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Spy of the Month

January's Spy

January's Spy

Spy of the Month

Spy of the Month

Agent Name

Agent Kraken

Real Name

Debra Aly

Agent Name

Agent Kraken

Real Name

Debra Aly

Debra Aly

Debra Aly

Congratulations, Spy! How does it feel?
I am truly honored to be Spy of the Month. I love what you guys do here and it's amazing to be able to contribute in any way.

How did you first get involved at 826CHI?
I actually passed by the Secret Agent Supply Co. in a car one day and returned to check out the store. The volunteers in the store front told me about 826CHI's mission
and all of the fun volunteering opportunities.

What has been your favorite 826 experience so far?
It is hard to pick one favorite experience with 826CHI, I have a blast every time I visit. Some of my favorites have been illustrating for the book making field trips and gift wrapping for the holidays.

What do you do when you aren't working undercover?
When I am not undercover I make video games, read, and frolic around my neighborhood.

What's your favorite book right now?
My favorite books right now are The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and All In The Timing by David Ives, but I love to read and I am always finding new favorites.


You mentioned you make video games, which sounds incredibly cool. Many of our students at 826CHI have an interest in video games. Could you tell us a little more about the games you're working on, or some of your favorites you've made in the past?‍
Some of my favorite games to work on have been from game jams (a game development focused hackathon). One year my friends and I made a game about operating a secret radio show inside of a food truck.

Our top agents always have the best codenames. What’s yours?
My codename is Agent Kraken. I wanted Agent Kraken to have a backstory involving animals and mythical creatures. She specializes in imagination and when she is deep undercover you can find her by using the code phrase "Release the Kraken".

Any words of wisdom for aspiring spies of the month?
To all aspiring spies of the month I say have fun! Try activities even if you don't know that you will be good at them.


Our work together

Our 826 Day event on the roof of Ace Hotel Chicago was a beautiful celebration of our community from our donors to our students and everyone in between (pictured above is 826CHI supporter TASHA’s performance). Our book P.S. You Sound Like Someone I Can Trust  was available in the hotel’s suites, Ace Hotel Chicago has hosted our annual love-themed print show featuring work by local artists inspired by our students writing on love, and their Senior Sales Manager, Tenasha Wilcoxon, spoke to our students in After-School Tutoring & Writing’s Speakers & Snacks series about what it’s like to work at a hotel.

Our Work Together

The partnership between East Village Youth Program and 826CHI is a yearly collaboration to help students achieve their goal of being accepted into their college of choice and for many to be the first in their family to attend college. This fall, 826CHI staff and 12 volunteers worked with 13 high school seniors on their personal statements for college applications. The partnership continues in the Spring when 826CHI and volunteers will return to EVYP to support students as they apply for scholarships.  

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