Though 826DC is a relatively new non-profit, the organization has quickly established Georgetown connections — from working with students at the Duke Ellington Schoool of the Arts and Wilson High School to forging a partnership with Georgetown University's Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.
The organization, which works with kids ages six to 18, has expanded from working with six schools in its first year to working with with more than 30 schools and impacting nearly 2,000 students this school year.
The non-profit first started in 2008 under the name Capitol Letters Writing Center and re-opened as 826DC in October 2010.
Their mission is simple: "supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write," according to the organization's website.
"We’ll do anything from a resume workshop, to a grammar workshop, to a 16-week book project," explained Joe Callahan, the 326DC executive director.
One of the goals is to reduce the teacher to student ratio through workshops, whether they are a month long, a school year-long or just a day.
"What we can do to really help these teachers succeed at their dream curriculum," he explained.
At the Duke Ellington School, 826DC partnered with freshman students on a grammar workshop. To make it more than a matter of who versus whom, 826DC tasked students with creating a style guide for the school's literary magazine, Daisy James.
After seven weeks of hard work, the students created the Official Style Guide for Daisy James. "The book covers the do’s and don’ts of tone, passive and active voice, modifiers, run-on sentences, subject/verb agreement, and prepositions with wit, voice, and intimidating authority," according to the 826DC website.
The first 826 opened in San Francisco, Calif., nearly 10 years ago.
The D.C. organization operates on a small $300,000 budget and is entirely free to the students and schools that take advantage of its programming.
"We will specifically target schools that have more than 85 percent free or reduced lunch rates," said Callahan.
As part of a fundraising effort, 826DC is holding its fourth annual Moustache-a-Thon in which volunteers and their friends grow a mustache to raise money for the organization. Last year they raised $18,000, this year the goal is $15,000 and since March 1 the campaign has raised more than $6,000.
Want to learn more about 826DC? Check out their website or stop by their storefront, The Museum of Unnatural History in Columbia Heights. To contribute to the Moustache-a-Thon, go here. To volunteer, go here.