Jump to: Meet the Team | Volunteer Roles | Resources

I Love 826 Boston And You from Matt Watson.

Meet the Team

Welcome to the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute! This year, we need brave volunteers to accompany young researchers in conquering their homework and practicing their reading and writing skills (the best way to pass the time while waiting for a local Loch Ness Creature sighting.) Bring your creative energy along and join a team of wonderful tutors working toward ensuring our youth have what it takes to make it in the ‘field.’

We can’t wait to get to know each and every one of you, but here is a little about us…

Karen Sama
I’m your resident expert on: how tutoring runs, teaching tutors to be even better, how to deal with tough stuff, and keeping tutoring safe and helpful.
Current research interests: finding my next favorite book, meeting friendly dogs, and learning anything someone thinks is too hard for me.

Andrew Yim
I’m your resident expert on: After-School Tutoring and Evening Tutoring programs, delicious snacks, materials, and maintaining our space.
Current research interests include seeking out great young adult poetry, stir-frying everything, and trying my best to learn the names of trees and plants that are native to New England.

Sherell Barbee
I’m your resident expert on: attendance, workshops, Family Writing Nights, and signing up for 826 After-School Tutoring and Evening Tutoring programs.
Current research interests include finding the most delicious empanadas in Boston and the weirdest vegetables at farmers’ markets to put on her homemade pizzas.

Tim Knapp
I’m your resident expert on: student info gathering, library and reading recommendations, chatting with teachers, and the chapbook.
Current research interests: The best pizza in Boston, new books to read, and coyotes.

We are so excited to have you here at 826 Boston After-School Tutoring! Come to us with any questions, concerns, and, of course, your best puns.

Volunteer Roles

Tutors work with students during a 3:30–5:00 PM or 5:00–6:30 PM shift. We encourage you to sign up for both if you can! Tutors typically work with two to four students throughout the shift, supporting them with homework, writing activities, and reading goals. Scroll down to the Resources section to check out what a typical day in After-School Tutoring looks like.

Publishing Corps Members meet together a few times in the evening for each book and provide edits, isolate common themes, help structure the book, and even brainstorm ideas for the title! While the dates vary, they’ll all be in the evening from 6:30–9:00 PM. Check out our Volunteer Calendar to see when they’ve been scheduled so far.

Editorial Board works with a small student editorial board to help polish, fine-tune, and assemble all the work Publishing Corps has done, making sure students get final say on how their work is presented in the collection. They meet for a few Fridays near the end of the semester from 4:30–6:30 PM. As always, check out our Volunteer Calendar to see when they’ve been scheduled so far.

Design Team
We often are looking for Graphic Designers to volunteer their skills on the covers of our books, flyers for our book release parties, author badges, certificates, etc. If you would like to volunteer as a designer, please email the Volunteer Team!

Other Opportunities
A lot goes into creating a student collection, so much so that even we can’t always predict what we’ll need. Sometimes it’s Typing Ninjas, who help make sure all our handwritten stories find their way into 1s and 0s. Sometimes it’s people with Photoshop experience to help shade in student drawings. To get involved, the Volunteer Team is always available to connect you to different opportunities.


Tutor Starter Guide
A must-read for tutors beginning their first shift at After-School Tutoring.

Routine and Daily Schedule
A run-down of your typical day in an After-School shift

Behavior Expectations at 826 Boston
Our guidelines for a fun, respectful learning environment.

Our evening program has shifts on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:00–8:00 PM at the Egleston Center (3035 Washington Street). This program serves students ages 12–18. Since older students typically have hyper-specific homework assignments, like algebra and lab reports, we ask you to identify your areas of expertise so that we can make best-fit matches between students and tutors. Are you a calculus wizard? A physics prodigy? A French savant? Evening tutoring may be the place for you.

You can find shifts on our Out-of-School-Time Calendar, or email the Volunteer Team.

Jump to: Introduction | Handbook | Publisher Script

826 Boston: Field Trips from Matt Watson.

Introduction and Roles

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, we welcome visiting classes into our writing center for a two-hour writing extravaganza. Depending on the age group, students will create their own books or scripts–working together to write the beginning and middle, while completing their endings individually with volunteer support.

Our volunteers help make these field trips incredible experiences for the students. Roles include:

  • Storytellers, who lead students in creating their story
  • Illustrators, who make the characters come to life and illustrate the cover
  • Typists, who type the students’ stories
  • Photographers, who take student author portraits
  • Production Assistants, who print and bind our students’ book
  • Publishers, who act as our “cranky boss” and Skype in to make sure everything is proceeding in a timely manner (remote opportunity!)

Sign up for a field trip on our Volunteer Calendar and help students publish the first of many original stories!

Field Trip Handbook

Have questions about any part of our field trips? Check out our handbook for more detailed descriptions!

Will this be your first time at a field trip? Check out this quick tip sheet if you’re crunched for time!

Remote Publisher

If you can’t physically be in the 826 Boston offices, fear not! Being a remote publisher is the perfect opportunity to give your time and energy to 826 Boston while interacting with students on field trips. Our publishers assume the identity of Klobbersteen, Spangler, or Archibald, and serve as the curmudgeonly driving force of our field trip. They make sure our volunteers give them a finished story by the deadline, as well as giving students the opportunity to monitor the staff and report back on their performance.

Here is our Publisher Script!

Jump to: IntroductionTypes of Workshops | Submit a Workshop Idea



We know all of you are filled to the brim with great ideas about writing in all of its forms. Well, consider imparting that knowledge on to some of our students! We hold multiple workshops during the week-long Boston Public School February and April breaks, and during the day in our Writers’ Rooms. Workshops are typically two hours long, and serve 10-20 students at a time (free of charge). From college essays to slam poetry, cookbook literature to sketch comedy, start working on your workshop propsal ASAP!

Types of Workshops

Workshops vary depending on the person (or people) leading them. We want your skills to shine through: that one form of poetry you’re passionate about, that writing sample you’ve always wanted to dissect, some new idea of writing you want to instill in the youth—we’re here for it! Here are some examples of what past workshop leaders have focused on:

  • Food writing
  • Sketch comedy
  • Slam poetry
  • Technological literacy
  • Illustration
  • Songwriting
  • College essay writing
  • Character-building
  • Fantasy worlds
  • Podcast
  • Comic books
  • Creating villains
  • Financial literacy

Submit a Workshop Idea

If you’re interested in facilitating a workshop during April Vacation Week, submit your proposal through our Workshop Interest Form.

For a sample template of a workshop, click here.

College Essay support takes many forms at 826 Boston. Click through to learn more about: College Essay Bootcamp | On the Road | College Essay Academy

Writing Our Next Chapter – 826 Boston from Matt Watson.

College Essay Bootcamp

Every October, we host a college essay writing event at Northeastern University for over 100 high school students. We recruit volunteers to serve on logistics and to serve as tutors. To read more about College Essay Boot Camp 2017, click here.

College Essay Bootcamp On the Road

On the Road events are held throughout the fall semester. Members of a university or corporate partner open their doors to students from a partner school, and spend their morning as college essay tutors. If you are interested in getting your university or workplace involved with the On the Road series, please contact Patti.

College Essay Academy

We hosted three College Essay Academies in the summer of 2017: one in our center in Egleston Square and two on-site at Boston Public Schools. In these intensive five-day writing programs, students and volunteer tutors dove into the written aspects of the Common Application and worked in small groups to brainstorm, draft, and revise their personal statements. At the end of the program, each student left with an advanced draft.