Calling all young and aspiring writers! ( and volunteers!)
I want to share great, non-profit, creative writer's resource here in our very own Windy City that I wish had been around when I was a just an aspiring writer/artist. I was big into comic books. I could sketch a scene in minutes, but with storylines is where I struggled. The stories usually just involved random carnage, explosions, sex and fart jokes or a combination of all of those. It's a wonder that I ended up as normal as I am. My wife, kids, and older sister may or may not agree with me on that. "Socially Functional" is the term they use, I believe. I never was much of a writer growing up, but I bet if I had the support and inspiration of a great group like 826CHI.org, I'm certain that I could have made a go at creating my own award-winning graphic novel that would for certain have someday been made into a blockbuster movie.
The creative writers have even been known to team up with local illustrators and designers(myself included) to collaborate with the kids to create some fantastic published pieces which you can buy in their gift shop - The Boring Store, 1331 Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Yours truly's, postcard illustrations are for sale in their shop or for purchase online at http://www.notasecretagentstore.com/shop/.
In case you were wondering... No, the store is anything but boring. The name is but a guise, keeping with their secret agent theme - an example of their creative ways of keeping the kids engaged in writing. Each volunteer has his/her own secret agent identity.
826CHI.org 's Mission Statement
"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 drop-in tutoring, after-school workshops, field trips, in-school 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 his or her individual voice."
I received an email recently from Mr. Duffy, Director of Education outlining some upcoming workshops. They fill up fast! See the details below
Upcoming Writing Workshops
The Big Read @826CHI [NEW] Two Sessions: Tuesdays, April 9 and May 7 Time:6:30-8:00pm Taught by: Zach Duffy Limited to: 20 students in grades 6-12
Come read In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez with other students and volunteers from 826CHI. We'll kick-off this book-club like venture at 826CHI on Tuesday, April 9th. At this meeting everyone will receive a free copy of the book in English or in Spanish. On Tuesday, May 7th, we'll reconvene to discuss the book and complete writing activities inspired by the book, as a group. You'll receive email reminders throughout the month, and we'll have opportunities to connect as a group through social media.
The Big Read is a nationwide literacy program of the National Endowment for the Arts whose primary goal is to restore reading to the center of American culture. Read More about The Big Read [REGISTER HERE]
Gigawatt?? The Future Must Be Documented Now!! [NEW] Two Sessions:Fridays, April 12 & 19 Time:4:00-5:30pm Taught by: Brad Brubaker Limited to: 15 students in grades 2-4
If we can’t imagine the future, how will we invent it? The future must be documented now! Come learn about inventions that were created for stories, only to be turned into a reality! On the final class, students will MEET A TIME TRAVELER! Together, we will write stories about the people of the future. What will Lady Gaga’s outfits be like in 2033? Which will be more popular: real dogs or robot dogs? Will the revolution be televised? Presented by Brad Brubaker and Oracle Theatre [REGISTER HERE]
Today, Something Different Happened: How to Write Characters Four Sessions: Saturdays, April 6, 13, 20, & 27 Time: 2-3:30am Taught by: Jeff Wolf Limited to: 10 students in grades 7-12
Without characters, a story doesn’t really go anywhere. It just stays in one place admiring the scenery for 28 seconds. Because that’s about as long as anyone will read a story if it doesn’t have any characters. So if you want people to read your stories for more than 28 seconds, you should probably take this workshop. [REGISTER HERE]
Bending the Truth Two Sessions: Saturdays, April 13, 20, & 27 Time:4:00-5:30pm Taught by: DePaul Students Limited to: 12 students in grades 5-8
Have you ever read a book and wondered "How in the world do writers think of this stuff!?" In this workshop, we will explore the possibility of made-up fictions being inspired by our own crazy lives. We will start by writing non-fiction stories about ourselves and then cross the line between fiction and non-fiction by turning those stories into works of imagination. [REGISTER HERE]
Young Authors Give Back [NEW] One Session: Wednesday, June 12 Time:6:00-8:00pm Taught by:Erin Bowman, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and Kat Zhang Limited to:20 students in grades 7-12
In the spirit of paying-it-forward, four YA authors will tour the nation in hopes of inspiring young writers. Erin Bowman, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and Kat Zhang were brought together by the literary community, and felt a need to give back by reaching out to these aspiring writers. The authors built their careers by putting passion onto paper at a young age, and now aim to share their advice and experiences. The tour offers free one-on-one workshops and hosts book signings at local bookstores and libraries in seven different cities, giving the community’s youth a chance to ask questions and discuss the written word.
Exploring the Bloomingdale Trail [NEW] One Session: Sunday, May 12 Time: 10:00am-2:00pm Taught by: Bonnie Tawse & Zach Duffy Limited to: 12 students in grades 4-8
Students will explore the Bloomingdale Trail on foot either at street level (or pending authorization) on the actual trail itself. We'll take photos of the trail and then return to 826CHI to write about and discuss the future of the trail. . [REGISTER HERE]
If you have a Creative destination in Chicago that you would like to share with your fellow readers, please comment!
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