826CHI’s executive director helps boost local youths’ writing cred, one mustache at a time

Centerstage - February 26, 2007

Imagination is key when it comes to inspiring kids to write. So building a Boring Store as the source of funds for after-school center 826CHI would be a hard sell…if it weren't a super-duper, top-secret cover for what's actually a spy supply depot. Enter the storefront and you'll find everything from envelope x-ray spray to banana cell phone covers. The best part: When you buy your spy gear, your money goes to a good cause.Read More

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“The Boring Store” is not so boring after all

Chicagonista - February 4, 2007

Imagine you are driving along N. Milwaukee Ave. checking out the shops when you see one that catches your eye. The huge signage at 1331 N. Milwaukee has a vintage feel to it with a man running with a shopping cart and you are intrigued…but then you see it’s called The Boring Store! What is this place?

Well, it turns out that The Boring Store is a sort of a spy-shop posing as a front for a fabulous not-for-profit organization called 826CHI which fosters creative and expository writing skills for kids ages 6 – 18. 100% of the sales from this secret agent supply shop are made with a sense of humor and benefit the free programming of 826CHI, the REAL idea behind the storefront.Read More

A Heartwarming Work of Staggering Generosity

Chicago Reader, November 10, 2005

Last year, when she was in second grade, Kristie De Luna couldn't wait to do her homework. It was assigned for the whole week each Monday, and she'd come home and want to tear through it all. "I'd get tired," says her father, Gonzalo, "and have to persuade her to save some for later."

In third grade something changed. "It was boring" is all Kristie will say. Gonzalo and his wife, Janet, talked about getting their daughter a tutor, but most of the ones they found were too expensive, as much as $400 a month. Then a month ago a copy of Chicago Journal appeared on the family's front steps, and on the cover was a story about something called 826CHI. Gonzalo says he got pulled into reading it because it mentioned a store that sold "secret-agent supplies." The next paragraph mentioned free tutoring. Read More

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