Cause of the Month: 826National

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The brainchild of author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826National has been helping creative youth put pen to paper since 2002. This imaginative non-profit offers free programs to students at its various writing & tutoring centers around the country. The only common thread between all of the programs? How uncommonly awesome they are!

Take for example the free workshops on fun topics like zine-making, playwriting and cartooning. Or the Young Authors Publishing Project, in which a famous guest author spends a semester at a selected school to help publish a student anthology. Or the one-on-one tutoring programs, which helps kids get their head around homework—and is way better than Cliffs Notes.

One other unique fact about 826 is that all of its local chapters are set apart by funky-looking retail storefronts. From LA’s “Time Travel Mart” to Brooklyn’s “Superhero Supply Store,” these stores help raise funds and spark curiosity about 826 programs. With its fun approach and army of rocking adult volunteers, it’s no wonder that this non-profit is a leader in getting kids excited about writing for life.

So how can you support the efforts of 826National? Let us count the ways:

Share your writing! 826National publishes writing from kids ages 6-18 on its website, and anyone can submit. If you have something you want to show off, send it to [email protected] to be considered.

Volunteer your time and talent: 826 has chapters around the country in cities ranging from Boston to Los Angeles to Ann Arbor. Click here to find out if there’s a chapter near you and see how you can get involved.

Give a little bit. Support the more than 31,000 students taking part in the various 826 chapters by giving your monetary support. Click here to donate.

Go shopping! (Well, okay, if you insist.) 826National’s online store is full of cool goodies like T-shirts, totes, signed books and even Snuggies.

Get the inside scoop on 826 in this awesome video narrated by author Sarah Vowell!

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