Mission & History

826michigan was founded in 2005 based on the successful model of 826 National.

Our Mission:
826michigan inspires school-aged students to write with skill and confidence in collaboration with adult volunteers in their communities.

Our writing and tutoring programs uphold a culture of creativity and imagination and support students in establishing strong habits of mind. Through publication and community engagement, we provide students with an authentic and enthusiastic audience for their writing.

Our programs provide an energizing creative outlet for students and meaningful volunteer opportunities for community members. We believe that with one-on-one attention from caring adults, students improve their academic performance, develop a sense of belonging, and discover the unique value of their voices.

With this understanding in mind, we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-schools tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications.

We also believe that the more fun a student has, and the more directly we speak to a student’s interests, the more we can help students find the fun in learning. That’s why our programs are more than just extra homework. 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. Students can come to 826 for help and inspiration for all kinds of things from poetry to storytelling, writing songs to writing college entrance essays, finishing novels to starting haiku. Students in need of extra help with their homework, or just a quiet, comfortable place to work will find it in our tutoring lab, while evening workshops are a perfect fit for those looking to explore their creative ideas or strengthen their writing skills.

826 was founded on the principle that everyone deserves the opportunity to become a better writer and build a better future. We are proud to offer our student programs, events, and activities completely free of charge. 826michigan is funded by charitable grants, revenue from the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair and Detroit Robot Factory, and contributions, both big and small, from our friends and neighbors in the community. Additionally, our corps of amazing volunteers, who do everything from writing lesson plans and tutoring to staffing our store and binding student-written books, make our programs possible.

Our History:
The 826 story began in San Francisco in 2002. Educator Nínive Calegari and author Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, McSweeney’s) were looking for a way to provide assistance to overburdened teachers and to utilize the skills of the city’s creative and talented adults to improve education for the students who could use their help the most. The success of the organization they founded at 826 Valencia Street gave way to 826 National and to chapters in eight other cities, including 826michigan in 2005.

Liberty Street Robot
Supply & Repair
115 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 761-3463
Detroit Robot Factory
1351 Winder
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 818-0255