826 Seattle is a nonprofit writing and tutoring center dedicated to empowering young people—particularly disadvantaged youth who risk academic failure due to socioeconomic or language barriers—with the confidence and skills to communicate their personal stories through writing. Their services are structured around the belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that proficiency in writing helps children become more engaged in school and ultimately grow into successful adults.
With a $14,326 grant from the Technology Matching Fund last year, 826 Seattle gave their computer lab a much needed makeover. They brought in four new iMacs, five laptops, an iPad and a digital microphone. Volunteers did everything necessary to get the lab up to speed, including wiping the old computers clean and recycling them.
The new technology suite benefits the students in many ways. More than 1,000 students came to the center during the first six months of the project to participate in innovative writing workshops on topics ranging from “Snarky and Hallmark-y: Writing Your Own Greeting Cards” to “Before Texting: The Power of Historical Letters.”
More than 150 students also used the computer lab for homework completion. Technological access is an integral part of students’ daily homework routine, whether it is checking a school website for assignments and grades, doing internet-based research for school projects, or completing mandatory online daily math practice drills. First grader Nehemiah (pictured above) listened to jazz and studied jazz history.
If you look for the center in the Greenwood neighborhood, you won’t find a traditional tutoring center sign on the front door. It’s discreetly tucked away behind the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company, a retail store that sells space-themed novelties and toys.
For more information on the project, contact Peggy Jackson.