826CHI is dedicated to amplifying the voices of Chicago youth. We encourage the exploration of endless possibility through the power of writing for students, for teachers, and for communities:
We equip students with the skills to write their own paths forward, undefined by circumstance.
We support teachers as they explore new and exciting approaches to teaching writing and inspiring student engagement.
We foster generations of creative writers and thinkers, who together will define a better future.
As an organization committed to encouraging youth in their creative expression, personal growth, and academic success, 826CHI recognizes the importance of diversity. In order to build and maintain a safe and supportive environment, we commit to inclusion. We will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, immigration status, marital status, English fluency, parental status, military service or ability.
826CHI believes all Chicago youth should have equitable access to high-quality writing and literary arts education. With that in mind, 826CHI prioritizes programs and services for students and communities most impacted by systemic disinvestment in high-quality literacy and arts education, students who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse learners, and English language learners, as well as neighborhood schools.
826CHI's rigorous programs offer both practical skills and a platform for self-expression. We believe engagement with literary arts is restorative and supports strong relationship building. We endeavor to provide young people new ways to pursue expanded understanding of the world through writing. We believe that having the means and space to share one’s ideas is paramount to our development as individuals and our engagement with community, social, and civic issues. With this in mind, we aim to bring students from different neighborhoods and backgrounds to the table to share in the creative process of writing as often as possible. Learn more about our impact here.
Each month as we reflect on issues that affect Chicago and the role the caring adults - staff, volunteers, interns - play in cultivating a diverse and inclusive third space for learning and self-expression in our students’ lives.
826CHI stands for each of our students, their voices, and their ever-present right to live. To read more about what we're doing to create an inclusive and supportive space below.
Founded in 2002 by internationally acclaimed author Dave Eggers and award-winning educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia inspired a network of creative writing and tutoring centers in cities across the United States. The 826 National office was established in 2008 to serve the growing network by providing strategic leadership, administration, and other resources to ensure the success of the 826 community. 826 National is an independently-operated 501(c)3.
We’re located at 1276 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in the Wicker Park neighborhood. 826CHI’s writing lab is located behind our storefront, the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co.
We are very close to the Division Blue Line “L” Stop. If you’re coming from the Loop, take the Blue line toward O’Hare. We are located 2-minutes northwest on Milwaukee Avenue.
The #56 MILWAUKEE bus will drop you off right near the store. We’re also within close walking distance of the #9 ASHLAND, #70 DIVISION and #72 NORTH buses.