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The Mars Rover Gives 826LA's Student Writers a Tech Boost

Writing about thermodynamics and aliens expands student imaginations.


What is life? That was one of the questions 826LA students tackled this summer in a workshop called "It's (Partially) Rocket Science." Most of our students come from low income backgrounds, but like most youth, they're hungry for adventure, to make mistakes without judgment, and to interact with peers and adult mentors who can answer easy and strange questions.

Students get to be themselves in our writing labs, or at least be comfortable enough to explore themselves. Through this workshop, which we were able to offer for free thanks to the support of Time Warner Cable—their Connect a Million Minds initiative also helped us develop the curriculum we used—826LA students engaged in writing, experimenting, observing, thinking, and had deep conversations about thermodynamics and aliens.

It might seem odd for an organization like 826LA to focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—also known as STEM in the academic world. 826LA prefers the acronym STEAM—the "A" stands for "arts," one of our specialties and a critical element that experts argue supports and expands knowledge within the other four disciplines.

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Meet 826LA's New Window Display (and Its Designer) This Saturday

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart will reveal its new window display this Saturday, May 14 during the Echo Park Public Display of Art walk.

If you haven't been to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart in Los Angeles yet, there's no better time, past or the future, to visit than this Saturday. The store—which sells quirky time travel-themed products like "body humours" and Robot Toupées to raise money for 826LA's reading and writing center in back—will be welcoming a sharp new window display, thanks to a contest we helped organize last month. In choosing the inaugural designer for the new space, the judges were unanimously delighted by the idea of Molly Burgess. This local designer and illustrator managed to combine the seemingly disparate concepts of summer reading, the Pleistocene Era, the year 3022 A.D., and zero-gravity into one awesome window display. Don't worry, it will make sense when you see it.

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Help Redesign the Window of 826LA's Echo Park Time Travel Mart

The store that fronts 826LA's tutoring center here in Los Angeles is giving an artist $500 to transform its window display. Is it you?



Whether we need to stock up on Viking Odorant or replenish our supply of Robot Milk, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart here in Los Angeles is the first place we go to for all our time travel needs. We also really like the fact that for every bottled Dead Language or bag of Dodo Chow we buy, we're supporting the awesome education programs of 826LA, who happen to run the tutoring center in the back. So when 826LA came to us with a request to help them bring even more enthusiastic shoppers to what we're pretty sure is the only time travel emporium supporting reading and writing here in town, we wholeheartedly jumped on board.

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart is looking to redesign its front window, a highly-visible, high-traffic space right on Sunset Boulevard that's seen by thousands of drivers, bikers, and pedestrians every day. They're on the hunt for an artist proposal that will transform the space into a new installation centered around the time travel theme. The idea is that the window will change twice a year, showcasing new creatives in town, bringing new faces into the store, and turning it into even more of a destination for art, design, and, of course, time travel lovers around the world.

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