Students at the 826 Boston using the writing lab. PHOTO CREDIT: GABRIELLY BRAGA DE OLIVEIRA

Working to Make Student Empowerment a Reality

By Gabrielly Braga de Oliveira

Employers are seeking strong writers now more so than ever. 826 Boston is a nonprofit program that helps students better their writing skills.

826 Boston works with out-of-school programs in an effort to make writing more fun. It offers students creative programs, such as a summer camp that combines reading and writing.

“The idea that writing is not always a five paragraph essay, is part of it,” said Karen Sama, program manager for summer writing camp. “Teachers are under a lot of pressure to teach the five-paragraph essay,” but she noted the students need to learn different techniques as well.

The 826 Boston program helps both teachers and students and tries to incorporate different types of writing to match the students’ interests.

One of the after school programs helps students with not only their homework, but also reading and writing for publication. During the semester each student writes his or her own stories. Once they are done, the students gather it together and make it into a book.

Sama said once students see the result of their hard work they want to write even more.

“The pride is amazing,” she said. “The next day when they come in, they’re like, ‘What’s the next chapter about?’ ”

Sama also explained the purpose of the program is to engage students in the writing process and to make them feel important.

“There are so many messages shot at our student about how they don’t matter. We have to be very active to remind them that they do matter,” she said.

826 Boston teaches students that with the right amount of effort, empowerment, and mentorship, anyone can become a good writer.

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