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MISSION 826CHI is a non-profit writing and tutoring center dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. All of our programs at 826CHI work to strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice. To meet our mission in 2012-2013, we served more than 3,700 students across Chicago. A majority of these young learners came to us from low-income areas, and many more from schools where resources are scarce. At 826CHI, we continued our work this year by offering accessible, tuition-free programs as we readied each of our students for success.

TABLE OF CONTENTS About Us aders Letter From Our Le Our Programs Publishing an Family Spotlight: The Galv Writing Gallery Accomplishments ds Recognition & Awar g in rt Financial Repo Events Volunteers Donors Who We Are A Student’s Story


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Graphic Design by Aaron Maurer

In 2005, 826CHI’s doors opened at 1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, joining the 826 National network of eight urban-based writing centers founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari. Then, in 2007, we began sharing our space with Chicago’s only secret agent supply shop, The Boring Store, which serves as both our quirky fundraising enterprise and a gateway to the Chicago community.

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Friends, Affiliates, and Supporters, If you’ve spent any amount of time at 826CHI’s writing and tutoring facility in Wicker Park, you’ve been witness to the process: we make sure that the advent ure of learning is fun and lively while we help students harness their own imaginative power through words. Sharing this recap of the past fiscal year with you thus present s challenges if the expectation is to match our students’ creativity and charm with our words. Running 826CHI is, after all, serious business. Our investment in this word-craft over the past fiscal year produc ed student writing that was indeed creative and charming while we conducted the serious business of running our tutoring and writing center. Going forward, we see our organiz ation developing a solid foothold in our community, and now more than ever we strategi cally connect each move we make to the 826CHI mission. That work and wisdom serve as the guide we use while students explore the possibilities and opportunities their writing reveals. We are growing up—and growing into our vision of serving

more of Chicago’s students.

With our funding, programming, staff, and volunteers in place, we will be ready for the inspired student authors of 2014 – 15. In one year, we will begin celebrating 826CHI’s tenth anniversary. As we look ahead and ask ourselves, “What ’s next?” we see a future of more students exploring the wonder and personal empowerment that comes from writing and creative self-expression. Thanks very much for your interest and your role in making this fun, lively operation an important and inspirational part of so many lives. Sincerely,

Dan Kuruna President, Board of Directors

Barry A. Benson Executive Director

After-School Tutoring and Writing (“AST”), offered on Monday through Thursday afternoons at 826CHI, provides year-long academic tutoring and writing instruction to Chicago Public School students in grades 1-8. During the program, our trained volunteer tutors work one-on-one with students to focus on both daily homework assignments and creative writing prompts, and students later revise these pieces for publication in chapbooks. Field Trips take place Wednesday through Friday mornings onsite at 826CHI, where we host local classrooms for lively, writing-based sessions. One of our most popular offerings is the Storytelling and Bookmaking Field Trip, which focuses on character building and plot development with our younger learners. These students choose setting and characters and write half the story as a group before creating their own endings with help from volunteers. Each student leaves the Field Trip with his or her own published book in hand. In-School projects bring 826CHI’s dedicated volunteers into classrooms around the city to support students and teachers. Our In-School volunteers improve adult-to-student ratios in classrooms while working alongside students to tackle various short- and long- term projects, including our Young Authors’ Book Project, research papers, newspaper articles, literary magazines, and college entrance essays. Workshops are tuition-free classes developed and taught by our experienced volunteers, with each Workshop designed to foster creativity, strengthen writing skills, and provide students with a forum to execute projects that they otherwise might not have the support to undertake. Subjects range from sports writing and memoir writing to advertising pitches and poetry in hip hop, and are offered to youth in all grades year-round.

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Our students wrote and re-wrote, edited and re-edited, and chewed on pencil erasers…while our tutors supported and copied and bound their work, bringing to life the stories our students shared with friends, family, and the wider literary community.

The Windows Reflect Everything, 826CHI’s first collection of long-form narrative journalism, is our newest student publication, and was created by our young authors from Golder College Prep and Roberto Clemente Community Academy high schools. The introduction describes these stories as marrying “earnest storytelling with the objectivity of straight news, one that values the intimate anecdote as much as the hard facts.” Foreword by Monica Eng and cover art by Thomas Quinn.

And Now 200 Year Later, We Are We Are Still Waiting for Interested Buyers features our students’ time travel stories. Foreword by our very own resident curmudgeonly publisher, Admiral Moody, and cover art by the matchless Corinne Mucha.

There I Am Looking at You with a Hungry Face reveals our students’ lively food-inspired journal entries. Foreword by local author and 826CHI tutor Stephen Markley, and cover art by comic book artist and writer Jeffrey Brown.


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“One thing that you will always have in life is the awkwardn ess on public transpor tation.” - “The Truth Be hind the CTA” from The Windows Re flect Everything, Daniel G., 11th grade. An Elevator with Different Floors: The Adventures of Kait & Patrick, written as an adventure-filled ode to two former 826CHI staffers, includes correspondence between foods and letters of admiration for tutors. Introduction by rising literary star Patrick Somerville, and cover art by illustrator and cartoonist Aaron Renier.

A Bubble with a Password is a chapbook in which our After-School Tutoring and Writing students shared their honest perceptions of 2012’s election season madness along with a series of “I Wish” stories. Introductory letter by 826CHI intern and chapbook editor Katy Heubel, and cover art by our own talented Kendra Curry-Khanna.


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SPOTLIGHT: The Galvan Family

Marvin Galvan is unique among his peers at 826CHI: he’s been with us since before The Boring Store’s walls were orange. His seven-year stint in our After-School Tutoring and Writing (“AST”) program has been anything but colorless, though. At 14 years old, he has not only finished many a night’s schoolwork and filled several years’ worth of journals with us, but has also published many of these pieces and even read his work aloud at Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Fest. At AST, he says, “you feel comfortable because of all the other kids here.”


SPOTLIGHT: The Galvan Family (cont’d)

“It’s very different now,” she says. “A lot more students come.” But one thing she’s also noticed over the years is how storytelling has become a real part of their family life. When the new chapbooks come out, she’s heard her kids read live at 826CHI’s release parties— but they read their favorites out loud for her at home, too. Last fall, Catherine published a story called “Visiting Grandma,” and her mother still marvels at its detail. In the story, Catherine gives a vivid account of her grandma’s cooking: “She made the mole,” Catherine writes. “Not the one you buy that is already made in the jar, but the one where you get chiles and chocolate and other stuff with fresh chicken.” Despite the tantalizing image Catherine paints, she has never tasted her grandmother’s spicy mole in Puebla, Mexico; in fact, she’s never met her. What her story does capture, though, is a space between memory and imagination— a space where old family stories can be told anew, and become at once magic and real.

Joining Marvin at 826CHI each week are sisters Kimberly, age 12; Catherine, 11; and Darlene, 8. The Galvans also have five cousins who are AST regulars. His mother, Judith Torres, remembers when she first brought Marvin here back in 2007.

Kimberly, Darlene, Catherine, and Marvin Galvan at After-School Tutoring, December 2013

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“I think a good age to drive a car is 13, but first you might need some practice in driving so you could be a good driver, and never ever crash into a car or something or someone. I would go very far, all the way to New York because I want to go fast. I would take my little cousin because he is funny.” - “Do You Think Teens Should Drive” from A Bubble with a Password, Marvin Galvan, grade 7

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Intriguing and descriptive, our students’ titles pull the reader in:

“When I enjoy a mango, I peel the skin, and I grab five napkins. One for my mouth, two to hold the mango, and two to hide it from my mom.”

“The Importance of People in a Plane Crash,” by Eric S.

— Yureli F., 4th grade, “The Five Magic Mangoes” from There I Am Looking At You With My Hungry Face

“The Tooth Fairy, an Elf, Harry Potter, and Santa,” by Kaitlyn R. “The Lady Who Had a Cat,” by Melissa S. “Dinosaurs didn’t use spoons. They didn’t even eat ice cream. They ate meat and plants and didn’t even use plates, unless you count the ground. Then, yeah, they did use plates, but they didn’t use spoons, forks, or knives. Dinosaurs had no manners at all. ... Plus, this modern 650,900,000 year-old Quetzalcoatlus didn’t use professional fishing gear.” — Carlos S., 6th grade, “Dinosaurs Aren’t Human-Like” from There I Am Looking At You With My Hungry Face

“Grace Daffodil, Mindreader,” by Nevayah T.

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826CHI has had a brilliant year. Here are some standout successes we are proud to report:

We’re not the only ones who are proud of what we do! Here are some of the ways we’ve been recognized and awarded this year:

Virtual Tutoring program. Making innovative use of online technology, 826CHI’s tutors offered individualized feedback to 115 AP History students at Pritzker College Prep and Rauner College Prep. Both schools boasted the highest AP World History Exam scores among all Noble Schools, and Rauner’s AP results – for the first time in the school’s history – ranked first in the network.

Outstanding Partner Organization Award, May 2013 – Awarded for 826CHI’s work with Peabody Elementary and Adventure Stage Chicago.

“Thank you guys for the work that yo u do! 826 is absolu tely instrumental in my classroom for he lping my students succ eed!” – Matt McCabe, AP History teacher at Pritzker College Prep

elp, of your h “Because iter r w r ronge I am a st I started than when nk year. Tha sophomore time e h t aking you for t ves to ur own li out of yo ents Your comm help me. mprove lped me i really he test.” on the AP nt at Q., stude – Ashley rep College P Pritzker

Local Latino Recognition for Education Award, October 2012 – Awarded to 826CHI during Hispanic Heritage month in Chicago, this award recognized our initiatives that helped us to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community. Lit 50, or Who Really Books in Chicago, June 2013 – Because of his commitment to literacy and his dedicated work at 826CHI, Barry A. Benson, our Executive Director, was recognized by Newcity Lit for playing a key role in helping the Chicago writing world keep going round.

Video ventures. Between “The Video Project 826CHI,” which featured several notable Chicagoans who read aloud our students’ work from 2012’s Young Authors’ Book Project, The Noise Felt Human, and our volunteer-produced innovative summer appeal video, 826CHI indeed explored exciting new avenues to promote our students’ work and reach out to friends and supporters. Spanish language initiatives. In fall 2012, we began offering our parent orientations and newsletters in both Spanish and English, and 826CHI’s staff members voluntarily took weekly Spanish lessons so that we could better serve our community members, many of whom are native Spanish speakers.

HI Pritzker students & 826C Virtual volunteers gather for a Tutoring kickoff party

Zach Duffy receives the “Outstanding Partner Organization Award” from Adventure Stage Chicago

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Direct Public Support



Indirect Public Support



Special Events



In Kind Donations


Other Income – Unrestricted



Total Revenue



Program Services






General & Adminsitrative



Total Expenses




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You joined us as we scavenged, “cheated,” and masqueraded our way through the year, and helped us to make 826CHI the heart of youthful and imaginative creative writing, tutoring, and publishing for Chicago students.

Clandestine Quest. Questers skulked, scurried, and scavenged about the neighborhood, tracking down clues and locating unmarked hideouts, all to support our students. Scrabble for Cheaters. The Scrabble tournament with a dishonest twist raised money for an honest cause: tutoring and supporting Chicago students in the literary arts.




Promic-Con. What’s better than a crowd of comic book characters cutting a rug in a sophisticated venue like the ballroom at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago? Doing all of the above while supporting a great non-profit!

Direct Public Support Indirect Public Support Special Events In-kind Gifts Other Income – Unrestricted

84% <1% 3% 12% <1%

Programming 82% Fundraising 14% General & Adminsitrative 4%

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Undeniably, it is our volunteers that make 826CHI the dynamic community we are – a creative, safe space where Chicago youth take risks and explore as learners and writers.

“826CHI is important to me because it gives me hope for the future. I never feel so good about the world as when I’m listening to the smart, creative, funny, weird, bright students of 826CHI.” - Bryce Parsons-Twesten, volunteer

g at 826 “Volunteerin us way to is a fabulo ct on the make an impa ity in an local commun way. The approachable is highprogramming flexible and quality but eat kes it a gr fun which ma and t involved place to ge me.” donate my ti r h, voluntee – Laura Boot

SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAM In 2012, 826CHI teamed up with college and university departments to offer service-learning partnerships for select classes of undergraduates. In their current form, these partnerships not only create a rare opportunity for college students to engage with Chicago Public School youth, but also connect us with capable volunteers seeking daytime service opportunities. In 20122013, these collaborations enabled us to staff 89 Field Trips and 78 In-School Projects sessions throughout the school year.

SERVICE-LEARNING PARTNERSHIPS Kansas University Bennington College Colorado College DePaul University

Northwestern University University of Chicago University of Illinois at Chicago


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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED BECAUSE OF YOU. Volunteer Engagement & Support Team (“VEST”) Josh Lesser Theo Hahn Hayley Miller Aparna Puppala Jeni Crone Rajiv Haque Amy Krzyzek Drew Rodriguez Kat Bolton Kara Thorstensen Danny Resner Lauren Nelson Shannon Monson Dave Welch Josh Ruddy VEST ALUMNI Alissa Walkner Warren Yates     Mando Salazar Tom Urwin Naomi Taub Samuel Zelitch

INTERNS Abi Humber Abigail Howard Andrea Ayers Hanna Ahn Katy Steele Alison Lacey Nico Dregni Lainie Fromby Alissa Walkner Becky Baumann Michael Light Galen Beebe Claire Gaddis Katy Heubel Warren Yates Nell Klugman Ashley Keyser Nick Saigh Josh Lesser Sian Kresse Daniel Rivera Bryce Parsons-Twesten

Abby Ryder-Huth Meghan Hickey Angela Zhang Sarah Hansen Danya Sherbini Elizabeth Gaughan Noboru Bitoy Rebecca Stoner Peter Jensen Ethan Kenvarg Hannah Callas Brianna Gielow Mo Kinsinger Quinn Korreck Rocio Pacheco Emily Beaufort Tara Jayakar Thomas Boyle


Volunteer tutoring hours in 20 12-2013

Spy of the Month Dave Miller- July 2013 Owen Lowery - June 2013 Sam Zelitch - May 2013 Lauren Nelson - April 2013 Armando Salazar - March 2013 Jordan Brown - February 2013 Sarah Erwin - January 2013 Rajiv Haque - November/December 2012 Stewart Thiel - October 2012 Kat Bolton - September 2012 Danny Resner - August 2012

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Anonymous Donor Anonymous Donor Anonymous Donor Anonymous Donor Aon Foundation The Ann K. Humber Trust Randall Albers Mike and Laura Allen Phyllis Amabile Sarah Anderson-Wells Kathryn Argentar Nathan Arnold Michael Arvan and Arlene Sanoy Kris & Annie Atzeff Bank Of America Foundation Mindy Bartholomae Miguel Bassail David Becker Bryan and Tracie Bedell Joanna Beer Debra Beinstein Barry A. Benson Tamara Berkover Aaron Bibb Michele Bily Christy Bloom Kellye Blosser Jeffrey Brown Deborah Brown Nicholas Brown Brad Brubaker Kyle Bruck Fritz Buerger Brian and Tammy Bullington Joel Burke Hannah Callas Dustin Callas Katherinel Campbell Pierre Camy Megan Captaine Mary Ellen Caron


DONORS Christen Carter Regina Cassidy Maura Cassidy Michelle Chaisson Sarah Anderson-Wells Chester Curtis Clark Kathryn Argentar Clark Emily Clark Rebecca Clark Marilyn Cleary Gary Cohen Kathryn Collier Stephanie Comer and Rob Craigie The Comer Foundation Paul Conigliaro Ruth Conneely John and Janet Conneely Kathryn Coon Raymond Cowan Larry and Andrea Crain Stephany Creamer Stephen DeGroote Christina Deidesheimer Jillann Demes Laurel Dettman Daniel Dome Darin Duffy Robin D. Duffy Catriona Duncan Kathleen Dunne Keith Ecker Claire Edlebeck Elaina Edwards Dave Eggers King and Mary Carolyn Embry Essay Fiesta Sarah Erwin EyeQuilt Food Industry News Romaine Forsythe Adrian Foster


DONORS (contâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d) Alexandra Galante Illinois Arts Council Mercedes Claire Gilliom Lori Gordon Jennifer Greenberg Ricardo Grisalez Julie Grisalez Jenny Gryniewicz Amy Hamberg Megan Hauser David Hazan Ian Henderson Lina Hilko Dough Hinckley and Jennifer James Adam Hoit Thomas Holmes Robert and Maureen Horrell Dani Hoyler Danielle Hyde Illinois Humanities Council Brian and Tammy Ingram John E. Fehsenfeld Foundation Sheryl Johnston Mantissa Johnston Thomas Joyner and Caryn Cammarata The Judy Family Foundation Aaron Kane Naomi Kane Constance Karniotis Bradley Keck Marion Keller Jessica Keller Patricia Kiley Fred Klein Johnna Knabe Michael Koenig Michael Anthony Koenig Dan Kuruna Dan Kuruna and Justine Jentes Chris Kwasiborski Ian Law

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Andrea Lee Cheslyn Lesick Martha Lipton Dominic Lomoro Andrew Lowenthal Owen Lowery Brian Lowery Nancy Lowery-Bregar LTS Chicago Andrew and Janet Lubetkin Pamela MacDonald Sophia Madana Bill Maher Jason Malikow Judith Marcin Cheryl Mart Amanda Mather Cynthia Matthews Jeffrey and Cathleen Maza Alisa Mazur Nicki Mazzocca Matthew McCabe Amanda McCoy Mia Mcelroy Kevin McKenna Sean and Beth McNamara Peter Mierwinski June and David Miller Valerie Miller Bob Miller Rhys Miller David Miller Laura Mittelstaedt Jerry and Soo Moon Maura Moran Morris A. Hazan Family Foundation Emily Morrison Alyson Nelson Lauren Nelson Emilie Nims Ben Nissen

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DONORS (cont’d)


Gillian Nolan Kaitlin Steele Anthony Nuccio Melissa Steger Colleen O’Grady Joe and Sylvia Stone Erin O’Shea Bene Tanenbaum Out Of Print Peter Tulloch Brandon Oxendine Spencer Tweedy Kevin Pardue Christy Uchida Austin Peters Bailey Vance Maria Pfister Jack and Susan Ward Gregory Pierce Anna Washenko Gene Podulka Maggie Weiterman Mario Ponce William Blair & Company Foundation Candace Porter Jordan Williams Thomas and Diane Quinn Jennifer L. Williams Jordan Industries Meryl Williams Thomas and Christine Quinn Joseph and Gretchen Wilson Nancy Quinn Laura Wimberly Mae Rice Donna Windom Katja Rivera Sara Witt Robert R. McCormick Foundation Jeffery Wolf Ellen Rosen Jeffrey Wolfe Gwen Rosenberg Carl Woodward Laurie Rovell John Worsham John Ruark Julie Wroblewski Girlie Salgueiro Diane Young-Spieth JF and Maria Sarwark Maricela Zapian Matt and Megan Schrecengost The Seabury Foundation m ournalis John and Patricia Shaffner tion’s J a d n u o F t suppor ormick Amy Shah “The McC proud to n e e b racy s a h Jordan Shappell ews lite n g Program n i s u year. or inf Karen Shimmin rk this o w 826CHI f s ’ m a progr rtnering Sally Shuler into the oint, pa p d n a t s writing Carl and Jane Smith From our creative g n crease i d a e Molly Smith-Weber ys to in a w with a l e r o l to exp s and Mallory Sohmer program with new t n e citing m e g a Helen Spalding is an ex n o teen eng i t a m infor Spalding Family Foundation credible ett, t.” ark Hall n M e m i r Cecil Spieth e p er, ex ram Offic Starcom Sr. Prog am, sm Progr Jennifer Statler Journali ation

k Found


826CHI STAFF Barry A. Benson, Executive Director Zach Duffy, Director of Education Kendra Curry-Khanna, Director of Volunteer Services Molly Walsh, Store Manager Tammy Fickel, Grants Manager Abi Humber, Communications and Outreach Coordinator Jeanne Douglas, Events and Outreach Coordinator Angie Rivera, Program Coordinator Sandy Moy, Programs Associate Anna Gross, Store Supervisor

826CHI BOARD OF DIRECTORS Daniel Kuruna, President Jennifer Statler, Vice-President Jan Zasowski, Treasurer D. R. Edwards, Secretary John Conneely Tran Ha Katy Klassman Mia McElroy Christine Quinn Bailey Vance

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826CHI’s story begins with our students and their words and tales. So, we believe it fitting to leave you with a story written by one of our students.

“The Goal” from The Windows Reflect Everything th By Brandon Ramirez, 12 grade I remember when my dad used to come home from work tired. Still, he would take a moment to study at midnight for the citizenship test. I used to see him worry about it. He would think, “What if I fail the test?” That made him work help. harder. He used to sit at the kitchen table for hours. He even asked me for always He right. them got he if see to s He told me to ask him the question had a busy schedule. He used to go to school in the mornings, in the evenings he worked late, and when he came home he always took his book out of his backpack and started studying. We moved to Chicago in 2007 from Guadalajara, Mexico, because my dad wanted my family and me to have a better education and better life. We wanted the to stay in Mexico, but my dad explained that it was easier for us to come to ities. opportun job better have may he that U.S. to have a better education, and going We came here as permanent residents, but my dad thought that if we were citizens, become to us for and him for to be living here, that it would be easier and that we would have more benefits and rights as citizens. Two of the rights . passport n America an of citizens are to vote, and to have the After all his effort, he finally took the test. I remember when he went to take s. question the g re-readin still was he car the in test he left the house nervous, and while outside wait us made they and test, the We got to the place where he took he he went into a room. After an hour or so he came out crying. We thought all we so passed, he that said he and d, failed. My mom asked him what happene for try you if possible is g everythin that us went to my dad to hug him. He told U.S. it. He accomplished his dream, and now are we all living it with him in the


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1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 773.772.8108