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Our 826 Boston Community

March 16, 2020

Photo by Mike Ritter

Updated: Wednesday, May 27 at 1:30 PM

Dear 826 Boston Community,

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 for the rest of the school year, in alignment with Governor Baker’s order to close all public and private schools in Massachusetts.

As we respond to today’s challenges, we are more committed than ever to providing opportunities for 826 Boston students to connect, to write themselves out of dark corners, and to see their hopes, reflections, and dreams published in beautiful books.

In response to our community’s needs, we created a digital plan that charts our path forward and provides remote resources for students, teachers, and families. 

  • In collaboration with our partner BPS teachers, we are offering remote tutoring to students via virtual Writers’ Room services, and running 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 (YLAB), representing students from all six of 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 and empowerment during the pandemic. The Boston Globe covered their book project and YLAB team leader Asiyah was recently featured in a new short film by Matt Watson.
  • Students in 826 Boston’s After-School Tutoring and Writing Program are receiving remote support with their homework assignments, and our team is sending home digital care packages for their families.
  • 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 soon. 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. 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: 

  • Half Half Half Half Half Marathon: We postponed the Half Half Half Half Half Marathon that was scheduled for April 16. The Boston Marathon was 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 September. You can register for the race here.
  • Night of 1,000 Stories: We postponed our in-person annual gala that was scheduled for May 19. Save the date for our new date for Night of 1,000 Stories—November 19—as we celebrate the many incredible stories of 826 Boston student authors and raise critical funds for 826 Boston’s youth writing and tutoring programs.

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. 

Stay safe and well, 

Jessica Drench
Executive Director, 826 Boston

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