2024 Storytellers’ Showcase Program

Thank you for joining us for our Storytellers’ Showcase!

Student Performers

Ryan N.
Ryan C.


Featured Teacher

Fatema Elbakoury


Parent Speakers

Maria de Lourdes Covarrubias

Gelmy May



Bianca Catalan

Juan Mukul



Dear Young Women Across The World

by Blanca

Dear young women across the world,

I want to appreciate all the work you have done to be where you are now. 


Dear young women across the world,

Always be happy to be yourself because you are unique. You are important to your community and to this world.


Dear young women across the world,

My advice for all of you would be to put yourself in the best position you can. Don’t let any standards define you. You are what you want to be. You are unstoppable. You have the power in your hands to do anything you want to accomplish. 


Dear sisters,

You both are special to me and I love you very much. Some advice I could give you would be to value yourself; be you. Follow your passions and I’ll always be there for you, in the good and bad moments.


To all women and young girls,

In this world, speak up and live your life! Don’t let no opinion get in your way. 


Considering the fact that I am already here, I want to give a special thank you to all women at 826 Valencia. 


To all of you who have been with me, in the good and bad moments, I appreciate all of you. 


I want to let you know that I am proud of you and I admire all the hard things you have done to get to where you are now. Las quiero mucho!


Dear Future President

by Yeslin

Dear Future President,

Have you ever seen groups of people standing while sleeping & unaware of their surroundings while you walk down the street? Well, I have, along with many other people in the city of San Francisco.  

San Francisco is a great city with great sights, and kind people, but like every city it has its issues. 

One of San Francisco’s biggest problems is issues with housing, especially in the Tenderloin neighborhood. As someone who has grown up in this neighborhood there seems to be no positive changes, or things being done to help this issue. In the past couple of years I’ve seen more people living in tents and wandering around. Instead, I’d like to see positive changes, like trash being cleared and new housing opportunities for people living in tents. 

My school is in the center of the Tenderloin community, and I take public transportation to get to school. When walking to school every morning I see dozens of unhoused people, many who appear to be under the influence. I’ve heard people insulting or yelling at passersby. I see younger kids walking by and are scared of the yelling. No kids should have to experience that. All kids deserve to feel safe when walking to school.

Some people would say that there are changes being made. But there are no changes, things are the same. Maybe, at one specific block things are cleared but then the next block there’s hundreds of unhoused people. If the people in charge truly put time and effort into changing things, I think it will get better.

Although I am no politician, or expert, something that I believe can help is an increase in homeless shelters, as well as easily accessible rehab centers. I think that rehab centers should be free for anyone who needs them. If rehab centers are not free how will people access them? Other resources that would help are access to mental health care, more shelters, and affordable housing. 

I know of some community organizations who are trying to help, like people from Urban Alchemy who notice when kids are walking by and try to make sure they are safe. 

As the President, I hope you provide new and effective methods to combat these issues. 

Thank you for your time, 



Ode to Muni Driver

by Jayden

Hey, brave Muni drivers

You bring me to school everyday so I can learn

You say, “ This is the last stop!”


Hey, hardworking Muni driver

You help people who don’t have a car

You like driving around the city 


Hey, friendly Muni driver 

You bring me home on time at 6:00pm

You are as aware as a security camera


Hey, cautious Muni driver

You stop fights so there’s no danger

I say nothing because I am asleep


Hey, loyal Muni driver

You keep us safe

I notice you all have different skin colors


Hey, serious Muni driver

You work 24/7 so that you bring people who work night shift to work

I hope all of your riders are grateful for you


Dear Mr. President

by Doha

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Doha and I am a ten year old that goes to Daniel Webster Elementary School. I live in San Francisco.

Something you should know about San Francisco is that there are a lot of cool places to enjoy yourself. My favorite places are the mall and Coyote Park. The mall has a lot of fun stores in it! Coyote Park is nice and relaxing and perfect for picnics.

I have a few suggestions on how you can make kids’ and teachers’ lives easier. 

In my opinion, we should not start school too early in the morning.

One reason is because kids might not have time to do EVERYTHING. Most kids rush to go to school because they are late, and the effect is that they might forget something important. 

Also, kids need more sleep! Kids are very WHINY and GRUMPY if they don’t get enough sleep. Also, if they don’t get enough sleep, they won’t focus very well! And that will affect their education.

And just like kids, teachers need time to get ready too! My teacher has to wake up at 5:30 in the morning just to get ready for school! Nobody likes to get up early! I bet you don’t either.

While I have your attention, here are some reasons why I think Friday should be a weekend day. 

I think kids deserve an extra break from school because it isn’t really fair. School is five days long and the weekend is only two. 

Friday can be an extra day so kids can work more on their homework, and teachers can get a break too!  Teachers deserve a break because they work really hard, and kids get out of school before they do. 

Teachers could rest on Fridays, relax, go to spas, camping, or whatever place helps them relax. And you, the president, could pay for them to do these things! 

Also, do you think you could pay teachers more? What do you think? I hope you understand what I am suggesting.

Thank you for listening! 




America is a Phoenix Coming of Idols from Ashes

by Yuri

To me, America is like the key to unlocking the door to your future.

I left because my father got in an accident and I stop going to school

I left because I wanted to support my mother, by working without rest, looking for a future, a future in which I do not need to run away, a future without fear to follow my dreams.  

I left because the government doesn’t provide educational opportunities  to poor people 

I imagined myself working hard  for my basic needs and goals  

Eating a proper meal 

Walking by the same streets 

with the same restaurants, 

but with a different hope and wish, 

a wish to make a living here,

a hope to successfully provide for my family 

Working 6 Days in a week in a big building 

without sleep to have the opportunity to continue with my studies  

I imagined myself helping  my community and  family .

I imagined myself eating different kinds of food

Especially   pizza that  only in the U.S  can be eaten.

I imaged the the smell of the street like a flowers 

I promised dad  

Caring for human rights and happiness of its children

Not their destruction because,

That is the first and only object of a good government.

I thought leaders also care about humans’ right to get people’s opinion and ideas of their happiness over all

how to bill  a perfect, joyful and peaceful government that includes the community voice.

So my America is having an educational opportunity 

My America is the inspiration to have the job that would change  you to have your children

My America is the one working hard to achieve your goals and  make them come through 

America feels like a hug having the passion to become successful

To me America is like a key to open the door for your future

Now America is my father taking care of me,

America has provided me with educational opportunities,

America has giving me a place to slowly grow, 

America has afforded me the chance to engage with diverse individuals and their cultures.


As a Giant Tree

by Lalime

I’m like Fredrick Douglass, 

Loyal as that mahogany table,

Where he wrote a powerful letter as a revolutionist 

I’m like Dr. Martin Luther King

Friendly as a peace label, noticeable as a poster in the Million Man March

I’m like David Higgins 

Healthy as a guava,

Reliable as the 24-hour gym

I’m like Nelson Mandela, 

Respected as a giant tree,

Standing tall for equality and against Apartheid

I’m like Huey P. Newton

Motivating the people in the Black Panther Party

I’m like Malcolm X

Timeless, inspirational, and motivating people throughout generations

I am Lalime X

Articulate as these powerful Black men

Carrying on legacies


Dear Girls of the World

by Julia

Dear Girls of the World,

My name is Julia and I am a student at Everett Middle School. I am 13 years old and I have lived in San Francisco for 4 years, and even now I’m still learning new things about the city. 

Since 1987 we have been recognizing women’s history month in March.

To celebrate, I wanted to share a story about when I overcame a challenge. I want to share this with you because I don’t want you to be limited to only believing what other people have to say about woman 

Earlier this school year, I decided to try a new thing and tried out for the soccer girls team. I was scared of being in the team’s way and not being helpful at all. Being a girl, I felt like I wasn’t going to get as many chances to get better at soccer as I would have if I were a boy because at school, other kids that play sports mostly underestimate girls, and even more  at soccer. I felt like a ball without any air, without inspiration on who to count on.

After I tried out and I saw the list of the members on the team and saw that I actually made it to the team, I felt like soccer was gonna be my spark, something I could spend my time on. I started to feel like I was getting air in my ball, and my mind was getting inspiration. 

We are girls and we have more power than people think. We shouldn’t let people stop us from achieving our goals. When people were saying negative things about girls and how sports are mainly about boys, I didn’t give up even though those were hard moments. Instead I saw it as a challenge I can overcome, and so should you.

Now, I find myself trying new sports I haven’t tried before just because there is a spot open. All this has led to me finding happiness in trying new things. I hope you never forget that girls are powerful and that we are even more powerful when we speak up.





by Alex

My name is Fivers

I used to live in the snow 

Leaving in the winter is like leaving home

The cold feels like where I belong 


Along the way I saw a bridge 

Along the way I left quiet 

Along the way I feared meeting new people

Along the way I learned it is great to meet new people 


In the daytime I feel sad

 In the nighttime I hallucinate my home

Just when I wanted to give up my friend jane and max wanted to help and talk about it

I’m migrating because my parents wanted to change our lives 


Along the way I changed from happy and playful into sad scared 

Arriving here is like a trick in my mind

The warmth feels like I don’t belong 

Now I’m scared of this place


My migration was tough and scary

I am the spirit of light and not of cold

My memories are like capsules that are precious stone


Ode to Amazing Chefs

by Cataleya

Oh very nice chefs

You are a hero to me for great food

When you cook its like you are Ratatouille


Oh very nice chefs 

you make amazing steak 

When I hear the grill sizzling it’s like a summer day


Oh very nice chefs

You work so hard all day

You deserve a nice warm bed


Oh very nice chefs

You make very good pastries

The smell is so sweet I can taste it


Oh very nice chefs

You get me through my day


Oh very nice chefs

You fill my tummy with food


Ryan N.

Black Lives Matter

by Sequoia

I hope that Black people have respect

Respect that everyone should have

I hope that Black people get freedom that they deserve

I hope that Black people feel like the warm sun.

I hope that people stop racism and violence. 

We need to speak up and stop the silence


Community Hero

by Carla

Oh dear wonderful mom


Oh dear wonderful mom

Nobody has such a wonderful, loving, caring personality as you

Especially when you help me and others.


Oh dear wonderful mom

You make me feel safe and welcome when I’m with you

Especially When you hug and kiss me.


Oh dear wonderful mom

You take care of me

Even more than you’re supposed to.


Oh dear wonderful mom

Some kids think that their parents aren’t cool or fun but I do

And as long as I can, I will spend my free time with you more than any other person.


Oh dear wonderful mom

You are an incredible hiker

You can carry my sister for like three hours up a mountain.


Oh dear wonderful mom 

You smell like flowers, and when I am with you

You make me feel loved and cared for.


More Like Artificial Interference

by Ryan C.

AI works by taking information from the internet and learning from it. They then use the data they learned and use it as data (algorithms).

We currently use AI called Siri or Cortana as an assistant on our devices. We also rely on AI like ChatGPT or Grammarly Go for writing help (or people use it for cheating).

The potential benefits of AI are more help with first-world problems. For instance, we can get writing done faster, but our teachers might catch us. We can also use AI to complete gaming tasks for us, but that would be considered cheating.

One of the dangers of artificial intelligence is the risk of becoming sentient. Imagine if AI learns too much and starts to act like you on its own. There are already rumors that AI will one day take over the world, meaning that people will no longer have jobs because AI will take their jobs already.

Future jobs done by AI are being considered in the military, jobs that can’t be done by humans, and more work done in the workforce. Future uses of AI can be stuff like cooking, being a sentient being on the World Wide Web, and more.

Writing is currently being impacted positively by AI because of the massive increase in turned-in homework from students who procrastinate. This has a positive impact because there is more homework finished by the students, bringing up their grades in school. However, some may consider this more negative than positive. Many teachers find their teaching now irrelevant because they feel like students don’t use what they learned in class to do homework. Instead, they assume that students rely on the internet to get over homework as if it were a rock on a smooth path.


Homey Baloney

by Ruby

Home is just an idea. An ideal that we have of fun, safety, comfort, a place to be. But my home is made of stories. Happy and sad, hardships and achievements, love and life. We go out everyday to come back to this place we call home and continue the story of our family. All our stories start out the same, but change and grow as our lives move forward. That’s what home is there for, to give a space for those stories to warp and develop. Because like stories, home is constantly evolving. 

To my Mom, home is two places, both our home we live in now, and the home she grew up in. I hear about it all the time, from Mahjong to sausage rolls, to immigrating to family.Her stories are filled with buckets of buckets of love. To my Dad, it’s similar, yet so much different. They are loaded to the brim with snow, skateboards, moving homes, and a seemingly endless amount of sisters. 

In the same way that they both have their own different homes, I’ve only had the one home I have now. That little pink house in the alleyway is my safe haven of sorts. The world within those walls is a perfectly imperfect muddy mess of all the things that make me, me. Of all the sweet little nothings that my parents sprinkle into my world in their own way of bringing life into mine. Walking down the hallways, feeling the cold wood on my feet, chilling me to the bone, an icy yet warm reminder that this is home. My dad’s old records spinning smooth white noise while the hammock creaks as my sister swings, back and forth, an endless pendulum sending her high into the overhanging lights. We gather in the heart of our home every night to eat together, share our stories, and build on our ever-growing home. 

Each time I’m told a story, it’s engraved into my mind with the smooth, painted fondness that the memories hold. Even the sad stories reminiscing in the times of loss have a touch of longing sprinkled into them. Because all memories are just that, memories. Not one moment in our lives is inherently bad or good, happy or sad. We decide that for ourselves after it passes, after it fades into memory. Because once we choose how to relive those moments in memory, you’ll miss it and think of home.


Haibun for lazy weekends in the Sunset District

by Sophia

Saturday — grandmother takes me to chinese school,

& on the car ride home tries to show me how to fit

awkward syllables into american-born mouths.

when we get hungry we go to the dimsum shops on noriega street

& when we finish i do not say “thank you” but

“Mmm goi” and wave goodbye to

all the dimsum ladies i call “auntie.”


Sunday — grandmother hands me a small bag of packaged pork buns,

& tells me to wait outside the 23rd street irving butcher shop

while she haggles for a pound of freshly made char siu.

in the evening we eye our spoils like the dragons of old folktales

& laugh over bowls of steamed white fish—

the dish is sprinkled with onions, bedecked in black bean sauce—

to be served eagerly into a waiting relative’s mouth.


the immigrant dream;

the asian american truth;

or—how i found home.



by Fatema Elbakoury

Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching from inside an aquarium. The kids see me, but they don’t hear me. They think I’m fun(ny). They look for a few minutes, every once in a while, tap the glass, for entertainment, until they find something (better) to do. 


Every day I try to get out of the aquarium. I flail. I try to join them. To remind them I’m human, even though I’m in here. I think they see a fish (with glasses and lots of piercings). I feel useless. 


I want to know what makes them tick. I am curious. But I feel unheard when I speak. It sounds like gargling. As I flail before other people’s children, I wonder if I’ve made the right decisions with my life. No one told me I was going to be entertainment. 


But then every few weeks, one student will look up. I watch their brow furrow. They’ll take the time to try to understand. If I’m in an aquarium and they can’t hear me, I imagine they’d have to lean in and look closer.  So let’s say they took the time to do that. 


They get up, they come closer. They look. And then they put their ears against the glass. They try to listen. Then they look at me. Eyes a little wider. And I know, they know. And I remember: I’m not (just) entertainment.



By Maria de Lourdes Covarrubias 

Eso es lo que a diario les recuerdo a mis hijos, pero que frustrante es para nosotros como padres a medida que ellos van creciendo y avanzando de grado escolar hasta llegar a un límite en el cual  ya no les podemos ayudar si no todo lo contrario. En lugar de ayudarlos los perjudicamos.

Pues eso me paso a mi con mis hijos, llegó un tiempo en que yo no podía ayudarlos y por lo tanto cada vez sus grados iban bajando, pero dentro de toda esta frustración por azares del destino en el 2018, nos mudamos a un edificio que está ubicado en Mission Bay esto fue maravilloso para nosotros ya que nos informaron que en este edificio había un programa de 826 Valencia. Mismo que ayudaba con tutoría después de escuela.

Sin dudarlo fui a pedir información la cual me proporcionaron sin ningún problema y en este mismo instante mis hijos quedaron registrados, en aquel entonces de 5 y 10 años, aunque el más afectado era el niño de 10 años  el estaba en el grado 5  para él se estaba poniendo  más difícil la situación, pero el haber conocido a 826 VALENCIA, fue algo excepcional porque cambió la vida de mi familia en muchos aspectos. Mis hijos tuvieron mucho apoyo con sus tareas escolares, tuvieron  mucho apoyo emocional y hasta económico ya que mi hijo se ha beneficiado de los programas de verano que ofrece 826 VALENCIA, esto es muy bueno porque en vacaciones tienen su tiempo ocupado en algo productivo y es una gran motivación para los jóvenes.  

Somos la familia capetillo covarrubias u estamos muy agradecidos con 826 Valencia por ofrecer estos programas de los cuales nosotros nos hemos beneficiado por 6 años. De igual manera doy las gracias a todo el personal que labora en 826 Valencia ya que son gente muy adorable y en especial a la sritas. Michael y Sol que siempre están pendientes de las necesidades de los jóvenes del programa.

No puedo ir sin invitarles a conocer los programas de 826 Valencia ya que es un gran apoyo todas las familias y es gratuito.


Gelmy May

Hola, mi nombre es Gelmy May, la mamá de Melanny, Mathias y Camila Vazquez y hemos sido parte de 826 Valencia de la misión por un año y medio.

Primero que nada quiero agradecer la oportunidad que me dan al expresar lo agradecida que estoy. Ya  casi un año y medio que asisten mis niños al programa 826 valencia y en ese tiempo ellos han mejorado académicamente, Mathias estando en 4 grado tenía nivel de lectura de un niño de 1er grado ahora él subió a un nivel más y estoy muy segura que pronto subirá un nivel más. Antes se comía palabras en su escritura y ahora él puede escribir confiadamente aunque las palabras largas le cuesta aún. Melanny estando en 3er grado también tenía un nivel de lectura de 1er grado. Ella igual subio un nivel de lectura. Su escritura era demasiado corta ahora puede escribir una hoja. Antes no les interesaba leer, ahora buscan los libros y me piden que los lleve a la biblioteca.

Gracias a cada uno de los tutores;  por dedicar su tiempo, su paciencia y cada palabras de aliento para motivar a cada niño; tu enseñanza es un acto de amor al prójimo gracias nuevamente por tu tiempo. Este programa ha ayudado a Melanny y a Mathias a socializar con los tutores y niños que asisten a 826 Valencia. Asistimos 4 días ala semana sin tratar de faltar; ya que un dia perdido; es un dia sin aprender;  ya que cada dia se aprende algo nuevo.

Mi obligación como madre es que mis niños alcancen su meta y propósitos que tienen en mente junto con la ayuda de 826 Valencia. Gracias mil.