Nonprofit in San Francisco's Mission District makes learning fun with pirate theme

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:12AM
Imagine, for a moment, your child looking forward to homework, to math, to writing. Sound impossible? Not when pirates enter the mix.


SAN FRANCISCO - Imagine, for a moment, your child looking forward to homework, to math, to writing. Sound impossible? Not when pirates enter the mix.

It's one of the stranger stores in San Francisco -- 826 Valencia is the address and also the name of an establishment with buried treasure that serves as a purveyor for pirates, creative ones anyway.

It's what happens when a nonprofit wants to open on a street zoned for retail. They invented the pirate motif as a hook, while the real work happens in back when neighborhood kids show up every weekday afternoon.

Just imagine, a nonprofit making homework, math, and especially writing so much fun that these kids want to be here. "Our goal is to transform the students' relationship with writing, really to help them build confidence and pride in themselves as learners and as creative people and as owners and tellers of their own story," 826 Valencia's Molly Parent said.

It's an environment with no computers or laptops -- just pencils, papers, books and one-on-one tutoring from volunteers like Kristen Cosby, who reads aloud with Marco Dzib twice a week. "I get the satisfaction of watching them learn and grow," she said.

It's changing the future a word at a time, a kid at a time, or maybe, we should say, pirating some tough circumstances and turning them into hope.

And these kids profit.

Click here to learn more about 826 Valencia.

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