Last year, 826NYC partnered with Coney Island Prep Middle School and local community-based organization CAMBA to pilot our first-ever extended day program. We brought our workshops out of our Youth Writing Center in Park Slope and into our partners’ after school spaces, reaching young people who might not otherwise have access to high-quality creative writing experiences. Now in its second year, the program is thriving with five workshops per week spread across three different school sites, leveraging curriculum and best practices from our favorite Write Away Workshops of the past four years. These five workshops per week are first steps in our strategic plan, which charts an ambitious course to reach 10,000 young authors across New York City through our extended day and other partnership programs over the next four years.
This fall, middle schoolers at extended day sites dug deep in their imaginations to write spooky stories, while their younger counterparts dreamed up their own origin stories in the style storytelling traditions from around the globe. Our tried and true programs don’t just open doors to new reading adventures and elevate young authors’ unique voices and creativity. They also equip students with the hard skills and social-emotional competencies they need to succeed in school and beyond.
How are we doing? Let’s let a writer at one of our sites answer that. After completing the unit Long Long Ago: Myths and Origin Stories, second grader Lyla told us via survey:
Q: What’s one thing you liked about this class?
Q: How can we make this class better?
A: More writing.
You’ve got it, Lyla!