My name is Kai Joy and I am working at 826CHI as a Teen and Volunteer Outreach Fellow through Future Leaders in Action (FLIA). Future Leaders in Action is a non-profit that provides those with occupational barriers, such as marginalized identities, the opportunity to develop leadership skills and experience in the social sector. FLIA pairs paid fellows with youth-oriented non-profits in order to ease the financial burden on those community organizations. Where many great non-profit organizations would normally have to devote resources to pay for employee labor or rely on unpaid internships in order to continue serving their communities, the orgs partnered with FLIA are given access to passionate professionals without having to worry about the financial cost of their labor.
This fall I am working with 826CHI in Chicago. 826CHI is a non-profit organization devoted to providing students, primarily English language learners and those from low-income families, with creative and expository writing resources and instruction. At our writing and publishing center in Wicker Park, we hold workshops, field trips and one-on-one tutoring. We also go into Chicago Public Schools and do in-class workshops all across the city. During my fellowship with 826CHI I will be developing outreach strategies to increase the amount of high school aged students in our programs and to strengthen our local volunteer base.
I am a writer at my core. In high school I participated in Louder than a Bomb (the worlds largest youth spoken-word poetry competition) and in college I went on to major in creative writing. The mentors, resources and community I was able to find at LTAB is what allowed me to find my voice and bring that sense of self with me through higher education. Similarly, Future Leaders in Action has provided me with support, guidance and confidence in my ability to transfer my experiences as a writer and community organizer to the social sector. Now I have the opportunity to give the community and mentorship that I relied on back to young students who need it. I passionately believe in 826CHI's mission and can't wait to work on this project with them.
Today I'm fundraising to help finance this project and to allow FLIA to continue offering this fellowship in the future. If you would like to support FLIA and by extension 826CHI (and also me as a person! :) ) please consider donating any amount of money you can! I'll even write you a short personalized poem for a donation above $10 (if you want) !!!! If you cannot afford to give anything that's okay, but I would appreciate if you could at least let others know on Insta, Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon etc. !!!
Thank you so much for your time and energy!