Chicago students become published authors with help from nonprofits | Chicago News

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YMCA Summer Program students in grades 1-8 at Cullen Elementary get creative during a 2022 Spoken Word Summer Field Trip workshop in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood. (Courtesy of 826CHI)

Realism, escapism, and everything in between, there are no limits to the themes explored by Chicago students in their soon-to-be-published writings.

Three new local student publications are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship by the end of July.

He went to the moon” is a bilingual collection that explores characters, dialogue and drama, written by students from 826CHI After School Writing Lab.

Tomorrow’s Titans” is a collection of poetry and creative writing by sixth-grade students attending Chicago Academy of Mathematics and Sciences.

Archives of my memory” is a collection of poetry and creative writing that explores the blurred lines between escapism and fantasy through self-examination, from ninth-graders to seniors at 826CHI’s Teen Writers Studio.

“Inside Out There” was written by students from Michele Clark High School who document their experiences during quarantine through blackout poems, journal entries, tributes to contemporary artists. (Courtesy of 826CHI)

“Everything we publish comes with a program,” said Joshua Bohnsack, publishing programs coordinator at 826CHI“but it’s done for the love of writing.”

826CHI is the local chapter of 826 national, a non-profit organization “dedicated to helping students ages 6-18 amplify their skills in creative and explanatory writing.” The organization focuses its tuition-free programs on students from marginalized backgrounds, low-income students, and students in schools with limited arts education and literacy programs.

“Our students have a real sense of belonging,” said 826CHI Board Member Kara Wright. “I think it speaks to the true intent of integrating diversity, equity and inclusion into programming.”

826CHI partners with CPS to offer free project-based tours to CPS classrooms, as well as in-school programs. Between 2019 and 2021, 85 teachers from 69 schools were involved in 826CHI programming, along with more than 3,000 students in 42 ZIP codes, according to 826CHI data.

According to Wright, 826CHI’s goal is to build a storytelling center in Chicago that provides students and teachers with the resources and space to pursue their creative passions.

“It’s confidence. It’s the free will of the students,” Wright said, “they can exercise that free will. They feel listened to. »

Grade 1 and 2 students from the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club after the Mission: Poetry Field Trip workshop at 826CHI's writing lab in Wicker Park.  (Courtesy of 826CHI)Grade 1 and 2 students from the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club after the Mission: Poetry Field Trip workshop at 826CHI’s writing lab in Wicker Park. (Courtesy of 826CHI)

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