where the writers are

826 Valencia

A favorite of Red Room authors Dave Eggers, Lisa Brown, Po Bronson, Ayelet Waldman, Firoozeh Dumas, Belle Yang, Jennifer Traig, Edie Meidav, Tony DuShane, Dorsetta Hale, Kiara Brinkman, Nona Caspers, The Kitchen Sisters, Jason Roberts, and Daniel Handler, and Red Room founder and CEO Ivory Madison.

Mission: 826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the literary arts.826 Valencia

Name of founder: Dave Eggers

Year founded: 2002


  • Expanded into a family of seven nonprofit organizations in seven cities
  • Established program that welcomes an entire class for a morning of high-energy learning in specialized field trips as often as four times a week

Profile: Whether students are working in the realm of fiction, nonfiction, or English as a second language, 826 Valencia is here to help them explore their love of writing and to better express their ideas through the written word. The organization is especially committed to supporting teachers, offering services and resources for English-language learners, and publishing student work.

It offers a variety of free programs and services throughout the school year and summer months including drop-in tutoring, field trips, specialized workshops, in-school assistance, and extensive student publishing. The drop-in tutoring program provides students with homework help from knowledgeable tutors. Its workshops are project-based and cover a variety of areas that schools can't typically include in their curriculum, such as cartooning, college-entrance essay writing, journalism, SAT preparation, and starting a 'zine. The organization dispatches teams of volunteers into local schools at the behest of teachers to provide one-on-one assistance to students as they tackle various projects. Through all of its programs, students can publish their writing in an array of publications ranging from smaller chapbooks and 'zines to professional-quality books with a national audience.

Several locations offer unique retail experiences as well. For example, the San Francisco location is fronted by a full-service pirate store set up originally to fulfill local zoning requirements, and whose proceeds go to 826 Valencia's writing programs.

To donate, volunteer, or to become more involved, please go to 826 Valencia's Help Out page.

Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room

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