Youth Speaks has just agreed to allow 826 Valencia, our soon-to-be-open writing lab in San Francisco, to fold itself into their existing program. 826 Valencia is now a fiscally sponsored project of Youth Speaks. This means we’ll be operating under their guidance, supporting and supplementing their programs, and that we can now operate as a nonprofit.

Anyone wishing to support either program may donate in any way, including equipment, and receive a tax benefit. We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to working with Youth Speaks in the future.

Our first collaboration will be a compilation of poetry by Youth Speaks writers. Until now, Youth Speaks has produced many CD compilations and chapbooks, and we’re happy to publish their first hardcover compendium. This will be available in May and all proceeds will go directly to Youth Speaks.

Youth Speaks, however, is currently in some financial difficulty. Because much of their operating revenue is derived from San Francisco hotel taxes, the economic and tourism downturn has had an adverse effect on the funds available for many nonprofits.

We just had a great fundraiser in San Francisco, starring Arthur Bradford’s How’s Your News? team, and we’re a part of another benefit this Friday, in Los Angeles, at Track 16. The event in Los Angeles is sold out, but we urge you to support Youth Speaks in any way you can.

826 Valencia is not directly soliciting donations, for the writing lab’s costs will be covered by McSweeney’s, but we hope anyone out there, in San Francisco or not, will try to help out Youth Speaks, one of the country’s best creative outlets for youth.

As for our own writing lab, we are almost ready to open. Many construction delays have slowed down our opening — we simply underestimated how much there was to do — but we are getting very close. We still, though, are welcoming any donations of computer equipment, preferably Macintosh products, and now can guarantee a tax writeoff. For more information visit

And we still need volunteers! Please check the 826 Valencia site for more information about how you can help. We are very flexible and will need, we’re guessing, around 100 people in all. Don¹t think for a second that your help would be superfluous.

Thanks in advance.

— Dave Eggers for McSwys and 826 Valencia