This talk was part ofPSFK Conference SF 2011

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How do you make education enticing to kids? And how do you make it fun and easy to fund additional programs for under-privileged youth?  Gerald Richards, the CEO of 826 National, a nationwide network of eight retail spaces that are integrated with tutoring centers, discusses how through a twist of zoning-law fate he began his retail-based tutoring programs. Held in the back rooms of buildings fronted by quirky but engaging stores – including the Pirate Supply Store, The Bigfoot Research Institute, and The Boring Store – these integrated commercial and volunteer spaces give children the opportunity to learn but also develop an experience that creates a special community that is not associated with home or school. Gerald shares with the audience at PSFK CONFERENCE SAN FRANCISCO 826 National’s method of fun that makes kids want to learn, builds funds and drives adults to donate funds through retail.

Remarkable things Gerald spoke about:

  • The core idea of these centers is to create an environment that destigmatizes tutoring, while creating a space that makes learning fun for students
  • All the products in the centers’ storefronts are created by volunteers and all proceeds support the organization
  • 91% of all their 29,000 students finish their homework
  • 6000 volunteers help kids learn to write better with workshops, tutoring, and creative writing activities