826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB) represents students from all six of 826 Boston Writers’ Rooms. YLAB members apply and are selected in the fall and receive paid stipends for their work during the school year as artist-leaders and peer editors. The students meet weekly, and their work culminates every year in a final project. Past projects have included a podcast and a professionally printed book.

The 2021-2022 YLAB members are:

Blessing is a 15-year-old freshman at Brooke High School. She was born in Nigeria and raised in Boston. Her hobbies include taking walks, listening to many different genres of music, journaling, and reading. She is passionate about poetry and upliftment.

Josiah is an 18-year-old from Dorchester and is currently attending Match Charter Public High School. Josiah specializes in personal essays, Opinion articles, and poetry. Much of his work consists of personal and real life experiences. 

Justis is a 16-year old who attends the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. She was born in Dorchester and intends to stay there. She enjoys communication in various mediums such as writing, music, and language. Oftentimes, she focuses on her creative endeavors and making sure she gets the most out of her education.

Kaylany is a Roxbury native who enjoys cooking, dancing, and going to Chez Vous to go roller skating. She strives to be a humanitarian activist in her community, help the black and brown community, and push for a better education system.

Khaiyrah is 14 years old and is a proud homeschool student. She was born and raised in Jamaica Plain. She previously attended 826 Boston’s After-School Writing and Tutoring Program. Khaiyrah enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with extended family. Her favorite sport is gymnastics.

Maya is a 14-year-old from Roxbury who attends Boston Latin School. Her hobbies include reading, sleeping, and of course, trying new and exotic foods. At school, Maya enjoys learning Latin, public speaking, and math in any form. She is passionate about writing, and constantly expanding her social circle.

Oriana is 14 years old and attends Boston Latin School. She was born and raised in Roxbury and is passionate about social justice and improving her community. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music while reading, writing, painting, or drawing. At school, Oriana loves public speaking, math, and using her strengths to be a leader. She would never miss out on an opportunity to learn, and is currently improving her acting and roller-skating skills!

Salem was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Dorchester, MA. They are 17 years old and a junior in high school. They attend the Henderson High Inclusion Cchool. They enjoy writing and reading, despite their dyslexia. While in quarantine, they have developed a love of writing letters to people and pen-pals. They also run track and do other sports. They really enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Yaretssy is 15 years old and attends EMK high school. She was born and raised in the Bronx, NYC, but now lives in Boston. She enjoys listening to music and talking to her friends. Also, she enjoys going out with her friends.

Zaryah is a native Bostonian and is currently attending Boston Arts Academy as a film major. This 17 year old writer specializes in short science fiction , creative nonfiction and script writings. Many of her works contain themes of Afrofuturism, Gender identity and coming of age.

If you have any other questions about the YLAB—please send us an email.

YLAB’s mission—as written by the inaugural cohort of participants—states:

826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB) is a program that exists to inspire youth. It provides a supportive community,  a safe space for teens,  and a place to fulfill self- expression. It’s a transformative experience that encourages students to be comfortable with their self-identity.

YLAB is student-driven. We are a collective providing students support to discover their artistic voice through book publishing, podcasts, and civic engagement opportunities to fuel change. We strive to break the mold, push back against stereotypes about our generation, and take power in society.

YLAB believes that our identity should not be defined by adults or society. Our identity should be defined by us. We believe in ensuring that unheard voices are heard. We believe in limitless expression.