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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Suffolk chapter.

ROXBURY – 826 Boston is a nonprofit where young students can publish their own stories and illustrations.  From stories about a magical panda teaching life lessons to collaborative stories, the students are able to create and learn in a welcoming environment. The organization brings college and university students to tutor students from the grade levels of kindergarten through students in their senior year of high school.  

Aminah Ambush, an active member and Mom of kids involved in 826 Boston, as well as a homeschooling parent, heard about the organization from a friend. The nonprofit is just around the block from her home; Ambush calls it a great resource for tutoring.  

Rasheeda Graham, another member working with the program, says, “After I graduated college I knew I still wanted to promote literacy; help kids create things that they love.” 

826 Boston provides the students with not just a safe academic environment, but a social one too. Ambush and Graham spoke about two girls who come in, and always ask if the other one is there that day. They are also working on a collaborative story together.  

Academically, the organization helps kids tremendously, they contact teachers and ask what specifically they need to be working on. Whether it is writing or math, a designated tutor who specializes in the area will be able to help. 

“Kids come in, a lot of them come in because they need help, kids will be held back, we reach out to teachers, they tell us they need to work on reading comprehension, so we use what the teachers use,” said Ambush. 

The program also works to make the conversation about diverse backgrounds more accessible to younger students. A “heritage month calendar” is put up every month, displaying different writers, activists, athletes, etc. They showcase diverse people in diverse careers, showing the kids representation in every career path.  

When asking about diversity and the importance of what it provides to the students, Ambush says she tells her students, “The world is open to you, even if it’s not always equitable, you guys are the notable people, maybe you’ll be up on the wall one day.” 

Graham mentions, “There are a lot of questions about how did this person get to become an athlete, us doing the calendars is representation.” 

During black history month, they displayed books by black authors, encouraging students to discover and read during free time.  

They not only focus on homework, but the specific subjects students are struggling with. Geography is a hard concept to grasp.  The volunteers go over maps, and continents such as asia, showing the students how huge asia is; and the different regions. The volunteers say land acknowledgement is important, and introducing modern activists who support Native Americans is also something of great importance. Knowledge of this, that the volunteers say may not be taught in textbooks, they say is very important.  

When asked about how 826 Boston helps families in Roxbury, both volunteers mentioned how plenty of parents in the surrounding areas are bilingual, and are concerned about not being able to help their kids with their academic success. They provide a safe place to drop off kids after school, and to be helped with homework. 

University students come to tutor and volunteer, many earn volunteer hours as well as credit for class for being involved.  

Helping students to create stories, such as the magical panda who gives life lessons, gives the tutors appreciation for the work that they are providing. Students will also look for recurring tutors, ones who they may have made connections with over the months. This organization fights for and chooses to teach students about diversity, and pushes students to have confidence in themselves with their heritage calendar, and many other inspiring books, and words.  

Isabella is a Suffolk University freshman student studying to become a journalist. She is excited to share her writing with HER Campus!