My very favorite organization at this exact moment is 826 National,Ã‚Â a “family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing.”Ã‚Â The idea behind the organization is that writing is a democratic process that children need to learn to actively engage in society and that children need one-on-one attention to maximize their educational experiences.Ã‚Â They offer free tutoring, field trips, workshops, and in-school programs.Ã‚Â
All locations are locally designed and locally funded.Ã‚Â To assist in funding, each chapter has its own unique retail experience…and they do mean experience.Ã‚Â There’sÃ‚Â a pirate store inÃ‚Â San Francisco,Ã‚Â a superhero supply store in Brooklyn,Ã‚Â the Boring Store featuring secret agent supplies in Chicago, and the Big FootÃ‚Â Research Institute in Boston.Ã‚Â Each location has a storefront with an off-beat retail idea that piques your curiosity while the mission of the stores makes you want to buy something simply because it’s for a great cause.Ã‚Â
The founder, Dave Eggers,Ã‚Â is one of this year’sÃ‚Â TED prize winners.Ã‚Â As a TED prize winner, you get $100,000 and the chance to make a wish to change the world. Ã‚Â TED helps to make that wish a reality with funding, collaboration, and by providing the platform for them to speak.Ã‚Â Eggers wish was that everyone at the TED conference directly engages with the public schools in their area.Ã‚Â As the result of that wish, Eggers and TED teamed up with a local website design company to create Once Upon A School, where people canÃ‚Â share ideas about engaging with local schools, be inspired by those ideas, and share their stories.Ã‚Â
The 826 projects are such wonderful ideas that have the ability to create so much positive change in our neighborhoods and country.Ã‚Â There should be more than seven of them and, in fact, there are plans to create more in the future.Ã‚Â Currently, though, the organization is dedicating its resources to further developing the centers already instituted, but offer information and ideas as to how you can be of service to the children in your community.Ã‚Â If you happen to live in an area with an 826 location, please consider volunteering.Ã‚Â
What’s your form of service and/or activism?