826LA, The Time Travel Mart: Empowering Echo Park’s Youth

826LA, The Time Travel Mart: Empowering Echo Park’s Youth

You may know it as the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, but it’s only a ploy to get you beyond the imaginative store front.  826LA East, brainchild of 826 Valencia — the San Francisco Mission District non-profit organization founded by writer Dave Eggers (memoir: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; screenplays: Away We Go, Where the Wild Things Are) and educator Ninive Calegari — lies within the playful retail store.

There’s more than meets the eye.  Beyond cheeky consumer items like Pure English Tea “The Most English Thing in the World” and, a favorite, Olaf Olafsson’s Viking Odorant, is 826LA’s real mission.  A peek-a-boo glass wall, tucked behind a convenience fridge, reveals the non-profit’s true intent: to empower the youth with words, song, dance, and educational programs.

The retail space functions as a student supply store and distributor of student publications, the proceeds of which fund 826LA’s educational mission, including after-school programs, weekend workshops, and in-school tutoring.  There are a slew of stationary products and personal items tagged with the sharp wit and wisdom of a high school grammarian — but beyond it is a dual function playroom and classroom, teeming with students.  Children and  young adults, aged 6 to 18, abound.

The writing and tutoring center succinctly defines its mission: “All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.”

Curio for passerby, creativity for Echo Park’s youth.  For those in need of Viking Odorant (scents include Cod, Pyre Ash, Sweat & Rotten Vegetables, and Toenails) visit the Time Travel Mart STAT:

826LA EAST (map)
Time Travel Mart
1714 W. Sunset Blvd.
Echo Park, CA 90026
(213) 413-3388

Or, shop online for books, t-shirts, student zines, posters, and sundries in the comfort of your own home: 826LA Online Store.

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