May 2, 2019
The 2019 Night of 1,000 Stories was a record-smashing success. More than 400 supporters of 826 Boston’s free writing programs filled the ballroom of the Royal Sonesta to celebrate student writing and hear from hotly-anticipated keynote speaker Stephen King. Our generous community of supporters dug deep on May 2 and raised nearly $500,000 (and counting!)—every dollar of which powers 826 Boston’s tutoring center and five Writers’ Rooms.
Executive Director Jessica Drench laid out a bold vision for the expansion of 826 Boston’s programs and spoke about 826 Boston’s 2019 partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers to publish My Generation Can: Public Narratives for Community Change. John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science junior Cristian attested the importance of Writers’ Rooms, sharing how We the Students, published in 2018, amplified his voice and gave him the chance to use it for change.
Boston International Newcomers Academy (BINcA) seniors Robentina and Victor wowed the crowd with a performance of their original song “Marquis de Lafayette,” which was written in the Writers’ Room as part of the Hamilton Education Program and performed onstage at the Boston Opera House. Filmmaker Matt Watson debuted “Moments in My Memory,” a short film highlighting what the Writers’ Room at BINcA, a school that exclusively serves an immigrant student body, means to Robentina and Victor.
Award-winning author Stephen King brought the magical evening full circle. He said, “[Writers’ Rooms] are welcoming spaces where fledgling writers are encouraged rather than discouraged.” King connected his early experience with writerly mentors to the environment students find when they walk into an 826 Boston Writers’ Room. “What they feel is goodwill, and that sense that we are all in this together.”
It wouldn’t be Night of 1,000 Stories without a few surprises. An anonymous donor offered a $100,000 match, 826 network co-founder Dave Eggers made a guest appearance, and author Andre Dubus III agreed to double his “Dinner with Andre” prize in the middle of the auction. The evening ended with a bang as stilt-walkers fired confetti cannons into the crowd.
Night of 1,000 Stories is an annual celebration, but if you can’t wait until the next one rolls around, be in touch with Director of Advancement Kristin Barrali to sponsor the event.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Barton & Guestier
The Boston Globe
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Liberty Mutual Insurance
MacDonald Wealth Management
The Royal Sonesta Hotel