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Our 826 Boston Community

March 16, 2020

Photo by Mike Ritter

Updated: Thursday, March 26 at 9:30 AM

Dear 826 Boston family and friends,

In recognition and support of the public health guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, 826 Boston will not be running programs at our writing and tutoring center or in our Writers’ Rooms until May 4, in alignment with school closures in the Boston Public Schools and the state of Massachusetts.

826 Boston has responded to our community’s needs and drafted a digital plan that charts our path forward and provides remote resources for as long as we need to do so. 

  • In collaboration with our partner BPS teachers, we will offer 1:1 remote tutoring to students via virtual Writers’ Room services, and run creative writing clubs in digital spaces that provide students with outlets to process the impact of current events on their families and communities.
  • The 826 Boston Youth Literary Advisory Board, representing students from all six 826 Boston Writers’ Rooms, continues to meet weekly via Zoom and is at work on a citywide anthology focused on the topic of self-identity.
  • Students in 826 Boston’s After-School Tutoring and Writing Program will receive remote support with their homework assignments. They are also developing stories, scripts, and comic strips on the topic of spoofs and misadventures, which are slated to be released digitally in June.
  • The 2020 Young Authors’ Book Project, a guide to Dorchester’s culturally significant landmarks written by students from the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, is set to go to print next month. Representative Ayanna Pressley penned the book’s foreword. She writes, “Let us take the opportunity these young people have afforded us to celebrate together. To celebrate their passion, their knowledge, and the sweat equity they have poured into their neighborhood.”

Moving forward, we will continue to monitor communications from the Governor’s Office and the City of Boston regarding the Boston Public Schools plan for school closures. Any changes to the status of 826 Boston’s programming will be communicated on our website and on social media.

Additionally, here are where things stand right now with the 826 Boston spring events calendar: 

  • Eat Your Words: We are postponing the Eat Your Words tasting benefit that was scheduled for March 30. We are deeply grateful to the generous sponsors and outstanding chefs whose support makes this event such a powerful fundraiser for 826 Boston. We are hoping to reschedule in the fall—please stay tuned for more information.
  • Interrobang?! Volunteer Celebration: We are canceling 826 Boston’s annual Interrobang?! event that was scheduled for April 3. We will be exploring different opportunities to celebrate and honor the stellar contributions of our volunteers this year.
  • Half Half Half Half Half Marathon: We are postponing the Half Half Half Half Half Marathon that was scheduled for April 16. The Boston Marathon has been postponed to September 14, and our slightly shorter race is going to follow suit. We will plan to break a light sweat for literacy at a to-be-determined date in the fall.
  • Night of 1,000 Stories: We are postponing our in-person annual gala that was scheduled for May 19. We are exploring options for different formats and timing, and will be in touch! 

Our transformational programming that serves Boston’s talented youth will carry on. Please consider making a special contribution to 826 Boston to help support these events and our programming.

We will continue to share news, updates, and student stories—stories of hope, fear, and resilience—on our website and social media channels. We hope you will keep sharing stories with us, too. Send us an email. Share a comment on social media. We would love to hear from you. 

Take good care, everybody—and a virtual elbow bump to you all. 

Jessica Drench
Executive Director, 826 Boston


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