identity and to observe their daily experiences, and the things they know to be true through a creative, systems-thinking lens.
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Sophie Weitz
K-8 Program Specialist, AmeriCorps
Sophie (she/her) is a recent graduate of Brandeis University, where she majored in Education Studies and triple minored in Journalism, Social Justice and Social Policy, and Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation. She discovered a love for tutoring while in college and worked with international Brandeis students, as well as K-8 students. She’s thrilled to be serving with 826 Boston and feels privileged to be able to work with, and learn from, young people. In her free time, Sophie loves to dance, binge watch TV, and hang out with friends.
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Richard Wheelock
Writers’ Room Coordinator at Boston International Newcomers Academy
Richie (he/him) moved to Boston in 2013 after growing up in Illinois. He received his B.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and he spent his first postgrad year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at 826 Boston, recruiting volunteers and building community partnerships. Richie is a writer, pianist, and illustrator, and he knows how to steam green beans just right. His favorite short story is “Sweet Jam in Las Vegas,” by Julian, a second grader from Chicago.
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Patti Wilder
Volunteer Program Director
Patti Wilder (she/her) believes the most effective way to build community wealth is through service. Before joining 826 Boston, she managed the volunteer program at Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters and spent six years as a chef in Cambridge. Patti can often be found volunteering at animal shelters, mentoring with the Girl Scouts Gold Award, or working on a sewing project.
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Paul Willis
Writers’ Room Manager
Returning home from a decade in Sacramento, California, Paul Willis (he/him) joins the 826 Boston team as a Writers’ Room Manager. Willis is a hip-hop and spoken word artist and a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant whose client list includes businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies such as Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm; Metro EDGE, the Sacramento Metro Chamber Foundation’s young professional group; the City of Sacramento Department of Youth, Parks, & Community Enrichment; EdSource; and the Sacramento Bee. His 15-year professional career in the arts, education, leadership development, and social justice-driven organizations has provided Paul a unique lens to see the world and shape it.
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Dalanei Willoughby
After-School Publishing and Assessment Specialist
Born and raised in Boston, Dalanei (they/them) is passionate about a plethora of topics currently including, but not limited to: dinosaurs, animals, plants, insects, books, and crafts. They attended Michigan State University, majoring in Zoology with a concentration in animal behavior and neurobiology. In addition to minors in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Spanish, they were involved in a number of food system and equality organizations. They love experiencing all the world around them has to offer, and sharing that with those around them. One of Dalanei’s current hobbies is learning how to make, stuff, and assemble their own stuffed animals.
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Jhona Xaviera
Volunteer Engagement Specialist, AmeriCorps
Jhona Xaviera (they/she) is a Boston-based multimedia artist who weaves visual and performing arts into stories that embody radical self-love, transformative justice, and healing as a person of transfeminine, nonbinary, and Afro-Latinx experience. Jhona received their BA in Studio Art and Art History from the SMFA at Tufts University where they focused on museum practices, queer history, and African Diasporic religion. They are excited to support students and volunteers at 826 Boston as they cultivate their voices as creative, powerful, and unique individuals amidst a fertile community. Aside from being an artist, musician, writer, and researcher, they are also a daughter, aunt, aspiring vegan chef, and a fan of anime. Find them getting lost and singing to themselves at your local nature trail! Photo credit: Christani Pal
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Loni Zelfon
Development and Events Manager
Loni (she/her) first learned of 826 Boston through a collaboration in her former role managing youth programs at Future Chefs. She fell in love with Boston and its people more than fifteen years ago while completing her degree in Nutrition Science at Boston University. Loni brings her unique combination of fundraising and youth work experience to the development team, along with many cute photos of her baby.

Are you looking to join our team? Internship and full-time opportunities, when they are available, can be found here.

Executive Committee
Gillian Kohli, 826 Boston Board President, Wellesley Books
Janet Tiampo, 826 Boston Board Vice President, 
Mimi Curran, 826 Boston Board Treasurer, retired, WGBH
Marc Foster, 826 Boston Board Clerk, Transparency Life Sciences, LLC
Charisse Howse, Tufts Health Plan

Board Members
David Bagnani, Fidelity Investments, Retired
Andrew Cohn, LMEC
Donna Cowan, retired, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman
Jon Fullerton, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jeff Mayersohn, Harvard Book Store
Pam Rosenberg
Samantha Simmons, HubSpot
Benielle Sims
Kate Taylor
Kevin Whalen, Morgan Stanley
Harvey Cotton, 826 Boston Legal Counsel

Co-Founders
Kevin Feeney
Helen Jacobson

Literary Board
Steve Almond
M. T. Anderson
Richard Blanco
Christopher Castellani
Jennifer De Leon
Anita Diamant
Andre Dubus III
A. W. Flaherty
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Julia Glass
Meredith Goldstein
Mary Gordon
Julian Houston
Jeff Kinney
Lois Lowry
David McCullough
Tom Perrotta
Heidi Pitlor
Richard Russo
Jim Shepard

Youth Literary Advisory Board
Blessing
Eliza
Justis
Kaylany
Khaiyrah
Oriana
Tariq
Yaretssy
Zariah

Media contact

For all media inquiries please contact Kara Deese, Communications Manager, at 617-390-5610, or kara@826boston.org.

Resources

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Mission Statement: 826 Boston is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing organization where students in grades K-12 and beyond can share their stories, amplify their voices, and develop as leaders in school and in life.

Quick Facts

Every year more than 4,500 students ages 6-18 participate in 826 Boston programs, in and out of school.

Since opening in 2007, 826 Boston has served more than 29,000 students.

826 Boston produces professionally published collections of student writing every year, containing hundreds of stories. 

Our History

The Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute, the whimsical storefront entrance to 826 Boston’s center, opened in 2007. It is one of the eight cities that belong to the 826 network. The first chapter was founded on 826 Valencia Street in San Francisco, California by acclaimed author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari, in 2002.

Testimonials

“Since working with 826 Boston, my daughter has become motivated and excited to write. I’m in awe of how 826 Boston staff and volunteers achieve such greatness from these scholars.” —Josette W., after-school parent

“It’s been amazing,” said senior Ronicia D. “They give us all the support we need to write things for colleges, for essays, for our classes.”

Five-Year Plan

Stay tuned for more information on our latest strategic plan!

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826 Boston in the News

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Eye on Education: 826 Boston’s Writers’ Room at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School

WBZ TV—April 26, 2017

“In order to change the status quo, we gotta shake things up and cannot prepare children for the 21st-century opportunities without a partnership with those that live beyond the walls of this school,” said Dr. Lindsa McIntyre, Headmaster of the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester.

“It’s been amazing,” said senior Ronicia Da Veigh. “They give us all the support we need to write things for colleges, for essays, for our classes.”


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826 Boston Celebrates Night of 1,000 Stories
The Boston Globe — May 7, 2015

The Roxbury writing center for young people, 826 Boston, had its fifth annual “Night of 1,000 Stories” benefit at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge on Tuesday. The featured speaker was writer (and former Boston resident) Luis Alberto Urrea, who was a Pulitzer finalist for his nonfiction book “The Devil’s Highway: A True Story.” VIPs included 826 co-founder Dave Eggers, and students Stevelyn DesireJulia Teixeira, and Agnes Ugoji, who helped with the night’s presentation. Photo credit: Anne Haggerty.


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826 Boston Hosts Literary Jeopardy at Porter Square Books
The Boston Globe — March 16, 2015

Porter Square Books was packed on Friday night for “Literary Jeopardy,” an event hosted by 826 Boston, the Egleston Square-based nonprofit writing center for kids. Clues that called for answers in the form of a question included “This ‘Freaks and Geeks’ costar took on the role of the Emerald City’s misunderstood leader in a 2013 prequel to the beloved 1939 film,” and “This is the name George Eliot, author of ‘Middlemarch,’ was born with.” (For the record, those answers are James Franco and Mary Ann Evans). The night’s VIPs were “Get in Trouble” author Kelly Link, of Northampton, and “Everything I Never Told You” author Celeste Ng, of Cambridge.


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Gregory Maguire Stops in for Books for Breakfast
The Boston Globe — November 21, 2014

“Wicked” author Gregory Maguire was the special speaker at Thursday morning’s Books for Breakfast benefit for 826 Boston. The annual morning celebration raises money for the Roxbury writing center, which supports students 6 to 18 with tutoring and writing projects. WilmerHale hosted the event, which drew young readers such as Nicholas Allen,15, and Emily Gay, 17.


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Students Take the Stage at the Strand Theatre, Thanks to 826 Boston and the A.R.T.
WBUR’s the ARTery — August 13, 2014

In a quick five week scramble that would make for excellent reality television, a group of 20 students from ages 10 to 14 write, design and act in their own play—culminating in a performance at the Strand Theatre on Friday, Aug. 15. Read More

826 Boston’s writing and tutoring center is located in the heart of Egleston Square in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.

Behind the door of the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute, past the 10-foot statue of Bigfoot and the terrarium with our beloved tarantula Edwina, you’ll find a tutoring center buzzing with activity as students work one-on-one with tutors, read in our library, or look up questions on our computers.

If you’re a parent interested in signing up a student for one of our programs, click here.

If you’re a teacher interested in bringing your class to the center for a field trip, click here.

If you’re a donor or community member interested in learning more about 826 Boston, click here.

If you’re looking to make a difference as a member of our team or as an intern, click here.


Directions & Contact Information

Just trying to find your way?

You can find us at:
826 Boston
3035 Washington Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Or call us at:
(617) 442-5400

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