Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mister Rogers, Superheros & Me

Chris and I spent Friday afternoon at 826NYC, that nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills you hear my talking about so much.

We pulled up to the Fifth Avenue storefront just before noon. Executive Director Scott Seeley, Development Director Jen Snow and volunteers, Emily and Anthony, were busy restocking the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store which front the tutoring center with products like Secret Identity Kits, Liquid Courage, and Powdered Muscles.

Jen gave us a tour of the shop and the tutoring space. Then we did one-on-one interviews with her and Scott exploring the center's mission, as well as what inspired them to be a part of this great organization.

Chris checks the one-on-one show (during which I typically sit in for the interviewee)

Jen Snow shows Chris 826NYC student's work

Jen and I in our Brooklyn Superhero Supply Secret Identity Glasses

The entire operation -- from it's great publications and whimsical products to its Cape Tester and secret bookcase entrance-- demonstrates a playfullness reminiscent of the Land of Make Believe. They make learning fun, and -- by publishing beautifully-bound books, running mini-film festivals -- do an amazing job reinforcing the value of kids creativity to the kids themselves.

It was a different sort of shoot than, say, Linda Ellerbee or Susan Stamberg, one I figured I could wing. Which explains why, just a few blocks away (as I raced back to MTV for a 4pm meeting), I thought of a few things I should have asked and shots we should have gotten. In fact, I may pop by again in the coming weeks.

In general, though, 826 -- like thousands of other non-profits -- was a great place to answer the question, "So what can I do.

They're doing it every day.

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