The Tiny Dictator and Doofus Overlord have ceded the floor to me today, and I’d like to invite all of the Gheorghies and FOGTBs to celebrate 826 Day with me.
Today is August 26th (8/26), which is a special day for the 826National network. (FYI, this is nothing like 4/20, you degenerates…)
You’re not familiar with 826National, you say? Well, let me tell you about it…
|Dave Eggers is not impressed with your apathy|
That sounds like the introduction to a grant letter, because it is. To get a more inspiring explanation of 826, I’ll let our founder tell you about it. If you don’t have 25 minutes now to watch Dave’s TED Prize speech, here’s the Cliff Notes version:
The magic of 826 has spread to many U.S. communities and the network boasts eight official chapters so far: San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Michigan—Ann Arbor & Detroit, Boston, New York/Brooklyn, and DC. There are also several international programs inspired by 826 (Australia, Sweden, Italy) and many more U.S. cities taking the steps to build an official 826 program in their community.
Creativity is what sets 826 apart from other writing and literacy organizations—you find it in the programs (songwriting workshops, poetry and novel-writing classes) and the people who get involved (Neil Gaiman, Christopher Hitchens, Fiona Apple, Zooey Deschanel (EDITOR'S NOTE: Wait, did you just say Zooey Deschanel?) and the events hosted by each chapter (Scrabble for Cheaters with Peter Dinklage, Books for Breakfast with legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan, Poker for Jokers with Ira Glass and Michael Ian Black, The Judd (Apatow) and Jon (Brion) Comedy & Music Hour featuring Peter Frampton, Colin Quinn and RZA). Each city’s center has the same whimsical approach, with a local twist (Robot Supply Store in Michigan, Superhero Supply Store in NYC, Time Travel Mart in LA), and all of the writing programs result in a published piece—even for the first-graders at Storytelling and Bookmaking field trips. 826 makes a measurable impact in student performance. And it changes students’ lives.
Literacy may not be your thing, but if it is, I want you to think about helping out the 826 chapter closest to you. Maybe it’s a donation of $8.26 each month for a year, maybe it’s attending one of the awesome events we host, or maybe you can spare some time to help out—volunteer with one of the writing or tutoring programs or provide some pro bono help (you’re all skilled in something).
And, if literacy isn’t your thing…go find your thing. Do something that makes an impact beyond yourself and your family. Give some serious thought to what matters to you, and where your talents/skills can be leveraged and then find something that matches. You don’t need to commit all of your free time, just some of it. And if you don’t have any free time, find time—this is important. Get involved. It’s time.