This is the time of year when I begin to think about what organizations I want to donate money to (and how much I can afford to donate....) and 826 National is one of the handful of organizations on my list. Of course I believe that reading is important, but I rarely have the opportunity to get on my soap box and shout about how vital I think writing skills are to future success, and the main goal of 826 National is to develop the creative and expository writing skills of children 6 - 18 through one-on-one attention.
I first featured 826 National here (click for details about 826 National or go straight to their site or watch the video, below) in 2010. While working on a review of Mac Barnett's newest book I discovered that he is on the Board of Directors (as is Jon Scieszka) for 826 National and that he helped open the Echo Park Time Travel Mart! The history of 826 National and the long list of people involved from writers to actors to directors and more is phenomenal, but not as phenomenal as what each of the seven locations (each with a hilariously themed, real storefront with the tutoring center in back) accomplishes for children.
I hope you will take the time to learn more about 826 National and consider making a donation to them this year. And if you live near one of the 826 locations and think you have something to offer, I hope you will consider volunteering! Below is a video filmed at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart and the most recent mailer from 826 National talking about all the great things going on right now.