News & Events

Thank You for Making Eat Your Words a Night to Savor!

Thank You for Making Eat Your Words a Night to Savor!

October 7th—

Last night’s second-annual Eat Your Words filled Ovation — and our hearts — with the warmth and generosity of more than 200 guests. Together we filled our bellies with some of the most delicious drinks and creative cuisine this fine city has to offer and raised an astounding $100,000 to support our tuition-free creative writing and publishing opporunities for youth across the city of Chicago.

On behalf of our staff, board, volunteers, partner teachers, and the 2,500+ student-authors we work with each year, we want to thank everyone who helped make this event a success —

The following chefs, mixologists, and restaurants:
Lee Wolen and Meg Galus, BOKA
Jeremy Leven, mfk.
Brian Enyart, Dos Urban Cantina
Carlos Cruz, St Lou's Assembly
Ethan Pikas, Cellar Door Provisions
Hunter Moore, Parson's Chicken & Fish
Abra Berens, Stock
Will Duncan, Moneygun
Bob Begandy, Punch House
Rory Toolan, Scofflaw
3 Floyds Brewing
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Seasons Soda
Dark Matter Coffee
Trader Joe's

Our gracious hosts,
Spencer Lokken and Ovation 

Our masterful and ever-patient designer:
Ambrose Holiday of Blank is the New Black

The event planners of our dreams:
Leah Allen
Julia Collins

Our passionate emcee and musical guest:
JC Brooks (of JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound)

The ever-talented and inspiring guest speakers:
Dave Eggers
Anna D. Shapiro
Luis Alberto Urrea
Isabella S. and her family

Their kindness directly feeds the creativity of our growing young writers.

Volunteer with Us!

Volunteer with Us!

September 30th—

Our school year’s about to begin and we’re looking for dedicated, passionate volunteers to mentor and guide our students as they work on brave, ambitious, and creative writing projects this school year.

Ready to get started? Click HERE to apply, and email with any questions. Orientation dates below!

New Volunteer Orientations

  • October 4th, 6:30 - 8pm
  • October 5th, 12:30 - 2pm
  • November 8th, 6:30 - 8pm
  • November 9th, 12:30pm - 2pm
  • December 6th, 6:30 - 8pm
  • December 7th, 12:30pm - 2pm
  • January 10th, 12:30pm - 2pm
  • January 1tth, 6:30 - 8pm
  • January 25th,  6:30 - 8pm

Book Release: 826CHI’s Compendium Volume 5

Book Release: 826CHI’s Compendium Volume 5

October 18th—

Join us—we're releasing The Compendium Volume 5, a 250+ page anthology of writing from 826CHI! Every two years, we pull together writing from all ages, genres, and areas of our programming and put them between two covers for you to marvel at and be inspired by.

This particular volume is organized chronologically by age—beginning with stories from 1st graders and ending with the words of high school seniors. Celebrating the theme of “growth” and split into four distinct age groups, this book contains four introductions by beloved educators with a wealth of experience in that particular phase of adolescence. By organizing the book by age, we can see clearly the creative trajectory of a young writer and admire how their personal growth is revealed through their writing.

Within these pages, you will encounter a lion “as loud as a pencil sharpener,” witness a family’s journey toward American citizenship, live vicariously at a Chance the Rapper show, experience the dramatic sabotage of a 5th grade science project, and get a closer look at the struggles and triumphs of teen parenthood.

Hear the authors themselves read these stories aloud at the Promontory on Tuesday, October 18th. Doors open at 5pm, reading begins at 6pm. See our event page for details.

At the event, books will be available for purchase for $20 (cash or credit), and afterwards, in the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. and online at 

Thank you, Tanta!

Thank you, Tanta!

September 21st—

1,095 days’ worth of thanks to Tanta Cocina Peruana, mfk., and Roka Akor for sharing the $3,500 proceeds of Tanta’s third birthday party with our students! Join us in wishing Tanta a happy belated, and enjoy some of their amazing cebiches while summer weather is still upon us! (And look for mfk. at Eat Your Words on October 6th.)

Eat Your Words

October 6th—

Join 826CHI for an evening of creative writing, amazing food, and inspiring music as we celebrate the creativity and craftsmanship of Chicago’s food and writing scene -- all in support of the voices of the 2,500 Chicago youth we engage in writing and publishing each year. Eat Your Words: an Evening of Food and Stories is inspired by an 826CHI creative writing workshop that brings Chicago’s top culinary talent together with students to explore the connection between food and writing.

Tastes will be presented by chefs from BOKA, mfk., Stock, St. Lou's Assembly, Dos Urban Cantina, Cellar Door Provisions, and others. Music will be presented by JC Brooks, and featured writers include Dave Eggers and one of our own students. Details HERE.

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826CHI is a non-profit organization 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.

With this in mind, we provide after-school tutoring, weekend workshops, in-schools tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their individual voice.


826CHI shares its space with the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co., a store with a not-so-secret mission. Our unique products encourage creative writing, imaginative play, and trigger new adventures for agents of all ages. Every purchase supports 826CHI's free programming, so visit us at 1276 N. Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park or online to pick up spy glasses, fake moustaches, our latest student publications, and much more!