Good writing is like running water; it’s easy to take for granted, but when it’s not present, you really miss it. These days, however, it feels like we're mostly taking it for granted.
Leave it to 826 Valencia, the original chapter of the national nonprofit founded by Dave Eggers to promote writing skills, to bring sexy back to the under-appreciated art of putting words on the page. After all, they’re the brilliant people behind those quirky storefronts that double as homes for writing workshops and classes, like San Francisco’s Pirate Supply Store.
On Aug. 26, the organization asked its Instagram and Twitter followers to share posts about what writing meant to them, with #whywritingmatters. The responses powerfully captured the myriad ways in which writing can elevate our lives.
"It was great to see how writing has touched the lives of so many people with all sorts of different paths in life, and was a powerful reminder of why we do this work," Molly Parent, programs and communications manager for 826 Valencia, explained in an email to The Huffington Post, "to make sure that all students are given the chance and the skills to express themselves and to make their voice heard."
At a time when our educational system seems to be geared toward promoting the advantages offered by STEM fields, the arts and humanities are too often deemed frivolous. The personal stories and testimonials shared for #whywritingmatters show they’re anything but: writing skills can be a pathway into a great career, a way to profoundly touch other people’s lives and a real tool to effect change in the world.
Meanwhile, 826 Valencia will be expanding soon to a second San Francisco location in the historically underprivileged Tenderloin district. "We're excited to be ... bringing our services where they're greatly needed," said Parent.
If you're interested in helping kids strengthen their writing skills and find confidence in their self-expression, check out volunteering opportunities with 826 Valencia.
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