Untold Stories of Los Angeles: Writers’ Room to Harvard with Jorge C.

“The support provided by the 826LA staff was incredibly powerful beyond a good paper; it was an emotional and educational crutch. Any doubts or self-conflicting ideas I had were easily smoothed over with a very helpful tutor.”

Harvard University freshman Jorge C. reflects on his journey from the 826LA Writers’ Room at Manual Arts High School to college. The 826LA Writers’ Room at Manual Arts is 826LA’s third programming space, on the Manual Arts High School campus. Modeled after 826LA’s writing centers, the Writers’ Room has provided support for more than half the school’s students since opening in 2015. 826LA staff and volunteers help students with college applications and enable teachers to take on ambitious, long-term writing projects.

Confidence and communications skills go hand-in-hand at the Writers’ Room at Manual Arts

Every paper that I wrote—from the moment that I put something down on paper to the final essays I submitted to the college—an 826LA tutor read through. The support provided by the 826LA staff was incredibly powerful beyond a good paper; it was an emotional and educational crutch. Any doubts or self-conflicting ideas I had were easily smoothed over with a very helpful tutor.

Beyond the writing help, the 826LA staff is particularly near and dear to my heart because of their incredible support [of] the Manual Arts HS Academic Decathlon Program as judges and speech coaches. We owe the half a dozen medals we won in the regional competition speech and interview competitions to their dedication to the improvement and success of our students.

The single most valuable tool that I have in my possession is my ability to communicate. My public speaking skills are only strong because of the training sessions and judging that 826LA offered the Academic Decathlon team. I have used this confidence and public speaking ability to quickly make my [way] up in leadership in a few different organizations on campus, as well as a national non-profit. I’m only able to communicate this effectively because of the long hours spent after school presenting speeches and practicing speeches with René or [Writers’ Room Coordinator] T, and the rest of the 826LA staff at MAHS.

Favorite Writers’ Room moments

Besides the fantastic writing help? The most enjoyable thing has got to be the conversations that I had with all of the amazing staff members. Learning about your lives was just as valuable as how much you were improving ours.

A few words to 826LA

I don’t think I can thank you enough for the extra support. You all are truly making a difference. Here at Harvard we were all asked to complete placement tests for writing. I placed into the highest level and completed the last English course here with an A-, which I think is pretty good. All of that interview help has given me a pretty great record; I’ve never been denied anything I interview for, that means that anytime I walk into a room the training takes over!



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Come celebrate 826LA students like Jorge and support our Writers’ Room
at our annual event Tell Me a Story: Untold Stories of Los Angeles!

June 6, 2018
6:30 pm Reception | 7:30 pm Dinner
Vibiana in Downtown Los Angeles

With Special Guests
and more!

Music by Artist & 826LA Volunteer

Visit the event page and purchase tickets here!

Through writing, children learn to express their thoughts and dreams. Share your love of storytelling with students across Los Angeles when you join us for this unforgettable event on June 6, 2018 in Downtown LA. Untold Stories of Los Angeles will celebrate our students and the remarkable stories they have uncovered about their lives with the help of 826LA’s free writing programs.

At our centers and in schools across LA, students discover their voices and gain skills that help them excel in school and beyond. Since opening its doors in 2005, 826LA has inspired more than 74,000 Los Angeles students between the ages of 6 and 18 to write. By raising crucial funds, Tell Me a Story will help keep 826LA’s programming free and accessible to the students who need them most.


Learn more about our Writers’ Room and In-Schools College Access programs here

Interested in becoming a Writers Room or College Access volunteer? Sign up for a Volunteer Orientation here!

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