Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

826LA

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 13, 2011

    Helping kids write personal statements for college: what’s up with that? 826 is a national organization, started by Dave Eggers, which offers tutoring spaces in eight cities and two in Los Angeles: Venice and Echo Park. Their mission is to help kids improve their reading and writing skills: a noble goal. Now, they have branched out to helping seniors write their personal essay for college. Volunteers spend four hours helping one student, after the volunteer does a two-hour training. That’s the deal. No further time is required. If a senior can package themselves in a way that makes a college admissions officer pause, then maybe, along with good grades and good SAT scores, that student will have opportunities that are unique to his family of origin. Maybe that kid will be the first among his immediate relatives to go to college. Maybe that college degree will expand his mind and give him a skill set for job opportunities. Maybe he will meet other “kids” his age who are also striving to make their lives better through the opportunity of education.

    Maybe this adolescent will come to understand, by writing his personal essay, that he has a story to tell; that he has something to say. Maybe, by working with a volunteer tutor, this student will see that there are people who want to help, for no money, but for the satisfaction of seeing his potential blossom. Maybe this kind of support is novel, and as such, maybe this student will begin to see that he can get access to help, if he turns to the right places. There is the potential to give the teenager hope, while at the same time, warming the heart of the volunteer; the proverbial win-win. For six hours of my time, I am in! Through this blog, I will give you follow-up. I will write about helping one “kid” write about himself. I will explore his narrative, and I might glean how it feels to him, to put his feelings into the written word. I am looking forward to it.

2 Responses to “826LA”

  1. Shelly said

    Are you a volunteer? So cool, Shirah!! How did you get involved in it?

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