Calling all new and returning volunteers: don’t miss a beat of summer volunteering!

Currently seeking volunteers!

School may be out for summer, but the fun continues at 826 Valencia as we head into our summer programming season. Read below for tutoring opportunities to work with both elementary and high school students as they develop and polish their writing voices over the coming months.

Help 2nd – 5th graders improve their writing and science skills

Our very special summer program, Exploring Words Summer Camp, begins June 15th and runs through July 17th. This five-week summer writing program is designed for current 826 Valencia 2nd through 5th graders who are in high need of academic support. The camp runs Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day and provides a creative writing and science exploration experience through reading, writing, and hands-on activities that strengthen the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Our awesome students are ready to work hard and have fun, and will greatly benefit from one-on-one tutor support from superstar volunteers like you.

Throughout the camp, students will conduct science experiments, craft original stories, and write with the one-on-one support of tutors. At the end of the five weeks, students have developed a portfolio, and we publish a chapbook of their work. In 2014, the students co-authored Stars Explode Like Popcorn, just one of the many lessons they learned over the course of the five weeks. Here are some other things the Exploring Words students learned:

  • Poems can be funny, weird or serious
  • Poems do not have to rhyme
  • Poems use metaphors, similes, descriptive words and sensory details
  • Poems can be different lengths. Some are long, and some are short.
  • Use five senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound)
  • Describe physical features
  • Clear, loud and proud!
  • Be silent when someone is presenting
  • Plot is all the events
  • Climax is most exciting
  • Rising action leads to the main event
  • Stars explode like popcorn!
  • Fire equals heat + fuel + oxygen
  • Constellations are in the galaxy
  • Sound travels in waves
  • More weight equals more kinetic energy
  • Gas fumes are deadly
  • Earthquake safety: stay away from trees

Workshop with 10th – 12th graders developing poetry and short fiction

Following Exploring Words, we will be hosting our annual Young Authors’ Workshop, a two-week intensive writing camp for Bay Area high school students who love writing or want to develop their writing voice and practice. This program is still seeking a few volunteers who are available to support on a regular basis July 27 – August 7, Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The workshop will conclude with a reading event, and the students’ pieces will be published in a chapbook. In 2014, the group published Reaching for this Name: Poems, Stories, and Essays about Being the Protagonist. Here’s an excerpt from a poem penned by Asha Fletcher-Irwin during last summer’s workshop:

our existence was determined by the way our fingerprints fit together.
we jumped till we were so dizzy that our names blended into each other,
or maybe we didn’t have names at all.
we were immortal merry children,
berry pickers who’d escaped by
sliding into fragments of she
and garlands of bad luck,
becoming intertwined with the roots
of your hair and i kept using plurals but you started untangling
you from i.

Ready to make a difference in a young person’s learning experience this summer? Sign up via the volunteer calendar now!

For those folks who are new volunteers to 826 Valencia, please register here:

If you have any questions or would like more information, please email Alyssa Aninag at We look forward to seeing you this summer!