The Tenderloin’s newest resident, 826 Valencia, celebrated the grand opening of its long-awaited youth writing facility on May 19th with a ribbon cutting and celebration. The 5,000 square foot space brings tutoring, writing, and publishing programs to thousands of youth in the neighborhood, thanks in-part to NCCLF’s real estate consulting services.
Founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia supports underserved youth ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills and helps teachers inspire their students to write. Services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.
When considering a location for their new program, 826 Valencia’s Executive Director Bita Nazarian sought out NCCLF for support in the process. “NCCLF really helped us navigate the process of communicating with property owners,” she said. “They were simultaneously our coach and cheerleaders. It simplified a process that would have taken us forever on our own.” The organization knew they wanted to expand to the Tenderloin and that they needed a large enough facility that was close to public transportation.
NCCLF helped secure the space, which was previously zoned for retail, located at 180 Golden Gate Avenue at Leavenworth Street in the heart of the Tenderloin. The area includes a myriad of social service organizations that support residents, including low-income youth, families, and homeless adults. While 826 Valencia’s new neighborhood faces a number of socioeconomic challenges, Nazarian says the center has appreciated the community’s warm and welcoming vibe. “I am so impressed by the collaboration and cooperation of our neighbors and colleagues in the Tenderloin area. It is really awesome. Everybody is rolling up their sleeves, addressing complex issues with lots of humanity. I’m blown away.”
The Center is expected to be fully operational in the coming months. To learn more about 826 Valencia and support their capital campaign, visit this link.