Go for the High Fives

Hannah Callas

Go for the High Fives

I moved to Chicago when I was 18, getting myself to 826CHI was my very first experience riding the train. My parents had returned to California and I had to get myself to a volunteer training I signed up for the week before. My two-train commute took me 50 minutes and I probably allotted for much longer than that. It was not until three months later after weekly after-school tutoring and morning field trips at 826 that I realized I could get there in 15 minutes on a bus. At the very least, being a regular volunteer at 826 taught me how to read a map.

I came to know about 826 in high school through McSweeney's gifts from my older sister, a teacher in LA and a big 826 fan. I figured I would have some free time my freshmen year of college so I signed up, and it turns out I had a ton of free time (two friends is more than enough, mom). By my second semester I was a weekly tutor, a regular at two in-schools, and came in for the occasional morning field trip or WPSASCo. shift. And I met my boyfriend. I spent the following year being an intern and spending even more time with kids, doing things like writing alien stories, playing battleship, and eating pretzels. I should really mention the snacks. Sure, there's free coffee, but you're not going to find another place that puts trays of cookies out at 9am. If I haven't sold you yet with the map skills, battleship opportunities, snacks, and the promise of finding true love then I don't know, man. Go for the high fives. The kids at 826 are known for their high fives.

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