We have had an unprecedented number of intern applications in recent months. We look carefully at each one, but since we now can only accept one in every ten that are submitted, we also strongly encourage you to apply to other 826s around the country. And there’s always 826 National, the umbrella organization for all 826s around the country, which is housed just a few blocks away from us. If you’re interested in interning for them, and focusing on a national view of nonprofit management, check out their website and apply directly with them. And if your focus is more on editing, publishing, proofreading, and other literary pursuits, you might consider interning with McSweeney’s, which is directly across the street from 826 Valencia.
We are currently accepting applications for the fall 2013 internship period.
Come exercise your writing and editing skills, work directly with teachers and students, and gain valuable experience in the many aspects of educational programming, nonprofit administration, and event planning.
- Minimum commitment of fifteen hours per week for the duration of the season
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs
- Editing/proofreading experience preferred
- Experience with kids in a professional setting a plus
- Spanish language and design software skills a plus
- Free admission to 826 Valencia events
- 15% discount at the Pirate Store
- Opportunity to work with local writers
- Immeasurable joy
To apply, please send your current resume (with two references) that reflects relevant experience and skills and a cover letter that explains what you will bring to the position, and hope to gain as an intern. All materials should be sent via email to Volunteer and Internship Coordinator Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik at email@example.com. Frequently asked questions are answered below by a former intern.
We are currently accepting application for the summer session. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the positions have been filled. We look forward to hearing from you!
Though unpaid, this internship with a nationally recognized nonprofit will provide invaluable, on-the-ground design experience. Design interns will work closely with 826 Valencia’s Design Director, María Inés Montes, to create flyers, newsletters, event and marketing materials, student publications, and more. 826 Valencia is a vibrant work environment, bustling with staff, interns, students, and volunteers. Our design staff is incredibly supportive and willing to teach and assist. By the end of the internship, designers will have gained skills in both design and navigating a professional environment, and insight into nonprofit work environments.
- Minimum commitment of twenty-four hours per week for at least a semester (spring, summer, or fall)
- Proficiency with CS5 Creative Suite: InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop required
- Knowledge of web-based software a plus
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs
To apply, please send an email with a current resume (with references) that reflects relevant experience and skills, and a a link to your portfolio to María Inés Montes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also include a cover letter that explains what you will bring to the position, as well as what you hope to gain from the experience.
More information on interning
A former intern, Emily Walters, answers your most burning questions about life as an intern:
What’s it like to intern at 826?
826 Valencia is a very welcoming environment. From your first day staff members will be smiling as they give you tasks to complete. You feel good about your involvement in a nonprofit, you get to know some super rad kids, you have a lot of freedom to take your experience where you want it to go and plus — being selfish — you get awesome stats to put on your resume. On my first day there was a party! And while every day is not flowers and cupcakes, you can make it that way if you have the right attitude.
In your opinion, what are the requirements to intern?
The basic requirements for jumping on the pirate ship are as follows:
- Sport a savvy sense of language in both the written and verbal senses. You often have to write and you often have to represent 826.
- Microsoft office suite will be your best friend. Know MS Word and Excel. The more you know the better because sometimes you can teach the staff things and then they get way impressed.
- Grace them with your skills at least fifteen hours a week and if you wish to spend more time showing off the goods, no one will say nay.
- Be willing to take on one day a week of general maintenance. Yeah: trash, mail, and phone duties. More on this later.
- Dedicate (at least) three months of your life to 826. They love you and never want to see you go.
- Flexibility is huge. Sometimes they ask us to go to a school we’ve never been to at 8 AM. It’s exciting to be on a bus before the sun comes up and you don’t want to miss it.
- You should like kids. They do show up every once in a while, asking for help and being all cute.
- Work with gusto.
Is there an age requirement?
People who could be or are or were going to college are usually the ones working as interns around the office. They occasionally make exceptions for high school students. Just apply and they will decide.
I want to intern in the summer, but I only have two and a half months during the summer. Help!
Don’t fret! They are flexible and understanding in the summer months. Maybe it’s all that vitamin D, but if you only have two and a half months to share then two and a half months it shall be! The closer to three months, though, the better.
Don’t tell me I’ll have to take out the trash or something like that.
Taking out the trash is just one of the many varied duties you will encounter on your day of general maintenance. What an exciting test of the mind it is when you have to figure out how to maneuver those large and awkward blue and brown bins through a sea of post-tutored children and snack debris. Other excellent responsibilities you will encounter on your day of fun: getting close with the folks at both the real AND fake post offices, hearing and passing on all phone message gossip, emptying the trash cans and replacing the bags and even swabbing the decks (and by decks I mean bathrooms).
What are the perks of interning at 826 Valencia?
Perhaps taking out the trash isn’t the most glamorous part of the job but it all gets balanced out with the many perks you will encounter.
- Free admittance to all 826 events. This is a pretty sweet deal when you want to go to the humor writing seminar but you don’t happen to have the hundred bucks to get past the gate.
- Discount at the Pirate Store. Lost an eye? No problem, you’ve got the hook up with a 15% discount. You can buy either a glass eye or a super stylish eye patch for less than the average pirate would. Not to mention student-authored books and McSweeney’s publications.
- Work with local authors. Judy Blume came in this one time and, hello, Dave Eggers.
Will I get to work on my writing skills?
The awesome thing about 826 is you can make one of those sewing dummies and design your own clothes. Clothes made of whatever skills you want to enhance that is. If you want to work on your writing skills, there are many projects that require you to both type and use your brain, such as answering frequently asked questions! However, this internship is not entirely about working on your own writing skills. 826′s mission is to help students with their writing skills and in order for this to happen there are many general administrative tasks that are dependent on the dedication of interns.
Can I specialize in a certain area of the organization, like event planning, development, student programming, etc.?
The key to modern civilization is specialization. Without it you wouldn’t have the time to come to 826 twenty hours a week to hang with the kids. So, yes, please, specialize in the areas you find fitting for your likes and dislikes. Here are some areas you can focus on:
- Public Relations
- Events & Planning
- Design & Publishing
But you can’t forget trash day. If you do, the cans overflow and everyone gets sad when they go to recycle their Kombucha bottles.
Do you provide any assistance with housing or transportation to and from the city?
Unfortunately 826 is unable to provide any sort of monetary assistance with housing or transportation. By joining 826, however, you are also joining a community of thoughtful individuals. Many staff members have been living in San Francisco for years and with that comes a kind of insider knowledge any Lonely Planet guide writer would drool over. If you are lost in the wide city of San Francisco, staff members will certainly provide you with bus maps and guides on how to get around. In terms of housing, they have even been known to send out emails to the extensive list of volunteers for help on finding rooms. They want you to have a home you can go to after spending the day at 826.
What does a typical day look like?
So much happens here at 826 that it’s hard to describe a “typical” day. But here is just a sniff. Perhaps you come in at 10 AM. This is a nice time to come in. It’s early but not too early and the sun is shining because you are in the Mission! You walk through the writing lab to the offices and you say hello to the staff members. They say hello too. They are nice like that. If you don’t have any long term projects, which is something you’ll be encouraged to get involved in, then you get to look at the intern board and see what assignments staff members have pinned up. Here are some examples: Help with organizing a spreadsheet! Proofread student essays! Clean the attic!
At 2:30 the kids come in for tutoring and you get to hang out with the youngins. Sometimes (often) they bring in math homework you haven’t seen since you were their age and you have to be sneaky and figure it out before they figure out you don’t know what you’re talking about. Very embarrassing. This lasts until 5:30.
There are other things to do too, though. 826 has a strong in-schools program where volunteers go into San Francisco schools and work with the kids there. On Fridays, for example, at Everett Middle School you can help eighth graders write the best middle-school paper in the country: The Straight-Up News.
Back at the office you can copyedit or master the database. If you want to pretend you are a pirate you might be able to become a pirate store ambassador and work in the store. Just don’t do any real pirating, it’s the 21st century, dreamer, and theft is punishable by law! Usually everyone skips out at around six o’clock. It’s been a long day and you are equally sleepy and energized from all the good work you’ve done. Huzzah, another satisfying day as an intern at 826 Valencia.
Are internships paid or unpaid?
Though interns aren’t paid in doubloons, the equivalent of a pirate’s treasure is given in experience and gratitude from everyone at 826 Valencia, including staff, other volunteers, and students. Loot becomes your last priority after you realize the many meaningful life and work-related experiences that come along with this internship. If you’re ever in need of support, staff members have your back in the most literal and figurative sense. Want a reference or a letter of recommendation? If you ask for one, you’ll probably get twelve, all of which will be full of high praises on your ability to multitask and/or swab a poop deck. And last, seeing the expressions of joy and elation from the students you work with every day makes your hard work completely worthwhile. No amount of pirate’s booty can make you feel like you’re truly making a difference in someone’s life.
—Avi Salem, Programs Intern, 2012
Here is a sweet letter from a summer ’07 intern that we love and miss, Keri:
I just wanted to thank you all for the great experience of working with you this summer. Each of you were incredibly nice and made me feel at home there right away. I think I personally grew a lot this summer, and acquired new skills that I can take away with me. It was awesome to get to try my hand at so many different things, even the feel of an eight-hour work day. You all are amazingly hard-workers and your devotion to the kids and each other is definitely inspiring. It was an honor to work with you, and I hope to keep in contact with you all. Feel free to give me a call if I can help you out. Please keep up all the great work.