In 2002 author Dave Eggers and educator Ninive Calegari set up 826 Valencia in San Francisco. The idea behind the non-profit was to utilise adult volunteers to help young students in the area. It was seen as a neat solution to address the issue of kids not being able to get the benefits of more one-to-one help in their studies due to teachers typically being overburdened with large numbers of students. As the location for 826 Valencia was in a designated retail space the idea came about to open ‘a pirates store’ with ‘supplies for the working buccaneer’. The store and the project were a big success leading to other unique branches of 826 in other US cities.
Inspired by the exploits of 826 author Nick Hornby along with Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne set up the Ministry of Stories and the Hoxton Monster Supplies Shop.
At the heart of the Ministry of Stories is the belief in the power of writing to transform lives. Adult volunteers from a variety of professions and backgrounds help mentor kids and young students in a variety of projects. It is a fantastic initiative really helping kids to express themselves better, build confidence and ultimately tapping into and nurturing their creativity. The projects are super cool and result in practical skills and knowledge ranging from creating actual story or comic books with illustrations, cookery recipe books, podcasts and even writing speeches which are read out in the House of Commons.
Wanna get involved and volunteer and be part of the Ministry of Stories? Visit http://ministryofstories.org/
As part of the Ministry of Stories is the fabulous Monster Supplies Store in Hoxton. The store is probably one of the cutest and fun stores in the city with a range of seriously amusing and unique gifts. The shop is great fun for kids and adults to browse through and purchase fun products. Visitors to the shop will also hear the shop’s very own ‘invisible cat’.
Shop online at the Monster Supplies Store or visit the shop itself at 159 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6PJ. (Opening hours Thursday and Friday 1pm – 5pm. Saturday 11am – 5pm)
The Green Gym is a project which gets volunteers involved in outdoor conservation work. Clive Twyman talks about his experience of volunteering at the Camden branch of the Green Gym and how it had a great effect on his general health as well as being great fun.
BONNIE CHIU is the founder of Lensational a non profit that has equipped and trained women photographers in Pakistan and India, hoping to share their stories. Recently the 24-year-old from Hong Kong was chosen as one of Forbes 30 Under 30’s Social Entrepreneur’s list in Europe. Last September in New York Chui presented Lensational at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative introduced by President Bill Clinton.
Rootless Garden help isolated older people in London. They use nature based activities as a unique approach to engage people using elderly care. Rootless Garden use therapeutic horticulture as a vehicle to bring the elderly back into our community, increase people’s understanding of dementia and to improve elderly well-being.