826 Boston’s Youth Literary Advisory Board (YLAB) represents students from across Boston. 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 2022-2023 YLAB members are:

Kaylany (she/her) 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, aims to help the black and brown community, and wants to push for a better education system.

Justis (she/her) 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 including writing, music, and language. Oftentimes, she focuses on her creative endeavors and making sure she gets the most out of her education.

Oriana (she/her) 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 (they/them) was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Dorchester. They are 18 years old and a senior in high school. They attend the Henderson Inclusion School. 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 create other types of art like drawings and paintings. They also love journaling and exploring the world around them, preferably with their friends and family.

Blessing (she/her) is a 17 years old writer born in Nigeria and raised in Boston. No matter the depth, length, or subject of her writing, she strives to write with honesty and authenticity. Her goal is to give people the companionship she found in writing when she was young. She aspires to become a writer who ignites emotion in her readers. After high school, she plans to pursue higher education and keep developing herself as a writer and person. Her favorite quote is “I live so I love.” She strongly upholds the belief that a park is not complete without a set of swings.

Khaiyrah (she/her) is 16 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 (she/her) is a 15-year-old Roxbury native who attends Boston Latin School. While juggling the many stresses of high school, she likes to unwind by reading, sleeping, and, of course, writing. Her hobbies include trying new and exotic foods, learning Latin, and scrolling through endless Spotify playlists. She gets most of her inspiration for stories from walks through the city and everyday conversations with friends.

Mariam is a 17 year old from Boston who attends Josiah Quincy Upper School. Her hobbies include playing basketball, reading, and dancing in her room. At school, Mariam enjoys English, history, and Theory Of Knowledge classes. She is passionate about social justice and closing the economic gap for people of color and minorities. She is rather shy at first but is a fun and funny person to be friends with. She is a bit of blabbermouth to those who know her the best.

Uchenna (she/her) is a 16-year-old junior who attends Boston Latin Academy. She was born in Nigeria and is an American citizen. She currently resides in Hyde Park. Her hobbies include running, singing with her high school chorus, reading, writing, and, of course, sleeping. She is very passionate about social and economic justice and likes to voice her opinions on the topic of equity over equality. She is very shy and quiet at first but once you get to know her, you will see her enthusiasm and joyous attitude.


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.