Yesterday Queequeg wrote about the 2009 Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta. I’d like to expand upon that a bit, including how you can get involved from the cool comfort your own internet connection.
I have entered a team in the regatta, and I would like to encourage everyone to join me in supporting Team Flotsam & Jetsam (so named for the floating debris after a shipwreck.) Follow that link to the sponsor page and make a donation to help my team raise the most money for 826LA. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will help 826LA provide free services for local kids. I know the economy is tough for everyone right now, but non-profits and charitable organizations have been hit particularly hard. They need our help now more than ever.
Follow me past the jump to learn why 826LA is my favorite non-profit.
Before going on about 826LA, I’d just like to mention that you can help my teammate Derek and I raise much needed funds for this fantastic organization by sponsoring us here. And, it’s tax deductible.
Here’s a brief video of 826’s founder, author/publisher Dave Eggers, explaining how the program began. (First three minutes are the most relevant.)
MetBlogs has written about the Echo Park Time Travel Mart in the past. I did some investigation, and it turns out the Time Travel Mart is just a front covering up something far more insideous in the back room. Sure, you can fulfill all of your time travel needs from dinosaur eggs to robot milk (except the slushy machine always seems to be out of order; come back yesterday to see if it’s fixed.) The real operation goes on behind the scenes, though.
What 826LA is really doing is running a volunteer-driven drop-in tutoring center for local kids ages 6-18. Students can come to the Time Travel Mart after school, where adult volunteers give one-on-one help with homework. They really focus on creative and expository writing skills, and the stuff the kids are writing is really good. So good, in fact, that 826 periodically publishes books of the students work.
The value of the tutoring that the students get at 826LA goes beyond good grades. The one-on-one attention is something that many teachers simply aren’t able to offer, given large class sizes. In addition to getting help with their homework, the students are receiving validation and encouragement from adults that their creative writing really is good. That encouragement may be just what the students need to stay engaged and keep working toward further improvement.
This is a great cause, and in case I hadn’t mentioned it, you can get involved by sponsoring my team in the Paddle Boat Regatta. Just go to the sponsor page and donate any amount that you are able (no more than $5,000 though, please. That would just be an embarrassment of riches.) With just a couple of fundraising days left, the event is still a little shy of its $30,000 goal, so please go donate and help push 826LA over the top. For the kids.
Once you’ve donated, come back and leave a smug note in the comment section about how cool you are, and that others would do well to follow your lead. You’d be surprised how satisfying it will be.
Whether you donate or not (do!,) it’s going to be great fun, so come out to Echo Park Lake on Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm and cheer Team Flotsam & Jetsam on to victory. I’ll keep an eye out for you.