826 Valencia Tenderloin Center

826 Valencia Tenderloin Center

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Region of impact
United States
Total funding
Funding began in


Bringing young people’s stories’ to life with technology

What they do

826 Valencia was founded in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2002 by educator Nínive Calegari and author Dave Eggers. The tutoring center they created engages kids with the power of storytelling with the help of volunteers, through creative, inspiring, project-based programs that focus on building kids’ writing skills. Students’ voices are amplified through professional publications, such as books, magazines, and podcasts. During the 2017 school year, 826 Valencia served over 7,000 students with the help of 1,300 volunteers at their centers and partner schools in San Francisco. Their model has led to a national network called 826 National, as well seven chapters nation-wide, and over 20 international organizations.

How we're helping

As one of the winners of the 2015 Bay Area Impact Challenge Award, 826 Valencia was able to expand with a second San Francisco location in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Like the original location, this new imagination-filled, community-based center helps under-resourced students develop their writing and tap into the power of their own voices. In addition to helping fund the new center, Google also collaborated with 826 staff on new ways technology could amplify their students’ voices.

Based off of 826 Valencia’s students’ writing, a team of Google volunteers developed a storybook unlike anything the students had seen. As the students collectively wrote a story about a planet ruled by love, a local artist used Tilt Brush to create a virtual, 3D illustration of their story. At a “book release” party, the students used Google Cardboard to immerse themselves into this 360° world, based entirely on their own imaginations. Now, alongside their finished story — starring flying taco trucks and kind words — is an immersive journey that anyone can experience.

Project gallery

Students wait outside 826's new Tenderloin location
826 staff workshop the story with students
Student watching the 360-degree story through Cardboard
Students holding hands while watching the story through Cardboard

Project Highlight

Bringing students’ voices to life with technology.



SF Gate: Google.org awards $500,000 each to 6 nonprofits to boost Bay Area

October 22, 2015